The answer is ‘Yes’ – 9 million people in the UK get lonely according to @Thecampaigntoendlonliness

Day 2 of #mentalhealthawarenessweek2019 and I discussed on LinkedIn how simple basic steps on a daily basis can improve one’s outlook on life and happiness.

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Connect with someone to feel better

‘Connect’ is the first of the Five ways to Wellbeing published in 2008 by the New Economics Foundation as part of a report to the Foresight Project and is based on evidence gathered globally. View the whole report here.

Connect can be a text, chat or call. Make a detour to someone’s desk, on your journey home this evening, or plan to meet later in the week. A Wednesday drink after work or a dinner with someone you haven’t seen for a while really breaks up the week. How about having lunch with someone outside, rather than eating at your desk again?

Sharing a laugh or a smile with someone, showing someone a picture of your pet or your project at home is a great way to start a conversation. Conversations lead to connections and next times and having something to focus on and look forward to. That lonely feeling doesn’t come around so often and life isn’t so bad after all.

Anyone can be affected by mental ill health. That means you could be affected or someone close to you at work or at home. Have a look around your colleagues, close friends and family – has anyone been more withdrawn lately? Have you felt lonely yourself?

Have a look at the other 4 ways to Wellbeing also. My additions to the mix are gratitude, sleep & diet.

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NHS recommend these 5 a day for Wellbeing

The World Health Organisation reports that depression is the number one leading cause of disability worldwide. It can be really hard to spot the signs of someone who is affected by depression or anxiety, especially at work, as we are so hard-wired NOT to show our emotions or any sign of weakness. One of the behaviours you may notice though is that someone is more withdrawn than they used to be or is avoiding time with others. 

Please reach out to this person and make an approach to ask how they are. If you notice this behaviour in yourself, consider who you trust and might feel most comfortable sharing some of your feelings or worries with. Choose a quiet, private time and feel the release and lift from sharing a problem with someone who just listens. Talking is a proven therapy for treatment many mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. But it’s not the exclusive remit of professionals, chatting with a mate or colleague works too. Everyone deserves to be heard & understood – right? #itsoktotalk 

listening MHFA itsoktotalk
Listen carefully without judgement

Top tips for listening are:

  • Create safety and trust
  • Listen carefully
  • Don’t judge

The last one is easier said than done. Have a look at Brene Brown’s short video on the difference between empathy and sympathy. She has a fantastic couple of TED talks and is even on Netflix now too.