Feeling lonely is a part of life, but it can be hard to cope with the feelings and emotions associated with loneliness. It’s especially difficult if you don’t know how to deal with it.
Loneliness is an emotion we all experience at some point in our lives, but it can become overwhelming when we don’t know how to deal with it or where to turn for help. We may feel like no one understands us or that there is no hope of change.
But these feelings are valid and normal and it’s important to create coping strategies to combat them, so you don’t feel overwhelmed or helpless. In this article, we will explore some steps for how you can manage loneliness more effectively by improving communication skills and developing healthy habits.
Key Takeaways about Loneliness:
- Loneliness is an emotion everyone experiences and can be caused by a variety of life changes.
- Lack of connection with others can cause us to feel isolated, unwanted, and alone, and can negatively affect physical and mental health.
- Coping strategies for loneliness include talking about how you’re feeling with family, friends, or a therapist, finding activities that make you feel good such as hobbies or exercise, and learning to love yourself.
Learning To Love Yourself: Coping With Loneliness
Learning to love yourself is an important part of coping with loneliness. It can be difficult to feel connected to others when you don’t even feel connected to yourself. Taking the time to nurture your own self-love and self-care can help you build a strong foundation for healthy relationships with others.
What is loneliness?
Loneliness is a feeling of isolation and disconnection from the world around us. It can be caused by a variety of life changes, such as moving to a new city or the end of a relationship. Social media can also make us feel isolated, especially if we are being bullied or feel disconnected from the ‘perfect lives’ we see. Even with lots of friends and followers, it can still be hard to find someone who understands our experiences and provides support.
Loneliness is more than just being alone; it is the difference between desired and actual social connections. It can be experienced even when not alone, such as when surrounded by people who don’t understand or connect with you. This feeling often involves feeling misunderstood, left out, unheard, unwanted, unseen, unloved, or empty. While loneliness can be difficult to cope with at times, it is important to remember that everyone experiences loneliness in different ways and for different reasons. Finding ways to connect with others in meaningful ways can help alleviate loneliness.
When you might feel lonely
Loneliness can be a difficult emotion to cope with, and it can start to affect our mental health. It can cause us to feel sad, or depressed, or give us feelings of low self-esteem. People may feel lonely when they start a new school, university, or place of work and are finding it hard to make friends, experience the bereavement or loss of someone close to them, go through something that their peers haven’t or are unable to relate to, feel very different from their peers or people around them, aren’t able to do the things they see others doing, or are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. Life changes such as moving, retiring, or losing a loved one can also cause loneliness. Breakups and unsatisfying relationships can lead to feelings of loneliness too.
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to help cope with loneliness and improve mental health. Talking about how you’re feeling with family members and friends is important for helping you process your emotions and connecting with people who can understand and support you. It’s also important to find activities that make you feel good, such as hobbies or sports. Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and help you connect with others in a positive way.
Coping with Loneliness
Loneliness is an emotion that can affect anyone, regardless of age or background. It occurs when our current close relationships don’t meet our needs and can leave us feeling isolated, unwanted, and alone. Recent studies have shown that loneliness can have a negative impact on physical and mental health, including impairing the immune system, damaging sleep quality, and increasing the risk of heart disease. Surveys targeting adults and young people indicate that a significant percentage of respondents experience loneliness.
Fortunately, there are tools and strategies available to help cope with loneliness. Taking proactive steps to address loneliness can help prevent it from taking hold in the first place. This could include reaching out to friends or family members for support, joining a club or organization related to your interests, or even just taking some time for yourself each day to relax and reflect on your feelings.
How to Deal with Loneliness: 9 Ways to Stop Feeling Lonely
Loneliness is a common feeling experienced by many adults in the United States. It can have a negative impact on both emotional and physical health, leading to depression and other mental health issues as well as physical pain. To combat loneliness, there are several strategies that can be employed.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings of Loneliness
Feeling lonely can be a difficult and isolating experience. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and seek help from a professional if needed. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) offered by employers are a great resource for those struggling with loneliness. These programs provide confidential counseling services that can help individuals work through their feelings of loneliness and find ways to cope.
