Many people can feel lonely from time to time, especially at this time of year. As the cold weather sets in, days get shorter and darker, and people are often less likely to go out and socialise with others. This only increases feelings of loneliness. However, for others, loneliness can be a constant feeling. Loneliness can affect different people in completely different ways. For example, some people can even feel alone when surrounded by loved ones. A person can be lonely without being alone.
Loneliness can be described as the gap between a person’s desired level of human connection and the actual level of human connection they experience. It occurs when our desire for meaningful connections and relationships is not satisfied.
Although each person’s experience of loneliness is unique, those suffering often experience social isolation, feel left out, unheard, or feel like they don’t belong. This can have extreme effects on both mental and physical health if not dealt with.
The importance of human interaction
Human interaction is an essential part of life; it is only human to crave compassion and companionship. When this is taken away, you can feel very lonely and depressed. Here are some of the most common causes of loneliness:
The loss of a loved one
A sudden breakup
Moving to a new area or going away to university
Loneliness can be experienced at any age or moment in life.
According to the 2021 World Happiness Report, those who felt more socially connected during the pandemic had:
Higher life satisfaction
Improved mental well-being
It was shown that people with a strong support network could overcome challenges, be less stressed, and maintain a stable mental state.
What are the benefits of social connection?
Improves Mental Health: Connecting with others can give a boost to your mood, decrease stress levels, and even improve a person’s self-esteem.
Increases lifespan: research by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) has suggested that being socially isolated can raise the chances of death by a staggering 50%. Furthermore, loneliness can lead to serious issues such as depression and cognitive decline.
Improved quality of life: social isolation can also be linked to health problems such as obesity, smoking, and heart disease.
What are the emotional consequences of loneliness?
There are strong links between loneliness and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and substance dependency. Loneliness can also contribute to disruptions in eating and sleeping patterns. It is common for feelings of loneliness to sometimes develop to such an extent that they lead an individual to engage in acts of self-harm or have thoughts of suicide.
How we can help
The good news is that you aren’t alone; there are people who can help. The feeling of loneliness doesn’t have to be permanent. At the Henry Centre, we have experienced counsellors who can help you understand the cause of these feelings and discuss and resolve them to aid in your recovery. We provide the following therapies for those suffering from loneliness:
It has long been said that the human body is so complex that it would be impossible to create it from scratch. Everything is designed to work in perfect harmony, every muscle and ligament, every nerve and synapse, everything down to the way that the body extracts vitamins and minerals from food in order to keep itself working at a premium.
While we are all aware of how having a well-balanced diet can help us feel our best, it is also important to not underestimate what happens when our bodies are not getting the nutrients that they need. In this article we are going to have a very brief look at the most common deficiencies that can make us feel less than our best and how the symptoms can often manifest in ways that affect our mental wellbeing.
One of the main culprits of feeling extreme exhaustion is a deficiency in iron. This mineral is present in our blood and is concerned with our red blood cells- the part of the blood which carries oxygen around the body. A significant decrease in blood oxygen levels can make us feel cold, jittery, weak, persistently tired and headachy, many of the symptoms of which can overlap with depression and generalised anxiety. Those on a vegan or vegetarian diet can sometimes find themselves with anaemia- which occurs when there is a lack of healthy red blood cells- as a result of not enough dietary iron, though this problem is not always restricted to non-meat eaters.
B12 is another vitamin often associated with veganism and those following a vegan diet are commonly warned of the risks of not getting enough as it is usually derived from red meat and eggs. Many vegan milks and similar products however are fortified with B12 and so strangely vegans are not always the ones who fall victim to this deficiency, purely as they are generally more aware of how much they are getting and often use products that have it added in.
A deficiency or a level in the body that is even borderline deficient in B12 can manifest in very low energy, low mood, limb numbness, trouble with balance, cognitive difficulties and an extreme physical lethargy. In other words, it can often present very much like some of the symptoms of depression, M.E or chronic fatigue. Some people describe feeling as though they are underwater, others with a feeling of helplessness as life feels impossibly exhausting and they find even basic tasks hard to tackle.
