Friendships / Relationships
Mental Health Therapy for Loneliness
Someone can have many friends, know people everywhere they go and even be in a loving relationship and still feel lonely from time to time. Loneliness is often a sign that we need to reconnect with ourselves, especially if we already have an established support system in real life.
Sometimes, loneliness can also be a wake-up call that we’ve outgrown our current friend group or relationships. Ongoing feelings of loneliness can also be linked to mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
For some people, when they feel lonely, reaching out to a friend or family member helps the feeling pass. But if you struggle with feelings of loneliness most of the time and aren’t sure what to do, therapy can help.
Is There Therapy for Loneliness?
Therapy in and of itself can help combat loneliness as you are able to connect with your counselor. They listen to you, take interest in your feelings and help you begin to explore the role that loneliness has in your life and how it is affecting your well-being. In many cases, loneliness comes from self-isolation, which is a coping mechanism many people adopt when they’re suffering from other mental health symptoms.
Feeling lonely is complicated, and you may even feel guilty for your feelings if you have other people you could talk to. But loneliness has nothing to do with your love for your friends and family. Certain relationships in your life may simply be lacking in ways you need to feel fulfilled; you could also be going through a difficult period and not feel like anyone understands you.
Talk therapy explores loneliness to get to the underlying cause. How is it serving you, and what is it protecting you from? Sometimes, isolation and loneliness serve as barricades to connection when you are afraid of vulnerability or intimacy. Therapy helps you identify beliefs and behaviors that might be making your loneliness worse and replace them with healthy alternatives.
How to Cope With Loneliness
Loneliness can trigger other feelings too, including worthlessness, hopelessness and despair. For someone struggling with depression, loneliness can worsen their symptoms and even lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. The most important thing to do is recognize you’re lonely and acknowledge that feeling. Rather than try to suppress or ignore it, think of loneliness as a messenger that you need to connect.
Engage in meaningful activities with others; if you are trying to make friends, then you may have to start with smaller engagements. Even smiling at the barista or drinking your coffee at the cafe around others can be helpful. It’s also important to look for new opportunities to meet people. You can do this in person and through online communities.
It’s also important to address how your beliefs affect your idea of loneliness. Someone with social anxiety likely sees themself as shy and awkward, which makes them less likely to socialize with other people. If you don’t trust easily or have a hard time getting close to others, then you may have habits that make forming relationships a challenge for you.
You May Feel Lonely, But You Are Not Alone
At Caring Heart Counseling, we are always here to listen and help. Reaching out to a therapist for the first time can be scary, but we are available to answer any questions you have. Contact us today and learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed therapists.
Friendships / Relationships
Stuck in a Rut? How to Inspire Change in Your Own Life
Everyone feels stuck now and again, but what if every day of your life feels exactly the same? Instead of providing healthy structure and promoting discipline, your routine feels like a prison, and you can’t figure out what’s wrong, what’s missing or how to feel excited about your day-to-day life again.
Many adults struggle with a lack of inspiration, even those who have everything they think they’re “supposed to” such as a partner, children and a good job. You could also feel like you’re treading water, never getting ahead in life no matter how hard you try. Every action seems to lead you back to the same spot, which drains your motivation. Eventually, you stop trying.
Although a lack of motivation and interest can feel disheartening, it does not have to be permanent. There are several ways you can start to implement change in your life and rediscover passion, excitement and inspiration.
Expand Your Comfort Zone
Do you know why so many people quit their New Year’s Resolutions within three months? They push themselves too far to make a big change. Your comfort zone isn’t a bad place to be, but it can become stifling if you use it as a way to avoid the temporary discomfort some new experiences can bring.
But rather than forcing yourself to completely transform your life overnight, think about ways you could try new things that expand your comfort zone. For example, if you want to meet new people but consider yourself an introvert, going to bars or clubs probably won’t pay off in the long run. Instead, you could look for new opportunities that still feel comfortable for you such as joining a book club or visiting a museum.
Make Time to Have Fun
If your life is just work, sleep and repeat, then you’ll soon find yourself dreading waking up every morning. Fun isn’t just for children! Adults also need downtime to enjoy their hobbies, pursue their interests and do things solely for the sake of enjoyment. Try to dedicate at least one hour a day to something that’s entirely for your pleasure. It could be watching a documentary on Netflix, playing a video game, reading a book or anything else you enjoy.
Start Saying Yes to New Experiences
How many invitations have you turned down because you couldn’t motivate yourself to go out? The hardest part about getting out of a rut is giving ourselves the momentum we need to inspire change. It will be uncomfortable at first because you’ve grown accustomed to the confines of your current life. But a little effort and willingness go a long way; take a walk around the city without any plans, or invite a friend over for coffee. Be open to letting life surprise you!
Whether it’s a walk through the park, hiking or site-seeing, going outside is a great way to get energized. When you feel stuck in life, you might find yourself avoiding any time outdoors and just head straight to work and right back home. Going out makes you feel tired, so to avoid that exhaustion, you isolate yourself even more. This, of course, only fuels the feeling of missing out on a rewarding life and new opportunities.
Spending time in nature is proven to improve mood and increase energy. You can even look for fun local events or classes that get you outside and meeting people. You might not become best friends right away, but just seeing new faces and having small conversations can make you feel more connected with the world.
Therapy Isn’t Just for Mental Illness
If you feel stuck in life, aren’t sure how to reach your goals or wondering why you’re so unmotivated, we can help. Therapy is also a form of life coaching, and it offers an open space for you to work through your limiting beliefs, address your problems and come up with solutions that work for you.
Contact us at Caring Heart Counseling today if you would like to learn more about our services. We would be happy to schedule an appointment with one of our Denver, CO therapists at your earliest convenience.