Loneliness is a difficult feeling to express but it affects us all at some point in our lives. We can experience feelings of loneliness through being on our own but also when in groups or even crowds of people. As a feeling it can be hard to quantify and understand but we know it's there.


It's important to say that loneliness is not the same as being alone. Many people live alone but do not always experience loneliness. It is a very personal feeling and not easy to admit particularly when you are not sure what is causing you to feel that way. 


Types, causes and impact


A lot of research has been carried out looking into the types, causes and impact of loneliness. The feeling of loneliness can be transient, coming and going. It can also be situational for example, following a bereavement or breakdown of a relationship. We can also experience emotional loneliness when we lose a close connection or attachment with someone in our lives, or social loneliness when we have a small or no network of friends or social connections. 


Loneliness has been shown to have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health, The Campaign to End Loneliness has done some great research in these areas. 


Experiencing loneliness can lead you to feel disconnected, lost, isolated, alone, trapped and impact on your confidence and self-esteem. Loneliness can be an indication of mental health problems but it can also be a cause of them. If you are experiencing loneliness then it may be that there are underlying issues alongside this such as depression or social anxiety. 


What can we do?


Loneliness can be short lived and may not have a lasting impact however, when you experience it or it is longer lasting then there are lots of tips on how to manage it. 


Understanding why you feel lonely is really helpful and reading how other people have coped can help you feel less alone. There are several social campaigns highlighting the experience of loneliness and what you can do, for example Mind or the British Red Cross ‘Tackling Loneliness Digitally'. The NHS Mental health hub has a number of helpful resources. 


Suggestions for combating loneliness include joining a group, finding people with shared interests, doing things you enjoy, mindfulness, exercise and sharing your feelings. 

If you have been experiencing intense loneliness for a longer duration you could benefit from talking therapies. Counselling can help you to identify the cause of the loneliness and if there are any wider issues that you are experiencing alongside the loneliness. Whatever you are going through there is support available and you do not need to suffer in silence. 


If you would like to explore this further and feel you may benefit from counselling please get in touch and we can discuss how this might help.