How to deal with loneliness (Introduction)
According to www.mind.org.uk, “we all feel lonely from time to time. Feelings of loneliness are personal, so everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different. One common description of loneliness is the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact and relationships is not met. But loneliness is not always the same as being alone. You may choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people, while others may find this a lonely experience. Or you may have lots of social contact or be in a relationship or part of a family, and still feel lonely – especially if you don’t feel understood or cared for by the people around you.”
If you’re struggling with loneliness, you’re not alone. It is estimated that up to 40 million Americans experience loneliness every year (ref.).
33% of adults surveyed in 29 countries worldwide reported experiencing loneliness (ref.)
The good news is that there are things you can do to ease your loneliness and even prevent it from happening in the first place. This guide will provide some tips on how to understand and cope with your loneliness. We’ll also explore how to create social connections that can help reduce feelings of isolation.
If you’re feeling lonely, read on for some helpful advice. And remember, you’re not alone in this journey. There are others out there who understand what you’re going through and are here to help.
You might like: 3 Ways To Sparking More Joy In Your Life TODAY
What Is Loneliness
Loneliness is an emotion that can be caused by a number of different factors. It can be the result of social isolation, feelings of inadequacy, or a lack of close relationships. Loneliness is a highly personal state, which can vary great from one individual to another.
Regardless of its cause, loneliness can have a significant impact on one’s mental and physical health. Lonely individuals often report feeling depressed, anxious and stressed. They may also suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders.
In addition, loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other serious health conditions. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to combat loneliness.
Throughout life, we often feel lonely at some time or another. This feeling is completely normal and there are many ways to cope with it. However, if you find that you’re struggling with loneliness regularly, it may be time to seek help.
How Do Experts Define Loneliness
According to Mayo Clinic, “Loneliness can be normal, and is only an indicator of underlying disease when feelings become excessive, all-consuming, and interfere with daily living.”
According to Healthline, “Loneliness may not feel very comfortable, but it’s a transient emotional state that specifically relates to your needs for connection and belonging. Once you meet those needs, you’ll probably feel less lonely.”
According to Everyday Health, “the American Psychological Association defines loneliness as the emotional distress we feel when our inherent needs for intimacy and companionship are not met.”
According to the Centers For Disease Control, “Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact. Social isolation is a lack of social connections. Social isolation can lead to loneliness in some people, while others can feel lonely without being socially isolated.”
Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo, Assistant Professor Of Psychiatry And Behavioral Neuroscience defines loneliness as “a state of mind characterized by a dissociation between what an individual wants or expects from a relationship and what that individual experiences in that relationship. Because loneliness is a state of mind, being physically alone is not a necessary nor a sufficient condition to experience loneliness. One can experience a lonely state of mind while being with people at work, at home, or even in a marriage. Income, education, gender, and ethnicity don’t necessarily protect you from loneliness, and it is contagious.”
According to WebMD, “chronic loneliness signs and symptoms differ depending on what your situation is and who you are.
You may be dealing with chronic loneliness if you consistently feel some or all of the following:
- You don’t have any close friends. The people you see are casual acquaintances you can spend time with, but you don’t have a deep connection with them.
- You experience feelings of isolation even when you’re surrounded by other people or in large groups. It may feel like you’re constantly on the outside looking in.
- You struggle with feeling like you’re less than or not good enough.
- When you reach out to others, your interactions feel shallow, and you don’t get a lot from people emotionally.
- You have exhaustion and burnout when you socialize with others. It can feel like you’re constantly drained and unable to interact the way you’d like to.”
The effects of loneliness aren’t necessarily tied to the physical characteristics of lonely people. Rather, they are effects of everyday people who get plenty of human interaction.
Loneliness can make an individual feel irritable, depressed, and anxious, while also potentially leading to premature mortality. Loneliness can be more than mental health and behavioral problems. There is often a significant association between loneliness and various health issues and diseases.
What Loneliness Isn’t
Loneliness is not a character defect. Loneliness is not your fault. Loneliness does not make you less of a person. Loneliness is not shameful. Loneliness is not something you should ever blame yourself for.
Loneliness is often misunderstood. Some people think that loneliness is simply being alone, but this is not necessarily the case. Loneliness is a feeling of isolation, longing for companionship, and an inability to connect with others.
Humans are naturally social animals. We strive for attention and companionship. However, sometimes we are forced to be alone and this is when we should tap into our imagination and creativity to find new strengths within ourselves.
Conversely, being alone can sometimes lead to loneliness, but it is not the root cause. Everyone feels lonely at times, but for some people, it is a constant state.
