LonelyDrive - Do You Feel Lonely, Sad Or Isolated?

Loneliness is not just about being old or young and on your own with nobody around.

Loneliness can be physical or psychological. Sometimes we can find ourselves feeling alone and by ourselves but there are crowds around us. It effects all ages for a variety of reasons. It could be family have moved away or died or we are a person who is different from the norm and find it difficult to make friends. We could be a single parent living in a different town from the town of our birth. There are so many reasons we can feel lonely and alone. Then there’s the psychological aspect of feeling alone and feeling lonely.

Believe it or not senior executives can feel alone. Doctors and professionals work with people all the time but due to their workload they come home and feel isolated from family and friends. Sometimes stress and anxiety can make us feel we want to take ourselves off and be alone. Often we don’t feel there is anyone to talk to or anyone who can understand. Sometimes we see it as a sign of weakness talking to someone about the matter especially in senior people or professionals who think: “Don’t be silly, you can’t feel like this.

People who have low self-esteem or have stress or anxiety often say they feel lonely. People suffering from phobias or weight issues may feel unhappy with their image and this may cause them to feel depressed or suffer from low self-esteem. This may stop or deter them from socialising and people interactions. If left unchecked it could become a vicious circle and get much worse. YouDrive is all about taking responsibility and finding help, not leaving it until it really is a major issue, recognising the symptoms and then talking to professionals about it. It’s so easy to say and hard to do but somewhere inside you there is that little spark that can push you to find help. If you’re a new mum with young children your body and mind has just gone through a major event and it’s not easy. Your feelings are often raw and it’s important to recognise that you might need a hand. 20% of mums say they feel lonely. We all have a social responsibility to look out for the symptoms of both types of loneliness and offer support.

Sometimes loneliness creeps up at different times of the year or could be triggered by an event or situation. If you’re not feeling lonely watch out for the signs of people and loved ones around who might be.

But the interesting thing is you’re not alone, there are millions of people in the UK who feel either physically alone or mentally alone. In fact most of humankind must have felt lonely at some stage, and the point is how long you allow it to hang around before you recognise it and do something about it.

In LonelyDrive we try to offer help and guidance across a range of areas as it’s quite complex and loneliness has come about for a variety of reasons and there are a variety of solutions to solve the matter.

Lonely Facts

1 %

of young mums feels lonely all of the time, as a new Young Women’s Trust report reveals the isolation of motherhood

1 %

of adults in England who reported feeling lonely “often” or “always” ONS in 2016 to 2017

1 %

of children said that they were “often” lonely.  ONS

1 %

of the half of CEOs who express feelings of loneliness believe loneliness hinders their job performance

Physical loneliness

Physical loneliness is about your immediate surroundings groups and locations. Some elderly people live alone and most of their relatives may have passed or moved away. Sometimes elderly people are disabled and unable to get about and contact with others is difficult.

You may be a person who has moved jobs to a new city or even country and left your family behind. It is often said that cities, large towns and suburbia are some of the loneliest places on earth, with everyone so focused on their own lives and jobs. Some say they have never spoken to their neighbours. New mums and new residents in an area can often feel isolated by their location or child care duties and never speak to anyone from day to day. Young people even children can feel lonely due to exactly the same circumstances.

Many health professionals say loneliness is a serious medical issue effecting millions of people. Loneliness and feeling lonely have a real impact on our mind and body and can often trigger other illness and issues. If so many people have experienced loneliness at some stage in their lives, why do we not have a thought for those who feel like that? We can recognise the symptoms easy enough and in our busy lives spare a thought for someone else who may be feeling lonely. You can volunteer to chat with people at the same time and at the same time resolve your loneliness issue. 

Have a look at the website of the Royal Voluntary Service.

Shocking extent of loneliness faced by young mothers revealed

2 May 2018 Cooperative News

loneliness by young mothers
frequencly of loneliness

Some tips for overcoming loneliness

  • Join a group or learn a new activity such as yoga or learning a new language. Any group in your local community. If you’re more energetic you can join a cycling or aerobics group. No matter what the subject is there are like minded people out there you can share a common interest with. This can stimulate creativity, give you something to look forward to during the day, and help stave off loneliness.
  • Locally you can join a group as a Volunteer for the park or wildlife community. There are local communities on your local council website and at the base of this drive.
  • Online communities. If you have a passion for something or interest there will be internet groups who have created chat and blogs. Here again you will find people to chat with.
  • Making contact with old friends at work, school, college that you have not seen for years. On the internet via Facebook and other online friendship hubs you can make contact there.
  • If you volunteer as a pet helper at a local RSPCA or PDSA you may wish to take a pet as a companion, dogs and cats make excellent friends and if you rescue one you are saving a life and helping. Additionally, pets provide unconditional love, which can be a great salve for loneliness.
  • Visit your local health centre or clinic and ask about the different courses available to you such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other types of therapy.

