So here we are, Phase 3, returning to “normal life”, whatever that may mean or look like to you. I think this is an important time to discuss and reflect on the feeling of loneliness that some of us may have experienced during isolation, before isolation and even now after isolation. The important word here is ‘feeling’ because you can feel alone but there is a solution to feeling lonely. If you can or have identified with the feeling of loneliness the good news is it is not permanent, you have control over it and you too have the ability to change this emotion. So please continue to read on.
I would like to begin by emphasizing why being lonely can cause a little anxiety, because evolution has taught us to operate in tribes. We all need a sense of belonging. We need to know someone has our back in order to feel safe and secure. When someone is separated from their tribe, they feel vulnerable and anxious that no one is looking out for them.
Although we don’t travel in tribes anymore, we still need this sort of human connection to ease our vulnerability. This generation has grown accustomed to doing everything independently, we buy houses on our own, we build businesses on our own, we close our curtains on the world outside. In reality, we don’t need to do everything alone to prove we are strong and independent. We need social connection, it’s what we humans are wired for! So, don’t be afraid to drawback the curtains and invite your neighbour in for a coffee.
The solution to loneliness: When we feel a strong emotion, we can search for solutions instead of identifying with the emotion as a fact. It’s not a fact! It can be changed. The solution is to reach out! Reach out again and again! There are kind people everywhere. And don’t take it personally when you reach out and someone can’t make it at that time. Empathize with them – think of times when friends asked you to do things and you simply couldn’t make it. It’s nothing personal, so don’t let that stop you reaching out.
So, if you’re feeling a little lonely right now, don’t wallow in the emotion, use the emotion to empower the change you need in order to feel safe. That emotion arose in you for a reason. So, take the message from your soul and ask someone for a coffee. If they can’t make it ask someone else for a coffee. If that doesn’t work. Keep reaching out because;
YOU DESERVE TO FEEL SAFE, YOU DESERVE TO BE LOVED AND YOU DESERVE FRIENDSHIP!
Hang in there, the close connection you need in order to feel less anxious starts with reaching out for a coffee. Then another one and then another, which in turn eventually turns to a late-night heart to heart. This will all build that close connection so be patient. You will feel safe soon – just draw open the curtains!
If you are a little anxious and can’t figure out why, maybe it’s time to experiment with a little more connection with others. What better time than now. The likes on Facebook or Instagram will not satisfy our psychological need for human connection so get out there!
A must-read in this situation is Lost Connections it emphasises why we need social connections in our lives to ease anxiety.
If you are feeling down for long periods of time over the next few weeks or feel like you are stuck in a rut that you just cannot get out of, it is worth speaking to someone about how you are feeling. Reach out, do not suffer alone & remember…
“It’s Okay not to be Okay & It’s absolutely Okay to ask for help!”
The article is written by Leanne, Newly Qualified Counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health, please contact The DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment.