WaveLength CEO, Tim, shares his experience of loneliness and reveals the tools that helped him during that time.
Q: When did you last feel lonely, and why?
A: When I was living on my own after separation (divorce).
Q: What did you do to help you cope with the feelings of loneliness you were experiencing?
A: I found leaving the radio on to come home to was a great thing. Also having access to other media such as television and films was very helpful for me.
Q: On a scale of 1-10, where would you rate loneliness as an emotion (1 being a pleasant emotion and 10 being a very unpleasant emotion)?
A: I would rate it around about a 5 to a 7. I see it as a necessary human process that has a purpose. It’s something in-built within us. The difficulty is when it trips over and becomes a health issue.
Q: Do you find it easy to talk to people about feeling lonely? Who do you turn to when you feel this way?
A: I don’t feel inhibited by doing this and I think there’s a little bit of a myth that people do. I usually look to family members and friends to talk to, but I also believe that pets can be a great support. Forums and chat groups are useful too.
Q: What advice would you give to someone else who is experiencing loneliness?
A: Don’t necessarily feel awkward if you don’t want to talk about loneliness. There are many other things you can do to help yourself. I find going out and pursuing my sport in the countryside very helpful.
It’s recognised that being outdoors in nature is one of the most effective ways of minimising feelings of loneliness. Combining that with social activities such as walking, riding a bike or horse, or pursuing an activity such as fishing or gardening, can be very beneficial.
Q: Is there anything positive about loneliness?
A: Yes, loneliness serves a real purpose and reminds people of the human need for connection. It’s a completely natural human emotion and feeling. We should not be scared of feeling lonely, but we also need to make sure that it does not tip over into a situation that is affecting our good mental health. We also have to respect that some people are happy being lonely and socially isolated. We need to understand that loneliness is a natural function and it’s not always doom and gloom despite being portrayed that way. Even people who are endemically lonely can respond dramatically to interventions, for example media technology (radios, TVs, tablets) that help them feel more connected.