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.
Friendships / Relationships
5 Strengths Unique to the LGBTQ Community
The Mile High City is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts, and summer is the perfect time to head out and enjoy all the amazing scenery and fresh air. Spending time outside is wonderful for your mental health; in addition to immersing yourself in nature, you can also get some physical exercise that promotes greater mood stability, better memory and promotes positive emotions.
Read on to discover 10 outdoor activities to do in and around Denver, Colorado, this summer.
Denver is close to plenty of incredible rivers and breathtaking lakes. Kayaking through the Colorado River is an amazing experience that you’ll never forget. Look for a kayaking tour or class that can get you acquainted with the equipment and process. You might even make some new friends along the way!
Walk City Park’s Mile High Trail
The Mile High Trail loops around City Park for a scenic 3.2-miles trek that’s perfect for passing a sunny afternoon. Along the way, you’ll pass the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum and enjoy a view of the city as well as glimpses of Ferril Lake. Stop by and appreciate the ducks and geese, or bring your pooch along for a relaxing stroll.
Shred It Up at Denver SkatePark
For the extreme sports fans, skateboarding at the Denver Skate Park can be an awesome way to get outside and return to a simpler time when all you had to worry about was when you could skate again with your friends. Don’t forget your helmet! And if you’re not a skater/bmx-er/trick-scooter person, go just to watch! Super fun.
Appreciate Wildlife at Denver Zoo
The Denver Zoo is home to more than 3,000 wild animals across a sprawling 84-acre campus. The nonprofit organization is passionate about educating the public about wildlife conservation through their animal ambassadors. There are always fun events taking place throughout the year, but even a regular day at the Denver Zoo is a treat.
Bike or Hike Your Way Through Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park is home to an open-air amphitheater, but it also boasts two hiking trails that are perfect for taking in some of Denver’s best natural scenery. The park is situated between the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, so you’ll want to bring your camera to snap some amazing scenery shots.
Visit the National Wildlife Refuge
Fishing, wildlife drives and 20 miles of hiking trails await at the National Wildlife Refuge. Take in the amazing preserved habitat of animals such as coyotes, waterfowl, deer, bison and more. You may even spot our national bird, the Bald Eagle!
Take a Peaceful Tour of the Denver Botanic Gardens
Special events such as art exhibitions and workshops are always happening at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Stop by on one of their free days or order tickets online and enjoy the day surrounded by 24-acres of blooming flora and fauna from around the world.
Take a Thrill Ride via Zip Line
Colorado Adventure Center’s Denver zipline tour takes you sailing along the nearby mining town of Idaho Springs. This is a beginner-friendly tour with non-restrictive weight and height limits. The 5,000-foot course will take you over Clear Creek three times. You can end the day by visiting Idaho Springs or sign up for one of the center’s white water rafting courses!
Yoga in the Park
Denver’s parks are perfect for getting in touch with nature and centering your mind and body with a bit of yoga. There are free Yoga in the Park events you can book online. Just bring a mat and you’re good to go!
Go Horseback Riding
Visit 12 Miles Stables in Cherry Creek State Park to participate in a day of horseback riding. Horse rentals, day camps and riding lessons are available for both experienced riders and first-timers. The stables have over 3,300 acres of riding trails available for individuals and parties.
Start Summer Off Right With Therapy
If you’re working on improving your mental health this summer, we’re happy to help. contact our Colorado therapists for more information on our virtual talk therapy sessions today.
Friendships / Relationships
5 Strengths Unique to the LGBTQ Community
Social connection is invaluable, but it doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Even the most extroverted, well-adjusted people have to work hard to maintain friendships. But for some, even making the first move can be incredibly difficult and intimidating. Although you may struggle to get to know people or make friends, you aren’t condemned to living life alone.
With the right education, tools and help, you can begin to work through your barriers to making connections and begin finding the right people for you.
3 Reasons You Struggle to Connect With People
There are many reasons you may struggle to connect with others; below are three of the most common reasons and challenges we help clients overcome. If you feel like you can’t connect with anyone, working with a therapist may be able to help you figure out why and start making positive changes.
It’s normal to feel nervous meeting new people, but for some, the anxiety that stems from interacting with others is so severe that it prevents them from making friends, dating, speaking up for themselves at work and more. Social anxiety disorder is a treatable condition that you can overcome with time.
Signs of social anxiety disorder include:
- Racing heart, sweaty palms and shakiness when having to interact with others.
- Feelings of intense fear and anxiety when facing a social situation.
- Avoiding social settings, even once you want to go to, because you’re afraid others will reject you or make fun of you.
- Fear that others will notice how anxious you are.
- Judging yourself after a conversation and wondering what you may have said wrong, how you may have looked and ways you might have embarrassed yourself.
If you find that your social anxiety makes it difficult to speak, interact and maintain relationships, therapy can help. The first step is reaching out and talking to a counselor you feel comfortable with. They can help you work through the reasons why you feel so anxious around other people. Then, they’ll help you build confidence by practicing different strategies to manage your anxiety and communicate with others more easily.
You Fear Rejection
One of the reasons you may struggle to connect with others is that you fear they’ll judge you and not like you. In this case, you might consider yourself someone with high standards who always finds a reason to cut ties with someone before they get a chance to know and, in turn, hurt you.
You might also simply avoid people altogether because you’re afraid that they’ll dislike you if they get to know you. Fear of rejection is linked to low self-esteem, something that many people wrestle with. You can combat it by learning to recognize your own strengths and engaging in social situations that you feel comfortable in.
Low-risk social situations are key because they give you a foundation of positive interactions to build from. When you have more confidence from successful encounters, it becomes easier to confront situations with higher risks of rejection like dating and job interviews.
Social Distancing Habits
COVID isolation left millions of people quarantined indoors and fearful of interacting with anyone. Although social distancing and mask mandates are still in effect in many areas, the psychological effects of quarantine have left some people with a deep fear of engaging with others. This can make it hard to push past any anxiety and begin to interact with people. If your mind is worried about getting sick, you can’t enter social situations in a positive manner.
Physical health should never be compromised for connection, so if you’re not able to connect with others in-person due to being high-risk or unvaccinated, there are still options. Virtual clubs and online meetups give you a way to begin rebuilding social skills without putting yourself or members of your household at risk.
Therapy Can Help
Therapy for social anxiety and relationship troubles is effective. Our counselors are always here to help you begin improving your self-esteem and build new skills. Contact us today at Caring Heart Counseling with any questions. If you’re ready to book an appointment, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to arrange a time and date that works best for you.