Loneliness can be caused by a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- Social anxiety
- Chronic illness
- Major life changes
- Loss and grief
- It can also be a side effect of taking certain medications or going through a major life change.
Regardless of the cause, loneliness can be a very difficult emotion to deal with. Thankfully, there are several ways to combat loneliness. Spending time with friends and family, participating in activities that make you feel connected to others, and reaching out to organizations that offer support can all help to lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Related: 25 Practical Ways to Find Joy.
The Difference Between Loneliness And Being Alone
According to Everyday Health, “studies, including one published in 2017, have suggested that living alone is a risk factor for loneliness and social isolation. Right up arrow But, research also suggests that time spent alone can help with feelings of autonomy, self-discovery, and fostering a “peaceful mood,” especially in seniors, according to a 2021 study. In other words, being alone can — but doesn’t necessarily — cause loneliness.”
It is common to hear the words loneliness and being alone used interchangeably. However, there is a big difference between the two concepts.
Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but it is an emotional headspace that comes and goes or lingers around for some. Being alone, on the other hand, is a physical state where they are secluded from others with minimal to no human interaction.
Some people prefer to be alone, while others find it difficult to be in a room by themselves for even a few minutes. It stems from how comfortable you are with yourself and social events. Some feel more isolated when they are in social situations, while others strive during these times.
While that person who felt alone during the parties now feels at home when they are physically alone. But that person who was running around chatting it up with his friends can’t stand the quietness of being physically alone. Neither is wrong, but you must understand yourself and be able to put yourself in the best situations to help you stay away from the feelings of loneliness.
There are many reasons why someone might choose to be alone, including introversion, anxiety, and depression. In most cases, being alone is not a bad thing.
Being alone can allow your imagination and creativity to kick in. Allowing you to find out things about yourself and your situation that you may have never thought about or seen before.
It can sometimes be quite relaxing and enjoyable. However, if someone feels lonely all the time, it might be indicative of a bigger issue. If you find that you are constantly longing for companionship, it might be worth talking to a therapist to see if you are struggling with loneliness or something else.
Signs and Symptoms: How Loneliness Looks And Feels
Loneliness is more than just the feeling of being alone. It is a complex and often painful emotion that can have a profound impact on our mental and physical health. Loneliness presents itself in varied ways from one individual to the next. Often feelings of loneliness are rooted in very personalized perceptions of one’s life situation.
There are many different signs and symptoms of loneliness, but some of the most common include:
- Feelings of isolation
- Feeling empty
- Longing for companionship
- Feeling you are not heard or misunderstood
- Feeling alone when among other people
- Ruminating too much on the past
Physical symptoms can also be present.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, lonely people are not likely to eat well or exercise. They also have more stress due to lack of social support. These types of poor habits may lead to a worsened immune system causing them to feel sick more often and with heightened severity.
- Chronic Stress- prolonged loneliness can cause cortisol levels to be elevated. Cortisol is a hormone that is created when a person undergoes stress. When it is elevated, a person might experience high blood pressure, weight gain, muscle weakness, and problems concentrating.
- Chest pain
- Loss of energy
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Getting colds more frequently
More severe symptoms include:
- Sleeping too much
- Feeling worthless – extreme low-self-esteem
- Withdrawing from social life
- In extreme cases, loneliness can even lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.
As you can see loneliness can affect you both mentally and physically. And if you let it get out of hand it can lead to even more health problems. If you begin to feel multiple of these symptoms for extended periods of time, make sure you see a professional.
4 Types Of Loneliness
People often think of loneliness as a lack of companionship, but it can take many different forms. Here are the four different types of loneliness:
1| Emotional Loneliness
Emotional loneliness is a feeling of being disconnected from the people around you. It can occur even when you’re surrounded by others, such as family, friends, and co-workers. You may feel like no one understands you or that you have no one to turn to for support.
Emotional loneliness can be temporary, such as during a difficult life event, or it can be long-lasting. If you’re feeling emotional loneliness, there are steps you can take to feel better.
First, try to identify the root cause of your loneliness. Are there certain people or situations that trigger your feelings? Once you’ve identified the cause, try to find ways to reduce your exposure to it.
For example, if you’re lonely because you don’t have any close friends at work, try joining a club or taking a class outside of work. You can also reach out to community organizations or volunteer groups. Making connections with others is a key way to reduce feelings of loneliness.
Finally, be patient with yourself. It can take time to build new relationships, but eventually, you’ll find people who make you feel connected and supported.
2| Social Loneliness
Social loneliness is the feeling of isolation from others or feeling like one does not belong in a group. It can happen when an individual has few friends or feels like their relationships are not meaningful.
Social loneliness can also occur when someone is living in a new place and does not know many people. In some cases, social loneliness can be caused by shyness or introversion. However, it is important to remember that everyone experiences social loneliness at some point in their life.
There are many ways to cope with social loneliness, such as reaching out to friends or family members, joining clubs or groups, or volunteering. Taking small steps to connect with others can help reduce feelings of social loneliness.
3| Situational Loneliness
Situational loneliness is a type of loneliness that is brought on by a specific situation. Situations that can cause situational loneliness include moving to a new city, starting a new job, or going through a divorce.
The good news is that situational loneliness is usually temporary and can be resolved by making new friends or joining social groups. In the meantime, there are several things you can do to cope with situational loneliness, such as staying busy, staying connected with friends and family, and reaching out to others.
4| Chronic Loneliness
Chronic loneliness is a type of loneliness that lasts for a long time, usually years. It can be caused by many things, such as social isolation, mental illness, or moving to a new place.
Chronic loneliness can have a negative impact on your health, both mentally and physically. It can increase your risk of depression, anxiety, and even early death.
There are ways to cope with chronic loneliness, such as therapy, medication, or joining a support group. If you are feeling chronically lonely, reach out for help from a professional or a loved one.
8 Common Causes Of Loneliness
Do you ever feel alone, even when you’re surrounded by people? If so, you’re not alone. Loneliness is a common feeling that can affect anyone at any time. While there’s no single cause of loneliness, there are several factors that can contribute to it. Here are 5 causes of loneliness that you may not be aware of.
1| Lack Of Close Relationships
Loneliness is a feeling of isolation or being alone even when surrounded by other people. There are many causes of loneliness, but one of the most common is a lack of close relationships.
This can be due to several factors, such as moving to a new city or town, not having any close friends or family nearby, or simply not making the effort to connect with others.
If you find yourself feeling lonely, try reaching out to others and making an effort to connect on a deeper level. You may be surprised at how many people are also looking for companionship.
2| Lack Of Social Interaction
One of the most common causes of loneliness is a lack of social interaction. This can be due to several factors, such as living in a rural area, being introverted, or suffering from social anxiety.
It can also be the result of a major life event, such as moving to a new city or losing a loved one. When we don’t have regular contact with others, we can quickly start to feel isolated and alone.
Another common cause of loneliness is feelings of inadequacy. We may compare ourselves unfavorably to others and feel that we don’t measure up. This can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and Worthlessness which can make social interaction difficult.
Grief is a common cause of loneliness. Many people experience feelings of isolation and loneliness after the death of a loved one. This is because they no longer have that person in their lives to share special moments with. Even if they have friends and family, the loss of a close relationship can make them feel alone.
Grief can also be caused by other major life changes, such as divorce or retirement. These events can cause people to feel like they no longer have a place in the world. They may feel like they are no longer needed or wanted by others. As a result, they may withdraw from social activities and start to feel lonely.
4| Major Life Changes
Major life changes can cause an onset of loneliness including the following
- Changing jobs
- Divorce or relationship break up
- Illness or the onset of a new disability
- Empty nest syndrome
- Moving to a new area especially if it far from loved ones
- Pandemics, like Covid-19 and its consequent shelter in place orders which resulted in people. According to Harvard Health, 36% of Americans felt “serious loneliness” in 2020.
Sources: Forbes Magazine, Centers For Disease Control
5| Living Far From Loved Ones
Another common cause of loneliness is living far from loved ones. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as job opportunities, retirement, or attending school.
According to a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation report, 51% of Americans who feel lonely also have no relatives or just a few who live close to them and on whom they can rely on for support (ref.).
When people move away from their support system of family and friends, they can often feel isolated and alone. This type of loneliness can be especially difficult to cope with because it is often long-term.
Without regular contact, it can be hard to maintain relationships over distance. However, there are several ways to combat this type of loneliness. Technology has made it easier than ever to stay in touch with loved ones, and there are now many ways to connect with people who share your interests and hobbies.
There are several organizations that help people who have moved to new cities to connect with others. While living far from loved ones can be lonely, it doesn’t have to be permanent.
6| Social Media Usage
Social media has been linked to loneliness in several ways. First, users of social media tend to compare their own lives to the often-perfected images and updates that they see from their friends and acquaintances. This can lead to feelings of envy and loneliness, as users may feel that they do not measure up to those around them.
Additionally, social media usage has been found to reduce face-to-face interactions, which are essential for developing deep and meaningful relationships.
