Loneliness and Isolation, Impacts and Tips to Help.

Loneliness, social isolation, including causes of loneliness and how it relates to mental health problems. Practical tips to improve loneliness and isolation.


10/23/20223 min read

Loneliness is a common feeling and more Australians than ever are feeling lonely and socially isolated. Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but long periods of loneliness or social isolation can have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health and well-being.

A common description of loneliness is the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact and relationships is not met. However, loneliness is not always the same as being alone.

You may choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people, while others may find this a lonely experience.

Or you may have lots of social contacts, or be in a relationship or part of a family, and still feel lonely – especially if you don't feel understood or cared for by the people around you.

Loneliness and its impacts

Loneliness can have impacts on both mental health and physical health. Lonely Australians have worse physical and mental health and are more likely to be depressed.

Tips to connect to thrive

Social relationships support good mental and physical health. These tips will help you to enjoy better interactions with the people you encounter, so you can feel the benefits of a positive connection.

Check out these tips courtesy of the Australian Psychological Society (APS)

  • Think positive. Worries about social situations can make you overthink your interactions. Don’t dwell on worries about how you are perceived – shift your focus to the other person or the topic of conversation.

  • Forget comparison. Don’t be concerned if others appear to have more or better friends than you. Quality and enjoyment matter more than quantity. Savour the moments of connection, wherever you can find them.

  • Expect change. Circumstances can leave us vulnerable to a sense of isolation. Relationships shift over time and we may lose touch with friends who were once important. Accepting change as normal can help you adjust.

  • Tolerate discomfort. Anxiety may cause you to avoid socialising. Understand that awkwardness does not mean you are doing anything wrong. Reach out to others and your skills will improve with time.

  • Listen well. Practice listening. Ask questions and really listen to the answers, rather than just waiting for a turn to talk. Respond warmly to people’s experiences through your posture, facial expressions and words.

  • Rehearse. Out of practice with chat? Spend some time thinking about questions you can use when conversation stalls. You might ask if the other person has travelled far, visits this museum often, or liked the show.

  • Say names. Using someone’s name when you know it demonstrates caring. Offer yours. Ask after their loved ones, or pick up a previous conversation topic, such as their pet, to show you have paid attention.

  • Go offline. Social media helps many people, but it can also increase disconnection. Ensure you have a healthy offline life. Perhaps invite trusted online friends to an offline meeting to build your relationship.

  • Chat with strangers. Unexpected moments of connection greatly improve your mood. Share a smile and eye contact with a stranger, or chat to a fellow commuter. Rise to the challenge of finding common ground with strangers.

  • Help others. Helping someone gives a feel-good rush. Create a bond with someone by offering help, or asking for it. Something as little as assistance with a bag or holding a lift can help people feel seen and cared for.

Loneliness and Isolation, Impacts and Tips to Help
Loneliness and Isolation, Impacts and Tips to Help

Therapy can help support people with life’s curve balls, the hard times and the tough stuff so you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re feeling like you are stuck in a rut, as though you can’t catch a break or maybe that it’s all a bit too much, then we’re here to listen. Book an appointment or reach out today to find out more about how we can help you get back on track.

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