Breaking the Link Between Mental Health Issues and Loneliness
There’s No Need to Be Ashamed of Your Mental Health Problems!
If your mental health issues sometimes lead to strong feelings of shame or a desire to isolate yourself from others, you’re not alone. A number of important clinical studies have shown a strong link between mental health trouble and loneliness — two problems that tend to compound one another.
Getting out of your comfort zone and connecting with other people isn’t easy when you’re caught in the midst of depression or anxiety: but it is an important component of self-care. That’s why we’ve put together this list of simple steps you can take to break the link between mental health issues and loneliness:
1. Reach Out People You Trust. Sharing your struggles with everyone you know isn’t necessary — but we encourage you to find at two or three people with whom you can discuss your feelings freely. This may be your significant other, a sibling, a friend, or a counselor.
2. Join a Club or Group. Forming relationships when you’re feeling down can be tough, especially if you are a naturally introverted person. But making connections does get easier when you share interests with people who you see on a regular basis. From joining the office softball team, to visiting your local book club, there is sure to be at least one local group that offers something of interest to you, so take that opportunity for connection.
3. Share love with your Pet. Though it’s certainly no replacement for human interaction, studies have shown that caring for a pet is a positive influence on mental health, combating problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
4. Watch for Negative Thought Patterns, and Be Kind To Yourself. Many times, we allow negative thoughts to circulate in our heads without even noticing it — some of which may not even be logical. Next time you catch yourself thinking negatively, take a deep breath and breathe in gentleness to yourself. Then, try reframing the thought in a more positive and proactive light: “what can I do to make things better?” for example, is a constructive question that can help you make changes and feel a greater sense of control over your life.