While everyone can feel alone and misunderstood from time to time, when it becomes overwhelming and ongoing over an extended period, that lonely feeling can take over a person’s life and daily thoughts.
The condition of loneliness can be a multi-faceted and complex issue. It is defined as feeling disconnected, experiencing social awkwardness, and having bouts of prolonged solitude. While feeling lonely does not fall under the mental health issue spectrum, those who experience it often deal with depression and anxiety. They also tend to have negative and insecure thoughts when it comes to relationships and friendships. Self-confidence and low self-esteem prohibit these people from venturing out to find new people to connect with or nurture existing relationships. Individuals who do have bouts of loneliness tend to also hold a negative connotation when it comes to finding social connections, establishing friendships or companionships.
Still, there is hope for those who struggle with that lonely feeling and much can be done to conquer it.
10. Just A Feeling
Feeling lonely has occurred to all of us in one point or another in our lives. It is sometimes triggered by a memory of the past or during something that happened as a child.
When a person realizes that this feeling of loneliness is, in fact, just a feeling and not necessarily reality, then they are one step closer to helping overcome this overwhelming feeling. It’s important to remember, feeling lonely and being alone are two very different things
9. Turn Negatives into Positives
Once an individual can catch those feelings of loneliness, the next step is replacing their negative inner critic with positive and self-affirming messages. Instead of thinking, “I’m too ugly for anyone to want to date me,” one can change those thoughts to, “I am perfect and loveable, the way I am.” Replace, “No one will ever get me,” to, “I’m looking to welcome friendship and love in my life.” The more one replaces the positive thoughts with the negative, the more the feelings of loneliness will subside.
8. Take Chances
Those that battle loneliness sometimes needs to extend themselves outside of their comfort zone. That is easier said than done, but chances need to be taken in life for change. That means lonely individuals must fight the overarching urge to remain isolated from people around them. Taking chances and putting yourself out there now and again will help shake off that lonely feeling.
7. Make New Connections
The best way to battle loneliness is to move forward and try to forge new friendships and relationships. Volunteering is one great way to meet new people, as well as joining a group or organization linked to a loved hobby (knitting club, extracurricular sporting activity, being part of an online community, or taking a pottery class). These are all great ways to reach out and try to make new and positive connections.
6. Reach Out to Others
Whether it be an old friend or potentially new one, those who are feeling lonely need to try and reach out. Understand that being proactive and inviting people into your life to do things (whether that be for a lunch, special event, or just a coffee) is possible, when you put yourself out there.
5. Don’t Give Up After A Stumble
There may be times when an individual takes that risk and puts themselves out there, only to stumble. Perhaps a new friend has canceled a coffee date, or for one reason or another, is too busy to connect. Those who suffer from loneliness need dust themselves off whenever they stumble a bit. Simply dust yourself off, move on from the setback, and try another route.
4. Enjoy Your Solitude
As mentioned above, the feeling of loneliness is just that, a feeling. Those who suffer from the condition are not necessarily “alone” in this world and sometimes it’s good to be able to enjoy time by yourself.
Read a book, go on a walk, take yourself to the movies; reflect on the positives in your life and the peace and tranquility that comes with doing things on your own. It’s a great time to connect with your inner self and look forward to what’s to come in your life.
3. Social Media
While social media can be an alternative way to connect with people, it can often enhance a feeling of loneliness and isolation for individuals who struggle with these thoughts. Sometimes, it can also feel like you are not part of an online party that everyone is celebrating.
It’s important to remember that while many paint a fun life on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the reality is online social media users aren’t as content as they all have their “followers” to believe. Those who suffer from loneliness should refrain from comparing their lives to those “friends” on social media.
It may even be a good idea to take a break from those sites for a while to truly connect with others in real-time.
2. Live A Healthy Lifestyle
Living an active and healthy lifestyle can help when it comes to not only your physical well-being, but your mental health and spirituality. Eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way when it comes to feeling good.
Sometimes individuals do get bombarded with negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy when they fall into a slump. It’s important for those who do suffer from loneliness to review their lifestyle. Are you eating healthy? Finding time within your day to partake in some sort of exercise, whether that be walking, yoga, hiking, swimming, or taking in a round of golf?
Finally, it’s recommended that adults get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Failing to do so can be a key factor in the way you feel.
Sometimes, people tend to shy away from seeking that next level of help due to some negative stigma around therapy and counseling. Truth is, therapy is an excellent and proactive way to assist when it comes to overcoming loneliness — especially for those who have exacerbated all other venues.
A therapist can offer a third-party point of view, be a person outside of your circle to really talk to, and can provide solid advice when it comes to helping you overcome your loneliness feeling. They can also help offer positive treatment strategies to get over this hurdle and help you develop ways to cope with feeling lonely should it arise in the future.