Vitamin D, the so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’ is another which when we don’t have enough of, can make us feel more tired than usual, cause respiratory issues and make our bones and muscles weak. While the amount we generally need to keep us feeling strong and healthy is around a mere 20 minutes of direct sunlight a day, many of us are managing to not get even that minimal amount. When we consider that a vast number of us now work either from home or in an office environment, often travelling by car to get there, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that it is easy to spend a whole day without being in direct sunlight. Repeat this on a regular basis and there is a risk of your vit d levels dropping dramatically.
While luckily many of us are now much more clued up about the signs and symptoms of mental health it is important to first eliminate the physical side of things when we are feeling out of sorts. A simple blood test either from your GP or via a self-testing kit such as those at Holland and Barrett can help rule out a biological problem. Deficiencies can usually be easily fixed with supplementation, diet and lifestyle adjustments and in the more extreme cases a simple series of injections. The changes from adjusting vitamin levels can have a fast and very profound effect and are well worth exploring if you suspect you are feeling the symptoms of poor mental health because of your diet.
If you feel however that your mood is not related to diet or deficiencies there is also a chance that it is your mental health that needs attending to. If you feel this may be the case why not make an appointment with The Henry Centre where a professional counsellor can help you explore where this lethargy and low mood is coming from.
This Wednesday saw the launch of our new Henry Centre with a triumphant open event. With food, wine and a superb attendance the launch was a great success. The feedback from our lovely clients was that the centre felt so warm and welcoming and had a homely feel. Not surprising seeing as it was originally the station masters house when originally built in the Victorian era.
The launch was attended by several colleagues including Jane and Philip Langley directors of the Turner Centre in Colchester. As well as Chloe Moul, MA. and Manjeet Angus, MA. who we look forward to welcoming to the team shortly.
It was fantastic to welcome back some previous colleagues and friends such as David Miller, child and forensic psychotherapist and founder of the Psychodynamic Masters at Essex University. As well meeting new associates such as Carol Riley M.A. and Dr Kevin Burrows, who we look forward to building connections with in the coming months.
It was the perfect opportunity to meet several students and recently qualified therapists who have been trained in various fields of counselling . It was an excellent event to bring together like minded people and talk about our views of therapy and what we do at the Henry Centre. The therapists that joined us provided a wide range of talents and we hope to be able to invite some new individuals to join the team in the not too distant future.
The calming vibes projected into our new rooms was mentioned heavily in our feedback from our clients and colleagues and seemed to impress all https://thehenrycentre.co.uk/essex-counselling-service/. We are very serious about providing the best standard of therapy for our clients, we care deeply about providing the best therapeutic experience possible and think very carefully about what we do at the centre. We wanted this to come across in the level of care and attention we have paid to the details and decoration of the rooms and the ‘feel’ of the centre as a whole. It was great to be able to share this others and for it to be so well received. We look forward to sharing this space with our clients in the future and hope that they are able to feel as at home there as we do.
We were particularly excited and proud to show off our new therapy room which has been specifically created and designed for work with children and young adults which will play an important part within the centre.
I completed my psychodynamic counselling masters at University of Essex alongside others training in child and adolescent counselling. With experience and time I came to realise the importance of a unique therapeutic space for children and young people to ensure their full potential can be met . Working with children and young people is meant to be expressive and not inhibited by concerns about noise, or how this might affect other therapists working with their own clients. Here at the Henry Centre we have created a space specially designed for children and young people that is contained in its own part of the building and designed with this age group in mind.
We were also visited by colleagues from referral organisations who we look forward to working with in the future.
We also welcomed some members of the local community who came along to the launch. It was a pleasure to welcome them to the centre and be able to talk about what we do at the Henry Centre and answer any questions they had about therapy. It was also a fantastic opportunity to hear from the community about their ideas around mental health and the ways in which we might promote mental health awareness within the local area. We very much look forward to becoming part of the community of Southend.
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