Finally, social media can create echo chambers, where users only encounter information and opinions that confirm their own views. As a result, they may become isolated from contrary viewpoints and become even more lonely. While social media can have some benefits, it is important to be aware of its potential downside in order to avoid feelings of loneliness.
7| Financial Stress
Financial stress can be caused by job loss, low income households, not being able to make ends meet and fluctuations in the economy. Dr. Adam Borland, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who treats anxiety and mood-related issues at the Cleveland Clinic tells Everyday Health, “…financial struggles can lead to shame, loss of identity, and stress, which can cause people to withdraw. People in this group may be working two jobs or managing irregular work schedules that make it that much harder to connect with the people around them.”
8| Mental Health Connections
According to www.mind.org.uk, “Feeling lonely isn’t in itself a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked. Having a mental health problem can increase your chance of feeling lonely. For example, some people may have misconceptions about what certain mental health problems mean, so you may find it difficult to speak to them about your problems (see our section on tips for dealing with stigma below). Or you may experience social phobia – also known as social anxiety – and find it difficult to engage in everyday activities involving other people, which could lead to a lack of meaningful social contact and cause feelings of loneliness.”
According to Healthline, “… feelings of loneliness, when left unresolved, could eventually lead to depression and other mental health concerns.”
Risk Factors For Loneliness
According to WebMD, “while anyone can feel chronic loneliness, studies show that certain people are more at risk. Current research shows that immigrant, lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations experience loneliness more than any other group. The reasons for this are usually tied to things that make social isolation worse, such as language barriers, culture differences, community, family dynamics, stigma, discrimination, and barriers to care.”
Other factors for chronic loneliness include:
- Disability or health issues that make it difficult to get out into the world and attend social gatherings.
- According to the Centers For Disease Control, “Although it’s hard to measure social isolation and loneliness precisely, there is strong evidence that many adults aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk.”
- Being a caregiver
- Being a single parent
- Lack of family and weak ties to family
- Being left out of social activities because of a lack of money
- Lack of friends
- Difficulty forming close relationships, such as the case of victims of sexual or physical abuse
- Mental health issues
Related: How to find more joy in daily life
The Effects Of Loneliness On Overall Wellbeing
Loneliness is not simply the feeling of being alone. It is a complex and unhealthy emotion that can have a profound effect on our overall well-being. When we are lonely, we feel disconnected from the world around us and isolated from others. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and even despair.
Loneliness has been linked to several physical health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and weakened immunity. Lonely people are also more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking. On the other hand, social interactions can boost immunity, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress levels.
In addition, loneliness can also take a toll on our mental health, increasing our risk for conditions like anxiety and depression. Chronic loneliness can even lead to cognitive decline over a longer period of time. Loneliness can be especially difficult for older adults, who are more likely to experience the death of loved ones and other forms of social isolation.
“Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death” (ref.)
According to the Centers For Disease Control, “although it’s hard to measure social isolation and loneliness precisely, there is strong evidence that many adults aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk.”
Loneliness And Depression
Loneliness is more than simply feeling alone. It is also a sense of isolation and lack of belonging. When people feel lonely, they often withdraw from social activities and become less engaged with the world around them.
They can slowly start to slip away from society and their normal day-to-day routines. This can lead to feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and despair. Over time, loneliness can increase the risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
One study has shown that lonely individuals are more likely to experience sleep problems, increased stress levels, and impaired cognitive function (Loneliness is associated with risk of cognitive impairment in the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe, Martina Luchetti, Antonio Terracciano, Damaris Aschwanden, Ji Hyun Lee, Yannick Stephan, and Angelina R. Sutin).
Our mental health can be severely affected by loneliness if we do not take the steps to fix the issue. Building social connections and participating in activities that promote positive well-being can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and improve overall health.
Loneliness is a state of mind that can have negative effects on your health. Numerous studies have shown that loneliness can lead to a decline in physical and mental health.
And those who experience loneliness turn to bad habits that may lead to further health issues like heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. It can also contribute to depression and anxiety. According to the Centers For Disease Control, “loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.”
Being lonely can have a significant impact on your health. According to the National Institute on Aging loneliness can be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness has also been found to increase the risk of premature death by up to 32%.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, “Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.”
The effects of loneliness are thought to be caused by the stress that loneliness can place on the body. When we feel lonely, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode, releasing stress hormones like cortisol. These hormones can harm our health over time, leading to problems like high blood pressure and heart disease (ref.).