Whatever you do to combat loneliness, know that you are truly not alone, and there are many things you can do to feel more connected.

Psychological loneliness

Ryan Giggs admits his first taste of management at Manchester United was “lonely”.

psychological loneliness

Clearly, loneliness represents a hugely important psychological injury and not one we should ignore. Therefore, make sure to take steps when you are lonely, and to educate lonely people around you about the dangers of remaining lonely.
Even executives and professionals could make one day a quarter to visit a person in hospital or visit and chat with old people in a home or offer to help at a care home. It gets you out of the office and stops you thinking about business and focuses you on caring for others. It could be good for both of you.
According to the Harvard Business Review, half of CEOs express feelings of loneliness, 61% of which believe loneliness hinders their job performance.

lonely mountain top

CEOs and managers alike often feel isolated. Issues and problems often rise to the top and the manager, leader, boss or director picks them up.

Who do they turn to for advice, help, support, guidance?  Many won’t, because asking someone inside the organisation might make them look as though they cannot do the job. Many leaders will admit that it is actually incredibly lonely at the top.

There is a real paradox: these bosses find that despite being surrounded by hundreds of people who work for them and having whole teams at their beck and call, they feel terribly alone. Some leaders respond by removing themselves from ‘real’ people even further, coming to rely on a smaller coterie of advisers and support staff. They eat and meet with a chosen few who act as both providers and gatekeepers, keeping the leader’s show on the road.

This may start off as a well-intentioned way of creating organisational effectiveness but it often leads to yet more isolation. Those acolytes close to the centre of power can easily turn from being supporters to sycophants, telling the leader what they want to hear and not what they need to know. Of course, some may tell their leader the occasional home truth; most however tend to be wary of the career-limiting possibilities of too much honesty.

One way a person can avoid psychological work loneliness is to invest in a coach, either formally or informally. Either way most leaders and managers say having a good quality coach can help.

Psychological Loneliness affects millions across the UK each year. That feeling of isolation even when you’re surrounded by people. Whether you’re an executive, mum at home, Doctor, factory worker, manager it effects every group. It is not age discriminative and does not care where you live. Sometimes we come home from work having been surrounded by people all day, head full of work and when we get home we take one hat off and put a parent or housekeeper or owner hat on. We commence domestic duties and still feel lonely – why? Often we feel totally alone and feel as though no one is there for you or you are fighting life’s battles on your own. Your partner, parents, kids don’t understand you and cannot seem to support your feelings. Here are a few interesting facts from psychology today to demonstrate psychological loneliness is a bigger issue than you think and many people suffer from it;
• Loneliness does not depend on how many friends or relationships you have. Loneliness depends entirely on the subjective quality of your relationships—on whether you feel emotionally and/or socially disconnected from those around you. That is why…

• More than 60% of lonely people are married. When married couples no longer share their deepest feelings, thoughts, and experiences with one another it can leave them feeling disconnected and alone. People in such relationships truly believe their spouse cannot offer them the deep connection they would like.

• Loneliness distorts our perceptions of our relationships. Studies have found that merely asking people to recall times they felt lonely was sufficient to make them devalue their relationships. These perceptual distortions often cause lonely people to withdraw even further from the very people who could alleviate their loneliness. Making matters worse, their friends might be hesitant to connect as well.

• Loneliness actually makes us feel colder. Studies found that recalling a time in which we felt lonely made participants estimate the room temperature as being significant colder. It even made their actual skin temperature drop. The idea of feeling ‘pushed into the cold’ resonates from our evolutionary past in which being ostracized from our tribes meant being kept away from the warmth of the hearth and the social group around it. Indeed, our bodies respond to loneliness in dramatic ways.

• Loneliness makes our bodies feel like they are under attack. Loneliness causes an immediate and severe bodily reaction. It increases blood pressure and cholesterol, and it activates our physical and psychological stress responses. Chronic loneliness significantly increases our risk of cardiovascular disease. Over time, people who are chronically lonely have a much higher incidence of cardiovascular disease because their bodies are under constant and unrelenting stress.

