Tips to Help Stop Loneliness From Getting the Best of You
Loneliness is a common human experience. Psychology Today estimates that more than 40 percent of people battle loneliness at some point in their lives. Loneliness is an emotional response to a feeling of disconnect from the people in your life. You can be surrounded by people and still suffer from loneliness, because you don’t feel connected to any of them in a meaningful way. Since loneliness is caused by a lack of connection, the best way to cope with it is to seek out new connections and make an effort to strengthen existing ones.
Volunteer Your Time
Making other people feel good can help you feel better too. Find a local cause that you believe in and learn how to get involved. Putting your energy into a good cause can help connect you with like-minded people and give you a much-needed emotional boost in the process.
Expand Your Social Circle
Having a lot of friends is not as important as having the right friends. If you don’t feel connected to the people who are in your life right now, try expanding your social circle to make new connections with people with whom you have more in common. Take up a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try and sign up for a cooking or dance class. Do something that interests you and that provides an opportunity to be around and meet new people who may share those interests.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
Don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted friends and family members when you are feeling lonely. Call someone you care about and tell her how you are feeling, or ask her how she's doing. Invite your friend to catch up over dinner or host a game night to have some fun with people you enjoy spending time with. As you strengthen the connections with the people in your life through conversation and interaction, your loneliness should start to subside.
Get Some Exercise
Go outside for a run or take a walk. A study conducted at the American College of Sports Medicine found that just 30 minutes of walking or running reduces negative feelings and improves mood even in people who are severely depressed. Exercise will help you not only feel better, but become healthier, so it’s a win-win.
Get Some Pet Therapy
A pet can help you ease loneliness. Animals, particularly dogs and cats, help combat loneliness by offering meaningful companionship. If you are unable to have your own pet for any reason, volunteer at an animal shelter or local rescue.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, loneliness stems from depression or as a symptom of a more serious underlying mental health issue. If your loneliness is chronic and efforts to handle it on your own do not seem to work, talk to a therapist or other mental health professional who can help you.
Loneliness in Kids
Kids can sometimes feel socially isolated and experience loneliness too. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from loneliness, you can help by encouraging him to try activities that will boost his confidence. Instead of trying to force your child to be more social, simply increase opportunities for his social interactions to improve naturally by letting him choose a new hobby or sport to try out.
- Dealing with Depression and Loneliness
- How to Deal with Loneliness in Today's World: Your Options for Support
- How to Deal with Your Loneliness When it Feels Like No One's There
- How to deal with loneliness
- 25 Creative and Surprising Things to do When You Feel Lonely
- 10 Surprising Facts About Loneliness
- How Loneliness Can Impact Kids with Learning and Attention Issues
Kristina Barroso earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University. She is happily married, works full-time as a public school teacher and enjoys mothering her 5-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson. She has also fostered several children and loves writing about parenting, families, education and relationships on WorkingMother.com and TheClassroom.com.