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Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 and Loneliness

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2022

 

It's Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 this week and the theme is loneliness.
 
Loneliness and being 'alone' are not the same thing. 
 
Sometimes it's helpful and nice to be alone, especially when life has perhaps become a bit busy or overwhelming. Having time to ourselves is important: it gives us time and space to do the things we enjoy and to do something for us. I think that there is sometimesa bit of a taboo about spending time alone: that it means we have no friends; or are in some way 'odd' or a 'loner'. Taking time to be alone doesn't mean any of those things: it just means that we value being present, with ourselves, whether we are reflecting, doing a task or engaging with a hobby we enjoy.
 
Loneliness, however, is different. Being lonely can have a big impact on mental, emotional, physical and social health. Not only does it lead to feelings of isolation but it can increase the incidence of, for example, depression and anxiety, and worsen the symptoms of those who are already experiencing mental health difficulties and concerns. 
 
Loneliness can also be stressful. A little bit of stress in out lives is ok: it can act as a driver and motivator; help us to achieve tasks and goals; and help us move towards what we want to get out of life. However, there is a tipping point and at that point, stress becomes too much for our body and brain to cope with. It's at that point we start experiencing the unhelpful impact of stress physically and mentally. It's the same with loneliness. Having some time alone, because we want to or because we enjoy it is healthy and helpful. However, when we start becoming lonely, our body and brain gets stressed and it can lead to a wide range unhelpful and risky consequences.
 
Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to a higher risks of a range of physical and mental health conditions including: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease, and even death. 
 
I personally don't think we take loneliness seriously enough in the UK despite the clear evidence that it contributes towards the increase, development and worsening of a whole host of physical, mental/emotion, social and occupational difficulties.
 
There are many ways to decrease loneliness and the impact of loneliness. There's lot of great mental health charities who offer suggestions on how to do this (too many to list here). So, have a wee browse of the internet' try some of the suggestions online and see how you get in.
 
Little changes can make a huge difference. We don't have to try everything at one. A little bit at a time is key. 
 
If you need some support with your mental health (including loneliness); want to make some changes; or need someone to listen and talk to, then let's talk.
 
Let's talk and discover how our therapists and counsellors can support you through change, transition and improving your life. 
 
Let's also discover how you can develop good wellbeing and mental health and challenge the impact of loneliness. Feel free to get in touch using the contact details in the comments below.
 
Take care and best wishes,
Alexandra

Talking EDs: Eating Disorder Support Service Scotland/Glasgow Anxiety and Depression Counselling Service (GADS)/Glasgow Therapy Rooms/M.H. Well

www.eatingdisorderscotland.co.uk
www.glasgowanxietydepression.co.uk
www.glasgowtherapyrooms.co.uk 
 

 

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