Loneliness is feeling sad about being socially disconnected and isolated from people. When you’re going through something very difficult and you wish you had someone to talk to but don’t, you can feel emotionally lonely.
Most people feel sad, lonely or even depressed from time to time because of life’s challenges and pain from loss and disappointments. But when loneliness becomes overwhelming and lasts for a long period of time, it can take a toll on your physical and emotional health.
If you or someone you know is feeling lonely, here are ten tips that might help.
1. Be Kind to Yourself
If there ever was a time for you to be kind to yourself and practice self-care, it’s during life’s difficult moments. Give yourself the gift of grace and compassion during challenging times. Acknowledge the positive progress you’re making no matter how small.
2. Share Your Life (but without being needy…)
Are you on social media? Or part of a group or faith community? When something nice, good or positive happens share it with them. Or tell a friend. Connect. Share what you’re up to – share your goals, projects or a new hobby. People care. And most will share a word of support and encouragement and celebrate your wins. But you have to take the lead.
3. Connect In Person
Nothing beats face-to-face social connection. Meeting for coffee or a quick lunch can keep feelings of loneliness in check. And you’ll see and know that you are not alone.
4. Be Available
If you’re the type of person who’s always busy and says “no” when people invite you to do things, they’ll stop inviting you. Make time to see your friends.
5. Animal Companionship
Animal companionship is a great way to relieve loneliness because pets are always glad to see you and are a source of unconditional love. Consider getting a pet if you have the time, ability and resources. If not, perhaps someone you know has a pet you can enjoy occasionally. Animals just have a way of making us feel happy.
6. Be Brave and Say “Hi”
It isn’t easy saying “hi” to someone you don’t know. But interacting with people you don’t know can ease feelings of loneliness. Be friendly. Smile. Open a door. Give a compliment. Even minimal social interactions are good for your mental health and can ease loneliness.
7. Interact Online
There are thousands of groups online. Find one that mirrors your beliefs, lifestyle, and interests. Participate. Start conversations. Learn about in-person events. Network, and be a part of the community.
8. Podcasts and YouTube
Listening to and watching information on a topic of interest can take your mind off your pain and loneliness, especially if the content is geared towards helping you cope and grow with what you’re going through. You’ll be mentally and emotionally stimulated and feel less lonely.
9. Help Someone – Make a Difference
Few things combat feelings of loneliness than volunteering. Focusing on others is a healthy way to stop focusing on your situation. Making a difference is a great way to feel good about your life and feel less lonely. Plus you’ll make friends and great connections in the process.
10. Shift Your Thoughts
Feeling lonely is tough. It hurts. It’s a horrible feeling. But thinking about it only makes it worse. When you catch yourself thinking about loneliness, remember: being lonely doesn’t mean that people don’t like you or that you don’t have what it takes to be a friend. It won’t be easy but shift your thinking away from the pain to a solution: “I am going to interact with people…I am going to connect socially and be less lonely.” Be positive. Take productive action. You don’t worry or think yourself out of loneliness. You get out of loneliness by taking action.
So, reach out and connect to people you know and don’t know. Be a friend and be friendly. Take a genuine interest in others and make a difference. You can and will beat loneliness. You are NOT alone. You are amazing and always loved.
Photo by Tijs van Leur on Unsplash