How to Deal with Loneliness and Depression
Loneliness is a complex mental and emotional condition resulting from perceived isolation. Seclusion is never good for humans because they are social beings. Socialization is essential for our mental wellbeing. Having social connections with others is critical for human beings.
Occasionally everyone feels lonely, especially when we are dissatisfied with our social circle, family, or colleagues. The magnitude of this problem escalates because of the inability to solve the problem. Often, this leads to isolation.
There are two kinds of loneliness. Reactive loneliness comes as a result of a change or transition. It is the empty void created by the death of a loved one or a fall out in a relationship with a love interest. Reactive loneliness is painful.
On the other hand, chronic loneliness is torturous. It persists for a long time. Surrounding yourself with people alone cannot cure loneliness. You could be in a relationship or the life of the party and still suffer from this type of loneliness.
Loneliness is not the same as solitude. Desired solitude yields peace and tranquillity. Additionally, it revitalizes the mind and helps you think clearly. On the contrary, loneliness is draining, upsetting, and distracting.
How is Loneliness Associated with Depression?
Loneliness is both a trigger and a symptom of depression. As a stressor, it affects your mental processes. The inability to change a situation causes you to isolate yourself, leaving you to your thoughts and perceptions. It is easy to embark on negative cognition when you mull over things on your own. Your perspective could be different from the real situation on the ground.
Negative thinking and helplessness lead to depression. Additionally, dealing with the problem alone may become overwhelming. Loneliness reduces cognition, interferes with your sleep cycle, and impairs your executive function.
Loneliness is also a social symptom of depression because the former thrives in seclusion. It leads to social avoidance. Any form of interaction with friends, family, or workmates becomes a burden. Depressed individuals are not excited about the party scene. They steer clear of social events.
How to Manage Loneliness and Depression
There are a couple of things you can do to help you cope. The primary objective of coping mechanisms is to prevent acute loneliness from turning into chronic loneliness. These practices will also keep you from succumbing to depression.
Feel up your schedule with plans to keep you interactive
Whether you are going through reactive or chronic loneliness, you can overcome isolation by intentionally participating in meaningful activity. For instance, you can do some volunteer work. Helping others gives you a new perspective on your problems. The different approach could be what you need to lift your spirits.
You could also go hiking or engage your passions and talents. Camping, painting, travelling, or sports provide opportunities to interact with people and make meaningful connections. According to the behavioural activation theory, staying isolated exacerbates depressive moods. By engaging in activities, you become less avoidant.
Do not wait for people to talk to you. Go ahead and make conversation with people. A friendly chat with a barrister or shop attendant can boost your mood. Connect with random people you meet as you complete your daily task. For instance, you could give them a pleasant greeting or an acknowledgement of their service or product.
Have an Activity Plan
One common symptom of depression and isolation is inactivity. You lose interest in carrying out activities of daily living like grooming, cleaning, eating, and so forth. Create a plan to help you finish these activities. Carrying out tasks can improve your mood and help you find your mental bearings.
The tasks in your plan do not have to be challenging. They can be simple everyday activities like cleaning dishes or decluttering your closet. Whatever it is you can find to do, get it done. It is better than staying idle and ruminating over negative thoughts.
Seek Professional Help
It is never a bad idea to go for depression counselling. Calgary is full of professional psychologists that are experts in the field of mental health. Besides, a problem shared is a problem half solved. If you are living within this area, you can find a therapist to walk with you and help you develop a healthy mindset through social experiences.
Psychologists have the resources and expertise to help you overcome loneliness. They will offer guidance, support, and walk with you until you are empowered mentally. It is not easy to walk alone. Having someone passionate and an expert in dealing with depression and loneliness makes the experience bearable and increases the chances of improving your mental health.
Set Realistic Standards
One of the primary triggers of loneliness and depression is dissatisfaction. A study seeking to find the connection between loneliness and dissatisfaction connoted that discontentment was a top reason for many young people living in isolation. Failing to meet up with peers and family expectations keeps people from socializing within their cycles.
Having a realistic mindset encourages you to be content with your circumstances, abilities, and your level in life. One way of ensuring you remain content is to have pragmatic standards about life. If you lack the means to live up to societal expectations, it is okay to live within your means. The pressures, anxiety, and worries that come with trying to keep up can push you further into the loneliness cocoon.
Think Beyond Self
Loneliness and depression are self-focused conditions. The thought process makes you a victim, even when the circumstances are different. For instance, if a loved one is unable to meet with you, it may be because of unrelated incidents on their part and nothing to do with you. Consider others before you interpret harmless actions as rejection, insults, or derogatory toward you.
Talk to Another Lonely Person
There is a reason why therapy has group sessions. Walking with people suffering from the same problems as you helps with socialization, communication, problem-sharing, and self-awareness. As you interact with others, you see the practicability of overcoming your issues. In a group, each person is at a different level of fighting for their mental health. You not only find support but also become a shoulder for another person.