There is a growing body of evidence linking loneliness to poor cardiovascular health. This study (Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Cardiovascular Health, Ning Xia and Huige Licor) found that lonely people were more likely to develop atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries and can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, “Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.” “Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.”
They also found that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. Furthermore, loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Dementia And Cognitive Health
Loneliness is often thought of as an emotional state. Numerous studies have shown that loneliness is a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline. According to NYU Langone, people who felt lonely were more than twice as likely to develop dementia over six years. They also found that loneliness is associated with a heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, “social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.” So how does loneliness affect cognitive health? One theory is that it leads to chronic stress, which in turn damages the brain. Stress causes the release of harmful chemicals like cortisol, which can damage brain cells and lead to inflammation. This inflammation has been linked to cognitive decline and dementia.
Another possibility is that lonely people are less likely to engage in social activities and mentally stimulating pursuits, which can lead to cognitive decline. Whatever the mechanism, the link between loneliness and cognitive decline is clear. If you’re feeling lonely, make an effort to connect with others. Not only will it improve your emotional well-being, but it could also help to keep your mind sharp as you age.
Susceptibility To Colds
So why does loneliness have such a negative impact on our health? One theory is that lonely people are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking. According to the Mayo Clinic, lonely people may also be less likely to exercise and eat healthy foods. Additionally, lonely people may have less social support, which can lead to isolation and stress. All these poor habits lead to a worsened immune system causing them to feel sick more often and with heightened severity.
30 Ways To Cope With And Overcome Loneliness
Finding new ways to avoid feeling lonely can be hard. So here are 25 tips to help you overcome that feeling we all hate.
1| Acknowledge How You’re Feeling
It’s normal to feel lonely from time to time. We all need some time to ourselves to recharge, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re feeling lonely more often than you’d like, it might be time to take some steps to overcome those feelings.
The first step is acknowledging how you’re feeling. Once you’ve identified that you’re lonely, you can start to take steps to address the issue. Maybe you need to spend more time with friends and family, or maybe you need to find a new hobby or activity that gets you out of the house and interacting with other people. Regardless of the cause, taking action to address your loneliness can help you feel better and make positive changes in your life.
2| Know The Difference Between Loneliness And Isolation
The next step to overcoming loneliness is understanding the difference between loneliness and isolation. People can feel lonely even when they’re surrounded by people, whereas isolation is a physical separation from others.
It’s important to be aware of this distinction because it can help you better identify the root cause of your feelings of loneliness. If you’re feeling isolated, then there are likely tangible steps you can take to reduce that isolation, such as joining a club or scheduling regular get-togethers with friends.
On the other hand, if your loneliness stems from feeling like you don’t connect with the people around you, then the solution may be more internal. In that case, it might help to reflect on your values and what you’re looking for in relationships. Once you have a clear idea of what you need, you’ll be in a better position to form deep, lasting connections with others.
3| Identify The Cause Of Your Loneliness
Loneliness is a complex and often painful emotion felt by people of all ages. Though its causes are varied, loneliness often stems from a feeling of disconnection from others. Whether you are shy or simply don’t have many friends, there are many ways to overcome loneliness.
You need to identify the cause of your loneliness to overcome it. Is it due to social anxiety? Lack of opportunity? Once you’ve identified the root cause, you can begin to take steps to address it.
If you’re shy, for example, you can begin by taking small steps to interact with others, such as saying hello to your neighbors or striking up conversations with people you meet in line. With time and effort, you can begin to build connections that will help reduce feelings of loneliness.
4| Attend A Social Event
Attending a social event can be a way to overcome loneliness. This could either be a party, picnic, or anything that would involve being around other people. This allows you to interact and make new friends. Doing this regularly will help you feel less lonely because you would always have something to look forward to.
There are many benefits to attending social events such as: having fun, relieving stress, and meeting new people. So the next time you’re feeling lonely, remember that there are always ways to overcome it. Just take things one step at a time and eventually, you will get there.
5| Watch A Movie
When you’re feeling lonely, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do anything. Why bother when there’s no one around to share the experience with? However, there are quite a few benefits to taking some time for yourself and watching a movie.
For one thing, it gives you a chance to relax and escape from your everyday worries. You can also learn something new from a well-made film, or even just enjoy the artistic value of a good story. Additionally, watching a movie can be a great way to bond with friends or family members who live far away.
Whether you’re sharing laughter or tears, the experience of watching a film together can help to create lasting memories and foster a strong sense of connection. Consider popping in your favorite movie and enjoying some quality time with yourself.
6| Embrace Guided Meditation
Guided meditation promotes inner peace, teaches us to live in the present moment and provides a great deal of peace of mind.
