Feeling lonely doesn’t just happen when you’re alone. In fact, there are many people who like to have time to themselves. Just because you’re around other people doesn’t mean you can’t feel lonely. You can even feel lonely when you’re in a room full of people. When you don’t feel connected to anyone or you feel that no one understands you, you may feel completely alone, even if you are close to family and friends.
Loneliness is a perfectly normal and human experience. But you should certainly not let it go too far as it can be bad for your emotional and physical health. Some studies have shown that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Whether you sometimes feel a little lonely when you’re home alone or you experience a deep sense of loneliness that never goes away, it’s important to deal with loneliness in a healthy way.
Here are some things you can do whenever you feel lonely.
Acknowledge to yourself that you feel lonely
Don’t waste your energy fighting your feelings or trying to suppress your feelings. Everyone feels lonely sometimes.
Just because you feel lonely doesn’t mean you’re a loser, nor does it mean you’re a weak person.
It just means that you are human.
Develop a plan
Sometimes you have to solve a problem. Other times, you have to solve how you feel about the problem. Consider whether the best way to deal with your feelings of loneliness is to solve the problem (by getting in touch with someone) or solve how you feel about that problem (dealing with your feelings). If you are feeling lonely on a Friday night and have friends or family members you can call, you may decide that the best way to deal with the problem is to reach out to someone. You may find that talking to someone on the phone helps.
Or you could invite someone to your home so you can spend time together. If you reach out to people and no one responds, you may feel lonely. But then you know you can tackle the problem from a different angle. Find out how you feel about being alone right now rather than trying to connect with someone. You can choose to engage in a healthy coping strategy that makes you feel better. Drawing, knitting or gardening are just a few examples of solitary activities that can help you cope with your loneliness in a healthy way.
Contact people from your past
Sometimes it’s easier to reconnect with old friends than to make new ones. Maybe you lost touch with your old roommate. Or maybe you have a cousin you don’t talk to much these days. You can just reach out to them and see how things are going. Talk about things you’ve missed with each other and tell them you want to hang out again. You may find it easier to connect with former classmates,
people from your old football team or former co-workers because you already have things in common. Remembering old times can help you connect with each other again and you may find that you can be friends again. Also reach out to people via social media or texting. It’s guaranteed to get you in touch with some people you haven’t seen or heard from in a long time.
Join a group or club
In addition to potentially connecting with people from your past, you can also decide to connect with new people. Look for activities that suit you. From book clubs and gardening clubs to hiking groups, you’re likely to find that there are many ways to connect with people in your area. You can check your local newspaper or look online to see if there’s anything that seems interesting in your area. Attend an event and make it a priority so you can talk to people.
Read a book
Reading a book will help you get into the head of the character or narrator. It helps you understand how others think and that in turn can help you feel less alone. You may want to read a book that you wouldn’t normally.
Whether that means checking out a self-help book from the library or listening to a science-fiction audiobook, books can expand your world and help you feel a little less alone.
Learn something new
Getting excited about something you’re learning, whether it’s a new language or a new skill, can help you feel better. It can also open doors to meeting new people.
Sign up for a cooking class or take up karate. You can also look for online courses where you can learn new things. The possibilities are endless here.
Do a good thing
Doing something nice for other people can help you feel better. It can also help you feel more connected to the community you live in.
Whether you get involved in an official cause or decide to do a good deed for your neighbour, there are many things you can do to perform acts of kindness.
If you’re struggling to find something you can do, you can always contact local charities, hospitals, nursing homes or animal shelters to see how you can volunteer or offer help in other ways.