Are You Feeling Lonely? Online Counseling Can Help
Most people experience loneliness or feel alone at some point in their life, whether or not they have other people to talk to or are surrounded by people. People feel lonely after they have moved to a new place, recently ended a relationship, have grown apart from old friends, and many other reasons. Speaking with someone can help to ease loneliness and can help you better understand why you feel alone. Loneliness is not pathological, meaning there is nothing wrong with you for feeling that way. But sometimes, loneliness can be a symptom of a more serious mental health concern, requiring the help of a professional.
Why Do I Have These Lonely Thoughts?
The two main mental health disorders associated with lonely thoughts and feelings are depression and social anxiety. For those feeling depressed, they might be feeling lonely because they keep people at bay. This may be because they don't want to feel like a burden to others or they don't feel like they have the energy to join in activities. Other symptoms of depression include difficulties with longer focus and concentration, a sense of not belonging and sustained sadness, changes in sleep patterns and appetite, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest in normal activities, and low energy levels.
If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and is available 24/7.
Social anxiety can cause individuals to feel extreme fear, disproportionate to the event at the thought of interacting with other people or taking part in certain types of social situations. This can make meeting new people extremely difficult and can further worsen loneliness. Other symptoms of social anxiety include avoiding social situations to the point where areas of your life are suffering significantly and fearing judgment or others' perceptions of you. If you are experiencing lonely thoughts and feelings along with some of the symptoms above, it is recommended that you speak with a therapist or other mental health professional about your current struggles.
Are you familiar with the phrase "if you don't use it, you lose it"? Interacting with others can be very much like that. The longer you go without connecting with humans, the more difficult it can feel to know how to put yourself out there. You may feel uncomfortable or out of practice making conversation or knowing what to do in social situations, increasing a feeling of loneliness.
Feeling lonely or alone can also be due to a big change in life. Maybe you have grown apart emotionally from people or had a change in your living situation — like empty nest or moving to a new area — which hasn't allowed for making new friends yet. Living in rural areas with few people has been linked to feeling lonelyand isolation. Although time and more opportunities to connect with people may be the key to reducing your symptoms of loneliness, it may be best to speak with someone who understands what you are experiencing. You may consider getting more involved in your community through volunteering or picking up a new interest or activity that encourages interaction with others. Are you someone who enjoys meeting people in a big group, or do you feel connected more in one-on-one interactions?
It could also be that you are interacting in relationships on more of a surface level and need to develop some relationships in your life that are deeper and more meaningful. It could be that you feel like you have to put a sometimes false self forward to feel accepted. Over time, this can start to feel like people don't know the real you and can contribute to lonely thoughts and a feeling of emptiness.
In the 24-7, 365 age of social media with billions of images and posts posted every day, it can be easy to see relationships that are more surface level or less "real." You may see a friend's posts and think that is their reality — when social media is more of a highlight reel than anything else. Remember that true connection takes time and effort and requires both people getting "real" about themselves.
Sometimes, a feeling of deep loneliness can be an indication that you do not have a strong relationship with yourself. That may seem like a strange concept. But when we know who we are, we feel better able to connect with others too. When you have a strong sense of self, you are also likely to enjoy your own company more. In the more extreme, you may have a poor self-concept, meaning you do not see yourself as someone with much to offer others. If you think this could be describing you, a therapist can help you. They will teach you to engage differently with your thoughts and feelings of loneliness, challenge negative self-defeating beliefs, and develop a stronger sense of personal values and goal-driven behavior.
What Can Online Counseling Do?
Some people might be embarrassed about feeling lonely. But feeling lonely is completely normal; it's part of being a human being.
Talking with friends or family about what you are feeling may seem difficult for fear of judgement, or you may be afraid of feeling like a burden. Because of this, speaking with a professional therapist may be the best option for your feelings. You can be assured that a licensed counselor will keep anything you tell them completely private, and their job is to help understand your feelings, not judge. A therapist will accept how you are feeling — and help you not fight with those thoughts or feelings as you work to improve your situation that is contributing to lonely feelings.
Speaking with a therapist can help you to practice interacting with others, talking about yourself, being more comfortable with letting people get to know you, and knowing you belong. A therapist can help you to identify more of the roots of your lonely feelings and help you to make changes needed to lessen the thoughts that are concerning to you.
Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:
What is the primary cause of loneliness?
What are signs that you are lonely?
How can I stop feeling lonely?
Is it normal to feel loneliness?
What are 3 physical effects of loneliness?
How do I accept being alone?
What are the signs of a lonely woman?
Is it normal to have no friends?
Can loneliness age you?
What does it mean if u feel empty?
FAQs: Lonely Thoughts
How can I survive without support?
If you’re alone, don’t think of it as something you must survive. Instead, learn to live alone without being isolated. Here are some ways to do so.
- Enjoy activities alone. Play a video game, build a model ship, or go outdoors and enjoy your time there.
- Make sure you’re confident in yourself. Work out, get some rest, and practice other healthy habits. Once you are more comfortable with yourself, you can be comfortable with your loneliness.