Through guided meditation we learn to just be with any thoughts, and emotions we are experiencing, without attempting to change them in any way. Such kindness filled observation helps teach us to be at peace with whatever is going on inside our hearts and out minds.
Meditation is also very effective at bringing awareness to the fact that we are all connected. It assists us in realizing that no matter how much we feel a sense of separation, all of our lives are ultimately connected in one way or another.
According to a study meditation proved highly effective for loneliness, “Thirteen studies met our inclusion criteria and were published between 2012 and 2020 across 10 countries. Eleven studies reported improvements in relation to loneliness.” (The effects of meditation on individuals facing loneliness: a scoping review; Saini, et al)
7| Learn To Cherish Alone Time
Loneliness is often a matter of perception. Some people may feel that they are automatically when they are alone. But many others actually enjoy their own company and love to spend time alone. Learning to do so can help ease your feelings of perceived loneliness. When you begin to enjoy your alone time as a time that is dedicated just for you it can help ease your loneliness.
8| Stay Busy
Staying buys is a great way to distract from feelings of loneliness. Take up a hobby, declutter your home, organize closets, finish that home improvement project you’ve been thinking about it. Invest time in yourself and keep your mind occupied with positive things.
According to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service, people who volunteer have significantly lower rates of depression and loneliness than those who don’t.
Volunteering is a great way to get out of your head and connect with others who are passionate about similar causes. Whether you’re spending time with animals at a shelter, tutoring students after school, or collecting items for a food drive, volunteering allows you to give back in a way that is purposeful and fulfilling.
And as a bonus, it can also help you build new skills and networks that can be valuable in your personal and professional life. If you’re looking for ways to overcome loneliness, volunteering is a great place to start.
10| Find Your Purpose
When you live with purpose, you are typically fulfilled and overall satisfied with life. When you find your why, you can then pursue that in your daily living.
11| Build Social Connections
Consider building and fortifying social connections to deal with feelings of loneliness. Social connections include, but are not limited to:
- People in your community/Community activities (check your local paper)
- Social Clubs
- Hobby clubs
- Take a class
- Pen pal clubs are a great way to connect with others. Online resources include: PenPal World and Global Penfriends.
12| Strengthen And Nurture Your Existing Relationships
Make an effort to connect with your existing relationships. This not only helps to ease loneliness it is also great for promoting your mental health. This can be as simple as picking up the phone and reaching out. Invite people over for dinner or game night. Go hiking, to restaurants or clubs. If you exercise, consider asking a friend to be your workout partner.
13| Adopt A Cute Pet
Adopting a pet is one of the most fulfilling ways to overcome loneliness. Not only will you have a new best friend, but you’ll also gain the benefits that come with owning a pet.
Peet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, are less likely to suffer from depression and have healthier hearts overall. In addition, caring for a pet can give you a sense of purpose and help you to stick to a routine.
If you’re considering adopting a pet, make sure to do your research first. Different animals have different needs, and some may be better suited to your lifestyle than others. Once you’ve found the perfect furry (or scaly) friend, get ready for a lifetime of companionship.
14| Read Or Write A Story
When you read or write a story, you often find yourself transported to another place and time. Whether it’s a work of fiction or a true tale, reading about someone else’s experiences can help you feel less alone.
And when you’re the one crafting the story, you have the opportunity to control the outcome—something that can be reassuring when life feels out of your hands. Taking the time to journal about your struggles can lead to improvements in mental health. So next time you’re feeling lonely, consider reaching for a book…or putting pen to paper yourself.
15| Take A Relaxing Bath
One simple and enjoyable way to combat loneliness is to take a relaxing bath. Whether you’re taking a solo bath or enjoying a shared experience with a friend or partner, spending time in the water can help you feel refreshed and connected.
The warm water can help to relax your muscles and ease your mind, and the solitude can give you the space you need to reflect on your life and relationships. In addition, taking a bath is a great opportunity to practice self-care and show yourself some love.
16| Take A Drive
One way to overcome loneliness is to take a drive. This can be a great way to clear your head and get some fresh air. It can also be a great way to explore new places and meet new people. If you take a drive, be sure to keep your eyes open for interesting things to see and people to meet. You never know what you might find when you take a trip down the open road.
17| Dance It Out
There are many ways to overcome loneliness, but one potentially fun way is to dance it out. Dancing has been shown to have numerous mental and physical benefits, including reducing stress, improving cardiovascular health, and increasing brain function. Dancing is a great way to socialize and meet new people. So if you’re feeling lonely, put on your favorite tunes and get moving.
