When you feel lonely, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever feel surrounded by people you love again. But you can and will. It’s true that sometimes we lose people we love for good. And that pain and suffering can be devastating. You might not be able to replace certain people. But there are still millions of people out there who will love us as we are, who will make us laugh, and make us feel like we belong. So for the sake of your mental health, it’s time to invest in overcoming feeling lonely and to combat loneliness for good. After all, our suffering doesn’t need to be permanent. In this article, you’ll learn how to start dealing with loneliness by reading through 12 ways to stop feeling lonely.
What is loneliness?
First, to understand the problem, we need to understand loneliness. Loneliness is an emotional pain caused by a lack of gratifying relationships, or at least the perception of a lack of relationships. This means you don’t need to necessarily be alone to feel lonely. Feelings of loneliness can arise even when you’re surrounded by people. However, physically being alone or separated from loved ones can create these feelings or even exacerbate them.
How to deal with loneliness in 12 ways
1. Get a pet
I’m sure this is one that you have heard or thought of before but it really can help you deal with loneliness, especially if you’re physically alone.
Animals are great for people who are going through a hard time because they offer something that you may be craving: unconditional love and affection.
When you come home every day and are greeted by this little ball of fluff who loves you and wants nothing more than you to spend all of your time playing with them, loving them, cuddling with them, it’s going to make you feel like you have a best friend with you all the time.
Someone that you can go to when you feel like the rest of the world is against you. Getting a pet is a great way to deal with the things that you are going through that help you overcome the fear of being alone.
When you have a pet running around, keeping you busy, and requiring your attention, you’ll never feel alone again. They give you a sense of inner peace knowing that you have someone who cares about whether you are there or not, even if it is just a dog or a cat, it could mean the entire world to you.
2. Practice meditation
Guided meditation is a great way to get us living in the present and make us feel peace of mind. When our minds are filled with social anxiety, feelings of loneliness, or just feel worse, it’s hard to attract good people in our lives. That’s what makes meditation so important in your journey to overcome these experiences of loneliness. If we want to attract the right people into our world, then we need to focus on becoming the best version of ourselves to attract those people.
To feel connected to others, we need to have the coping skills to deal with feelings of loneliness. Meditation is a great practice to do when we feel lonely and there’s no one around. It’ll improve your mental health tremendously. And then, when we practice mindfulness and managing difficult feelings, we can start putting ourselves out there. Our kindness and compassion will shine through, so we can be a better friend to strangers and more loving towards any family member. When we begin to shine, we attract more good people, which will help you overcome your mental health problems and feelings of loneliness.
3. Go to a place with people
If you are feeling down or lonely, go take a bike ride to the park and go sit in the coffee shop down the street that you know is going to be filled with people on Sunday morning.
Go and sit, you don’t have to make an attempt to talk to anyone or anything like that. If you have social anxiety, you don’t need to interact with anyone.
Just go down to the area that you know is going to be crowded, a place that you feel comfortable in. Sometimes, just reconnecting with your fellow human beings, even strangers, is a great way to feel apart of this massive spinning planet.
Plus, you never know who is going to come up to you and start up a conversation. Who knows, you could end up walking in and meeting the person who changes your life forever! Putting yourself out there is part of not feeling so lonely.
Sometimes just the simple act of being around other people, hearing them talk, seeing them walk around, interacting without interacting can be enough to help you feel like you are not as alone as you think you are. Sometimes sitting in the house all day can make you feel like you are the only person in the world. You aren’t and it’s important to remind yourself of that.
So go out there and do small gestures to reconnect with people. Hold the door open for the next person walking behind you. Smile at the next stranger. Give up your seat on the bus or train. Even just small acknowledgements and gestures can completely change how you’re feeling.
4. Volunteer to deal with loneliness
One of the ways to help you from feeling lonely is to find an activity that thrives with people. Volunteering is a great social activity where you not only get to be around others, but you can help others too. If you’re looking to avoid alone time, you can apply for volunteer roles in your neighbourhood, such as at food banks, women’s shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, support group, or any registered charity. Your social circles will expand by helping people in your community.
Be the happy person people need in their lives. You can develop close friends through volunteer work, whether it’s the people you’re helping or the volunteering team. However, know that volunteering can be emotionally exhausting, so don’t forget to invest in your self care. The social interaction will help you when feeling lonely, however, it can be difficult to see people who are struggling depending on the type of volunteer opportunity you sign up for.
