How Does Loneliness Create Anxiety and What Can You Do About it?
Updated: Feb 28
Loneliness is on the rise, and it's likely to contribute to feelings of anxiety & depression. Here are a few ways in which loneliness creates anxiety and some simple tips for handling it.
Loneliness Decreases Self-Esteem
As most forms of anxiety treatment will show you, increasing self-esteem is key to living a happy life. However, it's hard to have high self-esteem in the midst of loneliness. A sensation of isolation and irrelevance often creates the perfect storm for bouts of anxiety & depression if left untreated. Thankfully, therapy for self-esteem can be transformative.
Loneliness Can Create Feelings of Helpless
Everyone has a different relationship to their anxiety and depression thus a different set of symptoms, but there is no denying that loneliness can also contribute to a feeling of helplessness. Without a strong social circle or interpersonal connections, it's easy for loneliness to creep in. But loneliness can also occur even if you're around people. In fact, loneliness is more associated with feeling like you're just not connecting to the people in your life. When you feel like you're not connecting, it's hard to feel like you have a support system whenever you're feeling down or anxious which in turn increases helplessness as well.
Loneliness Can Contribute to Negative Feedback Loops
It is often said that loneliness begets loneliness. The feeling of loneliness tends to create the kind of actions that in turn create even greater loneliness. Say, for example, that you have not yet sought out any form of anxiety treatment, so you're nervous about leaving the house to go to a social event. Failing to leave the house in that instance might make you feel even lonelier, which could make it that much harder to leave the house the next time a social opportunity presents itself. Every time you miss out on an opportunity to socialize you're basically reinforcing the belief that you're lonely, that you're not good in social settings, that you have no support system, etc. These are precisely the beliefs that will be so hard to overcome the next time there's a socializing opportunity. In essence, you must take risks and change your behavior so you create evidence that in fact, you CAN socialize, there are people to spend time with, there are people who you feel connected to, there are people you can rely on during difficult times, etc. But you are responsible for seeking out these opportunities and for cultivating these relationships.
Fighting Back Against Loneliness and Anxiety
When it comes to loneliness, it's important to remember that you can break the cycle by taking action. One positive social interaction could begin a positive upward spiral. It's also helpful to recall that loneliness is something that affects untold amounts of people all around the world. As a common symptom of loneliness, it's easy to think that no one else out there shares your feelings, but they absolutely do. We are all eager to connect and find meaningful, fulfilling relationships. Our species survival depends on it, it's built into our DNA.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses that people deal with. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 people globally live with anxiety. Not only that but the WHO reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide. As a result, there are more opportunities than ever to seek out anxiety treatment for every unique situation. Someone with high functioning anxiety might need a drastically separate approach from someone who presents with more depressive symptoms. Either way, it's uplifting to remember that there is always help out there for anyone dealing with loneliness, depression or anxiety.
At Psych Blossom Counseling Services we offer a range of anxiety treatments, counseling services, and therapy sessions that can help you deal with the often debilitating effects of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Not sure how to get started on reaching out and asking for help? We're here to help you. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your first appointment.