• Loneliness is as dangerous as cigarette smoking. Scientists have concluded that given all the drastic ways in which loneliness impacts our bodies, it represent as great a risk for our long term health and longevity as smoking cigarettes. Indeed, studies have concluded that chronic loneliness increases our risk of an early death by 14%.

The rising epidemic of workplace loneliness and why we have no office friends

We are living in a landscape of loneliness. We have the world’s first Loneliness Minister, Tracey Crouch, and a survey by the Jo Cox Commission in 2017 revealed that nine million people in the UK are affected by it. Loneliness is not only bad for our minds: it’s bad for our health, too, with research showing that chronic long-term loneliness can be as bad as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day, and can increase the risk of blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
It is perhaps no surprise, then, that workplace loneliness is on the rise. It almost sounds like the start of a bad joke: how can you spend all day surrounded by colleagues and still feel alone? But with technology replacing human interaction, heavier workloads (which means less socialising) and the popularity of working from home, it is increasingly the case. A 2014 survey by Relate revealed that 42 per cent of us don’t have a single friend at the office – pretty sobering, considering that British people work some of the longest hours in Europe.
“Despite sitting on a floor with hundreds of other people, work can feel really lonely,” says 31-year-old Sarah, who works for a prestigious advertising agency in central London. “The company is huge but my team is small and we don’t really work together. I’m naturally quite shy too, so it can be hard to speak to start a conversation with someone in another department. I often feel left out and excluded.”
Technology is undoubtedly a huge factor. We send emails or instant messages rather than talk to people and have ‘helpful’ new communication programmes like Slack and Trello, which provide virtual team workspaces to save the inconvenience of having to speak in person. “We’re using things like LinkedIn and Facebook, so we see how people are without having to physically check in with them,” says Rachel Lewis, Director of Affinity Health At Work and an occupational psychologist specialising in wellbeing at work. “We’re getting out of the habit of broaching actual conversations.”

Some final pointers

So here are some final pointers that can help towards changing your loneliness regardless of whether its physical or psychological;
1. Learn to enjoy your time alone – look out the window and daydream, or think of all the annoying people you currently don’t have to listen to.
2. Busy yourself there’s always something that needs doing, whether that’s tidying the house, the DIY you’ve been putting off since winter or do something completely different.
3. Sponsor a child, or animal and take an active part in their welfare.
4. Search online for local clubs, specialist arts or crafts or associations you can join. Fitness and cycling clubs, amateur dramatics, church choirs if you can sing.
5. Call a friend using facetime, hangouts or other video facilities, don’t just call. Psychologically seeing someone’s face is better than just listening to them.
6. Go on a college course for a new language, learn to play the piano with a teacher, or perhaps join a local meetup.com group to meet members with similar interests.
7. See a therapist. Find a safe environment to talk about how you feel and get one-to-one time with another person.
8. Have a massage or treat yourself to a Groupon spa day or take up yoga therapy or other psychosomatic therapy sessions.
9. Think about others who might be lonely and contact your local charity or support group below and ask to volunteer.

Trying to go it alone

The Loneliness Project from the Campaign to end loneliness

shows an example of someone trying to go it alone.

“Loneliness and the feeling being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
mother theresa
Mother Teresa
Nun and missionary

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See what other things can help

More information

Ben who provide support  services for the automotive industry under Support for life have articles on loneliness

The Young Women’s Trust have an artcicle saying one in five young mums feels lonely all of the time

Mind the mental health charity explain the link between loneliness and mental health.

AgeUK have a section on loneliness – see their advice on how to overcome loneliness

Psychology Today have an interesting article on coping with loneliness called Finding Your Way Out Of The Dark.  Read it here.

Very Well Mind list six ways to cope with loneliness.  Read it here.

The Oddfellows focus on making new friends and having fun

ITV’s Good Morning Britain have a campaign for pledges of minutes to help end loneliness

Promising Approaches to Reducing Loneliness in Later Life is a report from the Campaign to End Loneliness  by AgeUK – download it here

The Campaign to End Loneliness  by AgeUK have a report called The Missing Million which identifies people suffering from  loneliness, gives examples of how to engage these people and talk about it. Download it here

This report by the Campaign to End Loneliness  and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is a collection of essays by leaders of groups with increased risk of loneliness. Download it here

The Campaign to End Loneliness  show how loneliness can be measured, and they give scales for this and instruction on how to use these. Download this here

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