18| Go For A Quick Run
Going for a quick run is one way to help combat loneliness. It releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Additionally, running gives you time to clear your head and focus on your breath, which can help to center yourself.
It also forces you to be present in the moment and focus on your physical surroundings, rather than ruminating on negative thoughts. If you don’t like running, other forms of exercise can have similar effects.
The important thing is to get moving and out of your head for a little while. Doing so can help to break the cycle of loneliness and give you a much-needed sense of connection and peace.
19| Watch Something Comedic
If you’re feeling lonely, one way to overcome that feeling is to watch something comedic. Laughter is a powerful antidote to loneliness, and it can help to put your life into perspective.
When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. In addition, laughter helps to reduce stress and anxiety, providing a sense of calm and well-being.
So next time you’re feeling lonely, pop in a comedy movie or TV show, or even just spend a few minutes browsing funny videos online. A good laugh can go a long way toward helping you feel better.
20| Take A Trip To A Coffee Shop
While many factors can contribute to feelings of loneliness, one of the most common is simply not having enough social interaction. If you find yourself feeling lonely, one of the best things you can do is take a trip to your local coffee shop. Not only will you get out of the house and have the opportunity to meet new people, but you’ll also get to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. And who knows? You might just make some new friends along the way.
21| Do Something New
One way to overcome loneliness is to do something new. This could mean taking up a new hobby, exploring your city or town, or going on new adventures with friends.
By shaking up your routine and trying something new, you can help yourself feel more connected to the world around you. Additionally, doing something new can also help you meet new people and make new friends, which can further help to reduce feelings of loneliness. So next time you’re feeling lonely, get out there and try something new.
22| Make Your Bed
One of the simplest things you can do is make your bed every morning. This may seem like a small task, but it can have a big impact on your day-to-day life.
For starters, it will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you to start your day on a positive note. Additionally, making your bed each morning will give you something to look forward to at the end of the day. After a long day of work or errands, coming home to a neatly made bed can be very satisfying. Finally, taking the time to make your bed will force you to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life.
In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget what matters. Making your bed each morning can help you remember that even the little things can make a big difference.
23| Look Through Old Photos
Looking through old photos is a great way to overcome loneliness. It can bring back happy memories of people and times you have long forgotten. It can also help you to appreciate the people who are still in your life.
Seeing how people change over time can remind you that everyone goes through ups and downs and that even though things might be tough now, they will eventually get better.
Looking at old photos can also give you a sense of perspective. It can help you to remember all the amazing things you have experienced and accomplished, and to realize that even though you might feel alone sometimes, you have lived a very full and rich life. So next time you are feeling lonely, take some time to look through your old photo albums or box of pictures. It will definitely make you feel better!
24| Practice Positive Self-Talk
One way to overcome loneliness is to practice positive self-talk. This means speaking kindly to yourself, instead of putting yourself down. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, take a moment to reframe them in a more positive light.
For example, if you are feeling lonely because you don’t have any close friends, try telling yourself that it’s okay to be introverted and that you are perfectly capable of making friends when you want to.
Remind yourself that you are strong, capable, and worthy of love and belonging. By speaking kindly to yourself, you can cultivate self-compassion and begin to feel less alone in the world.
25| Attend Classes
A great way to overcome loneliness is to attend classes. Whether you’re taking a cooking class or learning a new language, attending classes can help you meet new people and make friends. In addition, classes give you a chance to explore your interests and discover new hobbies.
As you start to connect with others, you’ll likely find that your feelings of loneliness start to fade away. So if you’re looking for ways to overcome loneliness, attending a class is a great option.
26| Start A 5-Minute Gratitude Journal
One of the best ways to overcome loneliness is to express gratitude for what you have. Every day, take five minutes to write down three things that you’re grateful for. It can be something as small as a good cup of coffee or a sunny day.
Gratitude helps us to appreciate the good in our lives and to focus on what we have instead of what we lack. Additionally, gratitude can help to shift our perspective from negative to positive, making us more likely to attract good things into our lives. If you’re feeling lonely, start a gratitude journal and see how it helps you to appreciate the good in your life.
27| Watch Inspiring Ted Talks
We’ve all seen clips of an inspirational Ted Talk somewhere on social media. But have you ever taken the time to watch one for yourself? These talks can provide motivation and inspiration, and they can help remind us that we are not alone in our struggles.
In addition, Ted Talks can help us to see the world in a new light and to understand that we all have the potential to make a difference. While watching inspiring Ted Talks may not be a cure for loneliness, it can certainly help us to feel more connected and motivated.
