Loneliness happens when people’s need for contact with others is not being met. All of us require some level of interaction with other people, some need more than others.
Being alone is not classed as loneliness, people choose to live by themselves and not have much contact with others. One can still feel lonely when they have family or they are in a relationship.
What causes loneliness?
Different things can cause loneliness and it affects people in different ways.
The lifestyles that people lead, the levels of stress in life can cause people to be less sociable and more prone to becoming isolated or lonely.
• Some Personal Circumstances affecting people
• Loss of a loved one or someone that is close to you.
• Relationship or marriage breakdown
• Retirement- loss of daily contact with colleagues and some social contact
• Difficulty with going out in the community due to mobility.
Being lonely and isolated can affect mental health. Studies have proven that isolation can increase stress levels, cause sleep problems and lower a person’s self-esteem. The combination of all these has a negative impact on well-being. It may be helpful to talk to your GP if you have concerns about loneliness turning into a mental health problem.
People can have many friends, but feel they have little connection with the world around them.
When this is the case, gradual social integration will help in becoming more connected with others.
A good first step is to make contact with people through making a call, sending a message through email or text. This can give comfort and reassurance that you do have people around you.
Something small like a walk in the street or garden gives opportunity to say hello to a neighbour or someone you know.
Working parents can connect with others through meeting their children from school.
Ways of meeting people to make friends.
Sharing common interests and experiences with others can be done through different social events.
Attending a church service or event may only be a once a week or monthly event, this is ideal if you are wanting to integrate back in to the community slowly.
Walking groups are likely to be well organised events where people will know each other well. Here you have the choice of talking to people as much or as little as you need.
Many people enjoy the great outdoors and for those gardening is a hobby which they enjoy. You may have a friend who you can spend time with.
These may be:
An Exercise or Walking group
Church Services and Events
The Royal Voluntary Services is a voluntary organisation which helps older people to enrich their lives. People can spend time together and share information.