- Talk to people online or at local events. Even in a small area, you may find someone to talk to. Meetup apps and friend finders can certainly help with this. If you can’t find anyone, the Internet is a good place. Besides meeting friends online, you can talk to a therapist. A good support chat can cheer you up when you’re feeling down.
- When you are feel alone, try practicing mindfulness to get your mind off it. Focus on the present and avoid any thoughts that are self-defeating or distracting. Take a few nice, deep breaths and try clearing your mind.
- If all else fails, talk to someone about it. Whether it’s a friend, family, or someone else who supports you, talking to a person can boost your self-esteem and allow you to move on from what you’re experiencing.
Is it okay to want to be isolated?
Some people want to be alone, and that’s okay. If you’re fine with being alone, you may think there’s something wrong with that, but there isn’t. Many people prefer to be alone.
For one thing, some people are introverted and like to dive deep in their thoughts instead of being extroverted.
If you own your own place and don’t need help with the bills, you may like having that space all to yourself.
Overall, there are many reasons to like being alone, and it’s not something you should be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
How can I be alone but not isolated?
There are many people who live alone, but they wouldn’t call themselves isolated. If anything, they may feel like they’re full of life. Here are some ways that you can embrace your thoughts:
- Be confident in yourself.
- Attend events, go on casual dates, and explore the great outdoors. Being alone doesn’t mean you can’t still talk to people and go to events.
- Look at alone time as nice, private time and not something to be upset about.
- Speak to a therapist. You can unpack your thoughts and feelings, there may be ways you can be alone and be happy.
Is there a website for thoughts of loneliness?
Any website that involves finding friends or dating is usually filled with people who are looking to expand their social circle. There isn’t any definitive website to meet new people; it all depends on what you’re looking for. Sites like Meetup can help you find friends. Some dating sites may be good for finding love. Online therapy platforms can connect you with someone when you’re unsure of yourself.
What do you call a person who likes to be by themselves?
Some people prefer to have smaller social circles, and they’re known by many names. They may call themselves hermits or recluses. These people are often associated with introverts, but not all introverts prefer being alone.
How does a person make new friends?
Finding new friends when you have none seems like an impossible task. Maybe you’ve moved to a new town, and you’re having trouble making any friends. If you’re someone who has made friends through other friends, starting off from scratch can be like a task that you’ve forgotten about. However, there are some ways that you can meet others when you don't have many friends. These include the following:
- Go to places where friends who have a common hobby gather. If you like video games, go to a game shop. If you’re a bookworm, go to a library.
- Try looking for local events where you may meet someone who is a potential friend.
- Strike up a conversation with someone who seems interesting. Find common ground and discuss things you like. Eventually, tell your name and see if that friend wants to add you on social media.
- Try websites or apps for local meetups. Apps such as Meetup allow you to meet someone based on your own interests.
- If you’re still having trouble making friends due to social awkwardness or anxiety, this is something that you may want to speak to a counselor or therapist about.
What are the benefits of living alone?
Living by yourself isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it can be good. Here are some benefits to living alone:
- First, the privacy. You don’t have to worry about forgetting to close the bathroom door, and you can watch anything you want without someone being nosy. Even couples who are alike in almost every way do want some privacy every now and then.
- You can decorate your home how you want to. You can hang up your own posters, arrange the furniture in your own way, and make your bed whenever you want. While having cleaning habits is important, your roommate isn’t going to get mad if you forget to take out the trash and that’s because there is no roommate.
- Living alone can make you appreciate people more. When you invite a friend over or go on a date, every conversation can be special.
- Being alone may make you more creative. We all imagine the writer alone in their office, getting a spark of inspiration.
If you think you might be experiencing increased loneliness, then talking to an in-person or online therapist can help. They can help you work through some of the anxiety you might be experiencing surrounding meeting people and isolation thoughts. A therapist can offer you tools to implement in your daily life while providing support and understanding.
Online therapy has been shown to be effective for managing social anxiety, which can lead to isolated thoughts. Participants in a study were treated through the use of videoconferencing and found improvements in their quality of life. Improvements were also found in those experiencing depression. The study pointed to the effectiveness of successfully delivering cognitive-behavior therapy through videoconferencing and that it is equal to or better than face-to-face therapy.
Online help at BetterHelp is available via text messaging, phone calls, and video or online chat. Online counseling also allows you to start speaking with someone right away, rather than waiting to receive help from an in-person counselor. No matter when or where you have isolated feelings, setting up an appointment with one of our online counselors can let you speak with someone at your own convenience. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar challenges.
Continue Reading For Counselor Reviews
“I look forward to my counseling sessions. I have felt kind of isolated and cut off from a lot of people for this past year for obvious reasons and speaking to someone who is so knowledgeable and empathetic really helps me to remember that everything is working out.”
“Sandra is very good at helping me work through my anxiety and getting to the root of the problem that I didn’t even see was there. Sandra has given me good coping strategies and she is also very gentle and kind.”