28| Plan A Trip
Instead of wallowing in your misery, try getting out there and exploring the world. Plan a trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or even just take a day trip to a nearby town or city.
And if you have moved away from your family simply plan a trip to surprise them. A simple surprise can go a long way to restore joy and resist the feeling of loneliness.
Getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people is a great way to combat loneliness. And even if you don’t meet anyone new on your travels, you’re sure to come back feeling refreshed and invigorated.
So next time you’re feeling lonely, remember that there’s no better cure than a good old-fashioned road trip.
29| Create Something New
One way to overcome loneliness is to create something new. Doing so can help provide a sense of purpose and connection. It can also be a way to express yourself and explore your interests. When choosing what to create, consider something that you are passionate about or that you have always wanted to do.
If you are not sure where to start, try looking online for inspiration or taking a class. Once you have started creating, take the time to share your work with others. This can be done online or in person. Feedback can help you improve your work and feel more connected to others.
30| Visit A Professional
If you have tried other methods and they seem to not work, you may look to visit a professional. A therapist can help you understand and work through the emotions you’re experiencing. They can also provide guidance on how to build meaningful relationships.
If you’re struggling with loneliness, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. A therapist can offer invaluable support and assistance on your journey to overcoming isolation.
When To Get Professional Help
Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but sometimes it can start to feel like too much to handle. If you find yourself struggling to cope with loneliness, it may be time to seek professional help.
Here are a few signs that it’s time to seek out a therapist or counselor:
- You’re feeling lonely all the time, even when you’re around other people.
- You’re struggling to connect with others and feel like you’re always on the outside looking in.
- You’re starting to withdraw from activities and hobbies that you used to enjoy.
- You’re feeling hopeless and helpless like there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- You’re turning to alcohol or drugs to numb your pain.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. A professional can provide support and guidance as you learn how to cope with your loneliness healthily.
Professional Resources For Loneliness Issues
As humans, we can just wake up and have a feeling of being lonely. Sometimes it goes away as our day goes along. Other times it lingers.
We can seek human interaction to fulfill that void but sometimes we need a little bit extra. So here are some resources that can help you shake that feeling of loneliness:
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) works to improve the lives of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI Programs include an abundance of educational opportunities, outreach and advocacy, and support services around the country.
Mentalhealthishealth.us is an excellent website that allows you to pinpoint where loneliness may be coming from. They will also give you tips for overcoming the specific type of loneliness you may be experiencing.
VolunteerMarch.org puts volunteers together with causes they care about in their neighborhoods. If you’re seeking social connection or a sense of purpose, but don’t know how to go about it, this searchable database can help get you started. So if you’re struggling to find volunteering opportunities, be sure to give them a look.
MeetUp.com is an online tool that helps you meet new people that have similar interests and goals. The website allows you to use filters and help you find those who share common interests. They also have different groups that meet regularly in your area. So you can check out various groups before committing to attending. There’s no obligation to stick with a group once you’ve joined.
The ASPCA can help you locate the nearest animal shelter and pets who need a home. Adopting a pet is simply one of the best ways to bust loneliness. You get a furry friend and you will always seem to have your hands full!
The Lonely Hour is a podcast in which people open up about their struggles with loneliness and isolation. Sometimes, all we need is to hear someone overcoming what we are going through today. These stories can lead to extra motivation for you to keep pushing through the tough times. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Mental Health America provides a wealth of information, including online support groups for specific needs. They can also steer you toward groups in your area.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available around the clock to help you when you’re in crisis. Hotline: 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).
Daily Strength connects people with common issues for mutual support.
Boys Town has a 24/7 crisis line for teens and parents, staffed by trained counselors. Hotline: 800-448-3000.
Childhelp offers support for child and adult survivors of abuse. Call the hotline 24/7: 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453).
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a confidential Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator and a 24/7 hotline: 800-662-HELP (800-662-4357)
Although loneliness is a natural emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives, it can become chronic and harmful when it starts to interfere with our daily functioning. Take control of your loneliness before it gets out of hand.
Take the time to make sure you are correctly addressing the symptoms you may be experiencing. Sometimes all it takes is one simple hug from a family member to help you feel lonely. However, if your case is severe, please seek the help you need. But the first step to overcoming loneliness is simple.
But if you are experiencing severe signs or symptoms of loneliness, please seek help from a psychologist or other mental health professional. There are many treatments available that can help you start to feel better.
Feeling lonely isn’t something you have to suffer through alone. We hope this article has provided some useful information about loneliness and how to deal with it. Thanks for reading!