5. Be kind to people online
If you’ve ever felt lonely, know you’re not alone. If social anxiety leaves you feeling isolated or anxious about leaving your house, you can turn on your laptop or phone for some human connection. There are countless forums, chat groups, and social networks where you can connect to people.
The internet can be filled with mean-spirited trolls, so if you counter that with your own positivity and kindness, you can build social relationships online while improving your quality of life. People who feel disconnected often try to connect with people online. While the social contact online isn’t necessarily the same as in-person, you can still have a positive influence. If you’re averse to meet people in-person, an online community could be a good fit for you.
6. Self love
When you feel lonely, the key here is to practice self love. It won’t be other people who make us feel complete, we’re not out there looking for our other half. A person can be whole on their own. You need to find love with yourself before looking for it from another person.
7. Join a club to deal with loneliness
If you’re feeling lonely, joining a club in your community can help improve your mental and physical health. You can join a running, public speaking, gaming, sewing, book, or other niche club. You can search for local clubs in search engines or Facebook groups in your area. For example, if you’re looking for a book club, you might reach out to your local library. However, if you’re looking for a running club you might turn to a local organization like Running Room. These clubs can help you gain access to more social situations, allowing you the opportunity to be spending time with new friends.
8. Spend time outdoors
If you experience loneliness often, consider spending more time outdoors. You don’t need to travel far either. Spending some time knitting on your porch, managing the garden in the front yard, or walking your dog in your neighbourhood, can help you become more familiar with your local neighbours. At first you can smile and wave. However, after a few months of doing this you might start chatting up strangers, who’ve become accustomed to seeing you out and about on a regular basis. Feeling like you belong in your community can help with feelings of loneliness.
9. Talk to a therapist to start dealing with loneliness
If you feel like none of these things are going to help you or that you’ve tried everything, you should consider finding a therapist.
It will give you someone to talk to and get things out on the table as to why you might be having such a low point in your life. A professional is often the best person to help you deal with loneliness. They can take your experience, break it down for you, give you a clearer understanding of why and what is happening, and offer a solution.
Also, it’s okay to go seek out professional help, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you or that you’ve failed. Some problems are larger than what we know how to handle on our own and that’s okay, too.
We are all human and all we can do is the best that we can do every day and sometimes, when we feel like giving our all is not enough, we should seek out guidance from someone else. Lost is the person who doesn’t ask for directions.
10. Spend time with family members
When you feel lonely, try spending time with a family member or two. Whether it’s your children, sibling, parents, or even a cousin, find time to be with those you love. If you have a big family, you can take turns calling on people to check in on them to see how everyone is doing. You can also do activities to show loved ones you care, such as writing holiday cards each November or December, sending birthday cards on their special day, showing up for family events or even planning them. During summer months, you could host a barbecue at your home. And in the winter months, you could host holiday celebrations, such as a New Year’s party. Seeing people you care about regularly can be quite good for your mental health.
If you need to boost your self esteem and well being, consider working to build social connections so you can start dealing with loneliness. Whether you’ve lost a spouse or are newly broken up, it’s key to build up your social connections. Spend more time with friends and coworkers, or working in your community to help build people up. The more people you can lift up, the more people will enjoy spending time with you, so you’ll feel less lonely. Plus, being around people is just plain old good for your mental health (but let’s make sure you’re spending time with positive people if you can).
12. Find a new hobby
When someone experiences loneliness, it’s often because they spend too much time in their heads instead of out in the world living life. Hobbies are a great source of fun, plus it’s also good for your mental health. You don’t need to connect with health care providers to know how beneficial it is to have fun doing things you love. Your hobby might be dancing in your living room to salsa YouTube videos, practice sitting mindfully in your dining room while meditating, joining meetup groups for local hikes, going on social media to do random acts of kindness, such as leaving kind messages for people, or getting your group of friends together to exercise at the gym. There’s always a hobby that gets you out of your house and connects you with others.
Even when you’re surrounded by a lot of people that seem to care about you, it’s normal to still feel lonely every once in a while. This is often a symptom of something deeper than you may understand. If the simpler solutions offered above don’t help, again, find someone you can talk to about your feelings. How have you dealt with or managed feelings of loneliness in the past? Any stories you’d like to share about your loneliness?