As social species, humans crave closeness. We are wired for connection with others. Nevertheless, everyone does feel lonely from time to time. Feelings of loneliness are personal, so everyone’s experience will be different. It’s important to keep in mind that this is natural, and it happens to everybody, but there are things you can do to make it easier.
What is loneliness?
Before we continue to go through what we can do to make it feel better, it is essential to understand what this feeling of loneliness is. It occurs when we crave social and emotional needs that are not being met. It is when we miss mattering to others. But loneliness is not the same as feeling alone, because you can be alone and not feel lonely. Some people can be alone and live happily without much contact with other people, while others may find that lonely.
Feeling lonely is common, but that doesn’t mean it might not feel overwhelming to you. You’re not alone! According to a recent report by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, 36% of surveyed people report feeling lonely frequently or all the time. However, this is an emotion you can overcome by understanding why you’re feeling that way in the first place.
Why do you feel lonely?
You may feel lonely even when you’re in a relationship or even when you’re surrounded by people, but that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. Trauma, loss, depression, and stress can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. On the other hand, loneliness can also impact your mental health, causing depression, anxiety, low-self esteem, sleep problems, and stress.
How to manage it?
- The first tip we’d suggest is to take it slow and be kind to yourself. You can be your own best friend or you can be your own worst enemy. Your inner critic can feed feelings of loneliness. If you keep thinking of things that make it worse, then you could get stuck in a lonely rut. Recognize your thoughts and see them as your chance to make some changes.
- Try to connect with others. Even if you may think you know a lot of people, the problem is that you don’t feel connected to them or that they don’t offer you the care and attention you require. Talking to your friends and family about how you’re feeling in this scenario could be beneficial. There are undoubtedly people in your life that you already have the potential to get to know better or familial ties that may be strengthened. If so, why not talk to your pals more frequently, get out more, and find other ways to cherish and deepen bonds? If that doesn’t prove helpful, try talking to a therapist or using a peer support program if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your feelings with others you know.
- Try talking therapy. Talking therapies provide you with the chance to examine and comprehend your emotions of loneliness and can support the creation of effective coping mechanisms. For instance, counseling might provide you with a place to talk about the emotional issues that make it difficult for you to build fulfilling relationships.
- Keep yourself busy by taking up a hobby like reading, cooking, knitting, or painting, which helps you lose track of time in a good way. It’s that magical moment where you get lost in doing something you enjoy, which can push you past your loneliness. But even if you think you might not have a hobby, then sign up to learn one! There are lots of courses and online videos out there, plus you’ll meet people with common interests along the way.
- Trying reading more often. Being a part of a book club could be fun if you like to read. Talking about literature with like-minded individuals may be entertaining and psychologically engaging. You may start your own club and meet once a month, rotating who would host it in their home and serving refreshments. If not, you might inquire about book clubs that already exist through your local council or library.
- Exercising will increase your endorphins and make you feel better. Doing it in the presence of good company will help you foster a sense of well-being that could help you overcome feeling lonely. Move your body since it has lots of benefits, one of them being to help you beat the blues of loneliness. Even taking your bike and going for a ride on the greens of a park is a great help. Chopper bikes are great for touring around. You might think they’re uncomfortable with their look but they’re great for touring because of their comfort.
- Spending time with animals or even having a pet can help greatly with feelings of loneliness. Pets can lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, and ease stress. An extra cuddly companion can help a lot. They give you something to consider other than yourself, they offer companionship and love. According to a survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 80% of pet owners say that their pets help reduce their loneliness.
Taking care of yourself should be a priority.
It may be quite difficult to take action to feel better when you’re lonely since loneliness can be extremely stressful and have a significant negative influence on your general wellness. Consider how the following may be influencing your feelings and whether you can take any action to alter them:
Are you getting enough sleep?
What does your diet contain? Is it healthy enough?
Are you spending time being physically active?
Are you spending time outside at all?
If you’ve tried different strategies to feel better and had no success, consider reaching out for professional help. As with anything, balance is key. Feeling lonely is common and even necessary from time to time. If you’re aware of what this emotion is trying to communicate to you, then you’ll be able to identify what you can learn from it. Loneliness doesn’t need to be a constant in your life. Making a few changes can restore the joy, connection, and friendships that are waiting around the next corner.