Whenever I see a person alone or by themselves, I cannot help but feel a pang of sadness. Loneliness affects everyone, and there is a very good chance that you yourself have felt loneliness at one time or another; whether it was after a breakup, in college, or just as a result of being alone. There are plenty of ways that you can go about coping with loneliness. However, usually when we are in the state of loneliness we are too overcome with the feeling itself, depression, or sadness to take any action. So the next time you are feeling lonely, here are some greats things that you can do and ways that can help you overcome it.
How to Deal With Loneliness
In efforts to combat your loneliness, let’s take a look at three steps that you can take to actively engage yourself in activities and out of loneliness.
Step 1: Nurture Yourself
Chances are, if you are feeling lonely you are feeling too depressed or down to take care of yourself.
- Know that you are not alone: Loneliness does not discriminate, and it is important to remember that everyone suffers from loneliness at one time or another. However, there can be certain things going on in your life that are contributing to strong feelings of loneliness, such as: life transitions, exploring new career choices, or going through a breakup with a friend or partner.
- Get involved: A quick way to nurture and take care of yourself if you feel lonely is to simply: do things. Get involved in activities, join a class, join a club, or volunteer where you might be needed. If shyness is something you deal with, then you can even start by connecting with people online. There are plenty of websites that can point you in the right direction of meeting people in your area.
- Enjoy yourself: If you set your expectations too high for meeting people, making friends, or sustaining relationships, it can be easy to get disappointed and fall into feelings of loneliness. Go into activities and events with the mindset that you are going to enjoy yourself no matter what happens.
- Do not wallow: It can be easy to get caught up in your own thoughts when you are lonely because you are, well, alone. Instead of letting your mind get the best of you, immerse yourself in things that will take your mind off from focusing on how alone you feel. For example: read a book, watch a movie, or venture out for a bike ride. Try to do these things in a public area, and you might find people with your similar interests.
- Allow yourself solidarity: While the prospect of loneliness for some can be intimating, it is important to know how to enjoy yourself and have fun alone. There are plenty of activities and hobbies that you can engage in solo that you can enjoy doing. Be your own best friend.
- Get a pet: If you are living by yourself and struggling with feeling lonely because your house seems empty, consider livening it up with a pet. Consider getting something small that will not require too much work, but keep in mind that a dog or a cat will probably provide you with the most companionship.
Step 2: Socialize
One of the hardest parts about being lonely is dealing with feelings of shyness and not wanting to socialize or interact with others. However, one of the simplest ways to combat loneliness is through social interaction.
- Reach out: Give some people you know a call, a message, or a text and let them know that you want to hang out. Just talking to someone over the phone might not be enough, so get out there and do something with someone that you know, even if it is a close family member.
- Be aggressive: If you usually wait for people to come to you, turn that around and take the initiative in your relationships. This includes getting to know strangers in coffee shops or introducing yourself to someone who works in your building.
- Family: If just being social is hard for you, then start with people you already know, such as your family members. Whether it is your mom, brother, or cousin, take the time to spend some time with them. Who knows, they could introduce you to some new people as well.
- Be social online: Again, if you need to take some initial steps in being social, an online community is a good place to start. Just make sure that you play it safe and do not disclose any personal information. Join an online community of people who share similar interests with you, and that are around your area.
Step 3: Appreciate Solitude
There is a difference between loneliness and solitude. Often times people are quick to mix the two. When you are lonely, you feel unhappy about being alone – but you don’t have to. There is nothing wrong with enjoying being alone, as there are plenty of things that you can do by yourself and enjoy your time spent alone.
- Join a gym: When you start taking care of yourself, you begin feeling better about yourself as well. Consider joining a gym. Gyms are usually packed full of people, and there is a good chance you will meet someone there, or simply enjoy your time to yourself in a social space. Not to mention the endorphins will help lift your spirits almost immediately!
- Learn: No matter how old we are, we should always be learning. Make a list of things that you want to learn. This can be anything from learning a new instrument to getting that business degree that you always wanted. Make the time that you have alone productive. This will also help to put you in an environment where there are others who are interested in the same things as you.
Symptoms of Loneliness
Here are some symptoms of loneliness to help you differentiate whether you are feeling bored, depressed, or maybe you are just plain lonely.
- You have trouble sleeping at night.
- You spend a lot of time taking long hot showers for comfort.
- You become attached to new and material items, such as a new computer or a new bicycle. A sign of loneliness is an attachment to inanimate objects.
- You have more “Facebook” friends than real-life friends. It can be easy to slip into social media, but downright submerging yourself in other people’s lives via Facebook is definitely not a healthy way to live. Get off the computer and back into real life.
- You feel anxious often and this causes you to blow little things out or proportion.
- Your health is being affected. For instance, you may be losing or gaining weight. These are coping mechanism for loneliness using food.
- You feel depressed. Loneliness and depression often go hand in hand. People often get depressed when they are lonely because they feel they cannot reach out to others or ask for help.
What Makes You Happy?
There is no reason why you should not feel happy. Take this time to examine your life and the circumstances that you are in to help determine why you might be feeling lonely. Turn your way of thinking around and realize that the loneliness or solitude that you might be feeling is a prime opportunity for you to try something new, meet new people, or make some lifestyle changes. If you are looking for a simple guide to help you find peace, happiness, and tranquility, enroll in this helpful course and join hundreds of other students in finding happiness in four easy steps.