It is also important to reach out to friends and family for support, even if it feels uncomfortable or embarrassing. Expressing loneliness is the first step to releasing it, but unfortunately in the U.S., there is still a stigma around loneliness which encourages people to deny their feelings instead of seeking help. It’s important to remember that everyone experiences loneliness at some point in their lives and that it’s ok to ask for help when needed.
2. Know When to Engage or Disengage From the Online World
The online world can be a great place to connect with others and find new opportunities. It can provide non-threatening and convenient ways to interact with people from all over the world, such as multi-player gaming, chat and message sites, and even online dating sites. However, it is important to remember that social media can sometimes portray people living exciting lives with many friends, which can make some people feel inadequate and left out. If being online seemed more isolating than connected, it may be a sign to log off.
A study from the University of Pennsylvania found a causal connection between social media use and feelings of depression and loneliness. Social media can bring people together, but it can also make people feel lonely and experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). If this is the case for you, consider deleting the apps from your phone and taking a break from social media if it is making you feel more distant than connected. Taking time away from the online world can help you reconnect.
3. Find a Volunteer Opportunity as a Way to Feel Less Lonely
Volunteering is a great way to reduce feelings of loneliness and depression. It can provide a sense of purpose, connection, and fulfillment that can be hard to find in everyday life. Volunteering activities such as visiting seniors in a nursing home, reading to kids at school, working in a soup kitchen, or volunteering in an animal shelter can help build social ties with others nearby. Not only will you be helping out your community, but you’ll also be making friends and forging relationships with people who share similar interests.
The Mental Health Foundation and Leaders Unlocked have partnered to create the #UnlockLoneliness campaign which provides tips and advice on how to manage feelings of loneliness. This campaign encourages people to reach out for help if they are feeling isolated or alone. It also provides resources for those looking for volunteer opportunities in their local area as a way to connect with others and make new friends. So if you’re feeling lonely or isolated, consider volunteering as a way to reduce those feelings.
4. Join a Group or Club
Joining a group or club is an effective way to overcome loneliness with in-person connections. With the help of online platforms such as Meetup, it’s easy to find or create groups based on interests. These groups meet locally and cover a range of topics, from food and travel to lifestyle and entertainment. Social connections are essential for survival and well-being, so it’s important to make an effort to stay connected with others.
Loneliness and social isolation can have serious health consequences. Studies have shown that adults who are lonely or socially isolated are less healthy, have longer hospital stays, are readmitted to the hospital more often, and are more likely to die earlier than those with meaningful and supportive social connections. Joining a group or club is one way to combat loneliness by creating meaningful relationships with people who share similar interests. It can also provide support during difficult times, which can be invaluable for mental health.
5. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is an important part of managing loneliness. Exercise and sunshine can trigger endorphins and serotonin, which can help elevate mood. Eating a healthy diet of whole foods can have positive impacts on physical and emotional health. Practicing better sleep habits such as limiting sugar and caffeine before bed, turning off digital devices for relaxation time, and making sure the bedroom is quiet and dark can help fight feelings of loneliness. Joining a workout class or running club can provide both exercise and social interaction.
It’s important to acknowledge how you feel when feeling lonely. Acknowledging your emotions is key to overcoming loneliness. Finding the best strategy for you is important in managing loneliness. Self-care activities such as eating nutritious food, exercising, getting enough sleep, meditating, or journaling are all great ways to practice self-care when feeling lonely. Taking time out for yourself to do something that brings you joy or peace can be beneficial in helping manage feelings of loneliness.
6. Strengthen Existing Relationships
Strengthening existing relationships is an important part of maintaining good mental health. It can be beneficial to reach out to one supportive friend or family member and start slowly. This can help to build a strong foundation for further connections and deepen bonds with friends and family. Finding ways to enjoy existing relationships, such as going for walks together, playing games, or having meaningful conversations, can help to create a sense of closeness and connection.
