Struggling With Loneliness and Self-Doubt?
Posted by Improving Lives Counseling Services, Inc. | Counseling
Living in fear, feeling lonely, doubting oneself, or what tomorrow will bring effects mental and physical health. Life is not about living someone’s impression of who you should be, what actions you should take, or how you should think. Life is about living in the way that you want, making your own decisions, and taking responsibility for your actions. Living in fear of what others might think of you, in fear of “rocking the boat,” or of making your voice heard can be a full-time job. A job awash in futility, built around a negative mindset and inundated with negative feelings – diminishing brain chemicals, damaging the immune system, and creating chronic stress.
Research has linked loneliness to mental disorders, prolonged stress, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, obesity, heart disease, a declining immune system, and death. “Researchers found loneliness, social isolation, and living alone were risk factors for early mortality with an increased likelihood of death. Some estimates say loneliness is a greater risk factor for premature mortality than obesity and is comparable to the risk of smoking – keckmedicine.org.” The counselors, clinicians, and therapists of Improving Lives Counseling Services use Cognitive and Exposure therapy to help patients confront their fears and the causes of their anxiety.
Loneliness (isolation) in childhood damages brain circuits and the development of brain structure. Chronic loneliness in children affects academic performance, social behavior, and engaging socially as teens and adults. Children who are chronically lonely experience low self-esteem, feel unliked and/or unloved, unneeded, and unwanted. They are often bored and report seeing images and/or hearing voices. Though auditory hallucinations in children can be part of growing up, when linked to isolation and loneliness, seeing a mental health professional is highly suggested. Improving Lives Counseling Services’ team of licensed professionals specialize in counseling therapies designed to meet the specific needs of children, adolescents, and teens experiencing loneliness.
Lastly, there’s doubt. Doubt about weight, height, clothing, hand, and shoe size. Doubt about relationships, about fitting in and being accepted. Doubt about a job – will it last; will there be enough money to meet basic needs? Doubt about the condition of the home, the mental and physical health of the family, the work-life balance, and if the car will start. Most recently, with the ongoing pandemic, there’s doubt about socializing, sending children to school, returning to work, eating out, wearing a mask, getting a vaccine, and the political divide.
Today messaging comes from all directions, some right, some wrong, and some leaving many “on the fence”. When you don’t know who to believe, or what to believe, and are flooded with conspiracy theories, there’s doubt. With experts constructing policies and critics and politicians buying-in – without even reading the policy, or seeking substantiation of any claims, doubt undermines belief in or respect for our elected officials. Not knowing who to trust, the electorate doubts the truth-tellers as well as the naysayers.
Remember the days when if in doubt you did your own research? Today, technology, although a valuable asset, makes it easy to hit one button, or turn to one radio or TV channel and buy into everything said. Pundits, their invited experts, and analysts sound so convincing they remove any doubt, until something different is heard, and/or false certainties are realized. This sudden doubt causes a lack of confidence in one’s ability to perceive what is true, or to reach a decision. Wikipedia defines doubt as: “A mental state in which the mind remains suspended between two or more contradictory propositions, unable to be certain of any of them. It may involve uncertainty, distrust, or lack of conviction on certain facts, actions, motives, or decisions.”
Self-doubt, a learned behavior, is a major obstacle to living the life you deserve, can lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder (the doubting disease), chronic stress, extreme anxiety, and physical conditions such as fatigue, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Doubt can cause hesitation, procrastination, an inability to make decisions, and failure to achieve goals.
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Do you or someone you know drive too fast because they doubt they will make it on time? Remain homebound because they doubt a vaccine or mask will keep them safe? Check hundreds of resources and watch “every” news channel because they doubt they’ve heard the ‘real” story? Doubt medical diagnoses? Doubt the use of medication? Doubt they’ll be liked or accepted? Doubt what they see with their own eyes? Doubt science? Doubt dogmas? Doubt our teacher’s ability to teach.
Improving Lives Counseling Services can help. Fear, loneliness, and doubt are laymen’s terms for mental illnesses and disorders all of which can be treated. Live the life you were meant to live. Call us to learn more.