You are not alone in feeling lonely! Loneliness is common! Here is some information that can help you understand loneliness with tips to help you deal with it.
What is loneliness?
Loneliness is different to being alone. The experience of loneliness can happen even when you are with a lot of people. Loneliness can be painful emotionally. You may feel isolated from the world around you and feel disconnected from people, places and things. Feelings of loneliness are not forever. It is a sign your needs as a person are not being met.
Why do we feel lonely
Many people experience the feeling of loneliness at some time in their life. Contributing factors to feeling lonely can be:
- moving from home to begin university
- leaving familiar people, places and things
- the end of a relationship
- changing jobs
- not knowing how to approach and communicate with other people
- fear of being rejected by other people
Often people experiencing feelings of loneliness also expose themselves to negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. For example, some people may believe the feelings associated with loneliness are a sign of personal weakness, that there is something wrong with them to feel this way and that they are the only people who feel like this. When we experience these thoughts and feelings it is also common to be less assertive, loose our motivation and further isolate ourselves from other people and experiences.
Here are some tips to assist you in dealing with the feelings of loneliness:
- Acknowledge that you may be experiencing loneliness.
- Talk to a family member or friend. Chances are they may have experienced feelings of loneliness at some time.
- Keep in contact with family and friends. Let them know that you would like them to keep in contact with you too.
- Be realistic about your expectations. You are allowed to have these feelings. Adjusting to your new environment can take some time.
- Get involved in university activities. Not only will you meet people, but you can actually start to feel like you belong.
- If you have previously been involved in clubs/church/groups, then seek out other such places, in order to meet more people.
- Maybe you would like to develop your social skills and become more assertive. Talking with people is a great way to start, and even the university counsellor or Student Life website can assist you in gaining some strategies.
- Try and be receptive to different situations and people. Chances are other people may be experiencing similar feelings.
- Try and maintain regular exercise and a good diet. This can have a huge impact on the way you are feeling.
Remember, you are not alone. Other people will be experiencing feelings of loneliness. Use your awareness to overcome these feelings. They won't last forever!
Taking it further
- Make an appointment to see a counsellor
- Men's Line Australia 1300 789 978
- Lifeline 131 114
- SANE Mental Illness Helpline 1800 240 400
- Barwon Mental Health 5226 7410