Loneliness & Isolation
Loneliness describes a terrible, unwanted feeling of disconnection or separateness from other people. Do you long for the pleasure of other people's company and often feel sad, despairing and alone? Isolation can happen by choice and is sometimes healthy, but spending too much time alone can have serious consequences for your mental health.
Loneliness and isolation are different but related concepts. You can feel lonely even if surrounded by people as it’s a subjective, internal perception, of the quality of your relationships, or the extent to which you believe you matter to others. Isolation is being physically, or literally, alone. It can be measured objectively by the number of social contacts you have.
You might choose isolation because you’re suffering in some way or want to avoid facing people or certain situations. Sometimes you might choose isolation as a healthy way of recharging yourself or taking time out. But spending too much time on your own isn’t good for you. Most human beings thrive with social interaction, and wilt without it. Loneliness and isolation both cause significant mental health deterioration, sometimes with devastating consequences such as suicidal thoughts or attempts. The longer you spend feeling alone or isolated, the harder it feels to be comfortable around people and have confidence in your social and communication skills. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Sometimes your feelings manifest physically. Experiencing isolation and loneliness has be shown to suppress your immune system, leaving you more prone to illness and slower recovery times. Life can start to feel empty, purposeless and meaningless if you spend too much time by yourself.
In fact, the most effective way, perhaps the only way, of feeling better and having positive mental health is by building a good social support network (even if it’s just with one or two people). Working online can be a great way of connecting if this is something you’re struggling with. The course guides you out of the darkness of loneliness and isolation, enabling you to find and maintain ‘real world’ connections that will transform your quality of life, repair your self worth, and help you find joy and a sense of belonging and connection with others.