It is important to remember that loneliness and social isolation can have a negative impact on physical and mental health. Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher risks for health problems such as heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline. Adults who are lonely or socially isolated are less healthy, have longer hospital stays, are readmitted to the hospital more often, and are more likely to die earlier than those with meaningful and supportive social connections. Therefore it is essential that we take steps to strengthen our existing relationships in order to maintain good physical and mental health.
7. Adopt a Pet
Adopting a pet can be a great way to fight loneliness and provide companionship. Pets offer unconditional love, which can be beneficial for those feeling lonely. Walking a dog can also connect you with other people in the community. Having a pet can help protect children from feelings of loneliness and social isolation during the pandemic. Encouraging your child to connect with others, share their feelings, and find daily purpose can help them cope with loneliness due to the pandemic.
It is important to remember that a healthy weight is connected to health during childhood. Pectus excavatum is a chest indentation that can be diagnosed by a pediatrician and it is important to keep an eye on your child’s weight. The retina is a thin layer of tissues, cells, and nerves that line the back wall inside the eye and it is important to take care of your child’s eyesight as well.
8. Talk to Strangers
Striking up conversations with strangers and acquaintances can be a great way to boost our social and emotional well-being. It’s easy to get stuck in our own little bubble, but talking to people outside of our usual circle can open us up to new experiences and perspectives. Put away the smartphone when out and about to create more opportunities for social interaction. Research suggests that technology can get in the way of social opportunities, so it’s important to take a break from screens every now and then.
Marc Austin, 41, had a heart attack in 2010 that left him with heart failure and a pacemaker. He joined a BHF fundraising group in Crawley as a way of combating his feelings of loneliness and low self-confidence. Through volunteering, Marc is raising awareness of heart attack symptoms while also finding a supportive community. Hilary is another example of someone who has found hope through talking to strangers.
9. Keep Busy
When feeling lonely, it is important to keep busy and distract yourself from the feeling. One way to do this is by investing in yourself and your interests. Take up a hobby or start a home improvement project that will help you stay focused on something other than loneliness. Keeping your mind occupied and busy can be beneficial for both mental and physical health.
Another way to stay connected while keeping busy is to set up calls or video chats with extended family members or friends. This allows your child to stay in touch with those they care about, even if they can’t physically be together. You could also ask a relative to read a story over the phone or on a video chat, which can be an enjoyable activity for both parties involved. Finally, why not invite family members or friends to join you in a virtual video chat party? This can be an entertaining way to spend time together while staying safe at home.
Press Play for Advice on Loneliness
Feeling lonely can be a difficult and isolating experience. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help those struggling with loneliness. The Verywell Mind Podcast has an episode dedicated to advise on loneliness, hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW. It is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
For more direct support, Childline provides free 1-2-1 counselor chat, email support, and a BSL interpreter for those who are deaf or hearing-impaired. The Mix also offers online information, a 1-2-1 web chat service, and a telephone helpline for those under 25s. Both organizations provide confidential support 24/7 and can help with any problem big or small. Email support is also available 24/7 through the Samaritans who provide a listening service but do not offer advice or intervention. Whatever you’re going through, you can contact the Samaritans for support.
If Needed, Find Support Online
Finding support online can be a great way to connect with people who share similar interests and experiences. Joining Facebook or Meetup groups focused on your passions is an easy way to find like-minded individuals who are passionate about the same things as you. You can also check to see if any apps you use, such as fitness or workout apps, have a social element or discussion board that you can join. This is a great way to get advice from others who may have already gone through what you’re going through and can offer valuable insight.
It’s important to be careful when meeting people over the internet, however, as it can increase feelings of loneliness if not done properly. Be sure to take safety precautions when connecting with strangers online and always remember that not everyone has good intentions. It’s also important to keep in mind that while online support is helpful, it should never replace professional help if needed.
Final Thoughts From The Author
Finally, it is important to remember that loneliness is a normal emotion and can be experienced by anyone at any time. It is important to take the time to recognize and acknowledge your feelings of loneliness and to find healthy ways to cope with them. Whether it’s through talking with friends or family, engaging in activities you enjoy, or seeking professional help if needed, there are many ways to manage loneliness.