Social Isolation: How Does It Affect Your Mental Health?
Some studies have shown that more people are socially isolated these days. There are several reasons for this. The pandemic led to some people getting used to the idea of being by themselves. More individuals working from home play a part in this trend as well.
While being socially isolated doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll fall into bad habits, drug or alcohol use can sometimes be a result of not having friends and spending your time alone. If that happens, you may need addiction treatment at some point. Addiction issues are far from the only potential problem if you’re spending most of your time alone, though.
You Can’t Escape Your Negative Thoughts
If you have friends, you can schedule a time to see them if you’re feeling down. You might go out with them to get something to eat. You can invite them over to watch a sporting event or some movies.
If you don’t have anyone you can do these things with, though, then it becomes difficult to escape any negative thoughts you’re having. For instance, maybe you’re watching the news every night and seeing many worrying stories. Perhaps you don’t like the political news you’re seeing, or you’re watching too many news stories about conflicts in other parts of the world.
If so, getting together with friends can stop you from thinking about those things. By contrast, if you don’t have friends or family to spend time with, you might begin to obsess over them.
Your Way of Thinking Becomes an Echo Chamber
If you have a negative view of the world, then if you’re socially isolated, you might start believing your way of thinking is the only method of viewing the world. You may forget there are other viewpoints that are just as valid.
In short, your way of thinking becomes an echo chamber. There’s no one to present an opposing viewpoint, and you might become fixated on a negative cycle of emotions. Seeing friends or family members can disrupt these thoughts and feelings, and that might be precisely what you need.
Loneliness Enhances Harmful Mental Conditions
These days, more individuals report feeling depressed or anxious than what was previously true. It’s hard to say whether the actual numbers of afflicted individuals are going up or whether the general public is just getting more open about admitting their mental health struggles.
In either case, if you’re not getting any regular social contact, feelings of depression, anxiety, or loneliness can be exacerbated. What might start as a bad day can turn into a whole string of them.
If that happens, it’s easy to sink into a pit of despair. Your physical health may start to suffer along with your mental health.
In the worst-case scenarios, you may get to a point where you can barely function. Without friends and family members to snap you out of it, you might hardly be able to work, bathe, or feed yourself.
Having more empathetic people in your life can be the answer.