Whether you are with a group of people or if you are alone, loneliness can sneak up at any moment. As this can be a piercing feeling, which can lead to thoughts of hopelessness, isolation or depression, it’s important to find ways to overcome loneliness. Here are some tips that can help you when loneliness strikes.
1. Identify the source
When you feel lonely what are your thoughts? One of the best things I have done is to write down my thoughts when loneliness strikes. Following this, I will go back and read over what I’ve written. Sometimes just the act of writing can be therapeutic because it gives you an outlet for your emotions. Further, by getting your thoughts on paper you isolate them, which can help you find the root cause of the problem. For example, say you write down that no one likes spending time with you because you are boring or shy. When you look at the second part of that note you notice a negative opinion of yourself. This lack of self-confidence may be preventing you from spending time with others thus bringing on those feelings of loneliness.
2. Find a friend
It’s natural to want to isolate yourself when you feel lonely. However, by doing so, it will only amplify your lonely feelings. Instead, find a trusted friend or relative that you can go to when you feel this way. When you meet with them, talk to them about your feelings. Just by doing this they may be able to shed some light on your feelings and comfort you.
3. Help others
I have often found that if I stop focusing on being lonely and help others instead, it actually makes me feel better. The truth is sometimes we just need to do something constructive to take our minds off what we are going through. Therefore, if you find you are lonely often, look for volunteer opportunities to participate in. When you participate, you’ll feel fulfilled because you are making a difference in the lives of others, you do something constructive to combat lonely thoughts and you meet others in your community.
4. Find other lonely people
The truth is there are many lonely people like us out there that would love someone to talk to but they don’t know where to go. There are several ways to find others to connect to. First, you can find others that share the same interests. In most cities, you can use a website like Meetup to find social groups. Then, when you go to these meetings it can be easier to talk to others because you have something in common. Meanwhile, you can also join a support group. A simple search on Google can help you spot any groups in your area. There are also online groups that offer support, which can be a great way to make friends online. With that in mind, while it’s easier to talk to new friends online, it’s more effective to have an in person connection.
5. Make it a habit to spend time with others
Granted, this won’t be easy for you to do. Loneliness has a way of sapping our happiness and our strength. When this occurs, the last thing you want to do is to go anywhere. However, if you want to snap these emotional chains, that’s precisely what you will have to do. When friends invite you out make it a habit to say yes to them. If you don’t have friends that invite you out on a regular basis find a group to join or volunteer your time. The goal here is to find something to do where you can be around other people.
6. Make connections
As part of step five, when you are around other people you should make the effort to get to know them. The truth is you can be around a large group of people and still feel isolated. How you change that is by expressing an interest in others by initiating conversation, following up with them if the conversation goes well and inviting them out to spend additional time with you. Most people want to feel close to others but are afraid to take those steps. When you take those steps, no matter how hard they might be, you are showing an effort in connecting with them, which could lead to a meaningful friendship.
7. Find healthy outlets for your emotions
Since loneliness can bring to the surface strong emotions, it’s important to find a healthy outlet for them. One thing that works well for me is exercise. Even an activity like a brisk walk, a short yoga workout or playing a pickup game of basketball can make you feel much better.
Ultimately, by following these seven tips, it can help you develop the behaviors and mindset to overcome loneliness.