Loneliness is a state of feeling socially disconnected or isolated. It can be triggered by events such as moving to a new place or starting at a new school. Most people have felt lonely at some time in their lives, especially when certain changes in one’s social environment, such as the death of a loved one, children leaving home, retirement, or physical distance from others due to travel or work. This is completely normal and should pass after a certain period of time with adaptation.
Problems can arise when people get stuck in loneliness and don’t take action to improve friendships or relationships. is not necessarily a negative feeling, but it can make people feel bad about themselves if they are unable to reach out and connect with others socially. This can lead to more severe things such as depression and anxiety if not addressed.
The effects of loneliness can be huge on our emotional, mental, and physical well-being, so taking action as soon as possible is necessary. The good news is that there are many ways you can do this, here are a few to get you started:
- Go for a walk in a public place and chat with others doing the same. Spending time in nature is an automatic way to boost your mood and help alleviate the feelings of loneliness.
- Visit a local cafe and strike up a conversation with someone else sitting alone or even the staff.
- Join a group that interests you or an organisation that has events you like.
- Volunteer for a charity shop, this gives you the opportunity to be around people while doing something good for the community.
- Offer to walk a neighbour’s dog, this way you not only get to chat with your neighbour but quite possibly other dog walkers. Additionally, pets provide unconditional love, which can be a great help for loneliness.
- Be kind to yourself. Negative self-talk is not helpful. Blaming yourself when you feel lonely will just make matters worse. Give yourself a break and practice some self-care.
- Take advantage of the internet. This doesn’t mean scrolling through social media, instead, choose something that includes active participation such as; video calling a friend or family member or playing games with others.
- Worrying about how you feel will not change things but taking action will. When you start to have negative thoughts, change what you are doing. Make some plans or goals for the coming few days on how you can change the situation you are in.
- Look for triggers and ask yourself what situations make you feel lonely? Write a list noting all these down on paper. Next, consider the experiences that make you feel connected or give you a sense of well-being and do the same. Compare the two lists then look for ways to reduce the triggers and increase the more positive moments.
- Strengthen the existing relationships you already have. Why not call on friends or family that you haven’t been in touch with for a while? Reach out to those who care, sharing how you feel isn’t a sign of weakness, it is in fact an act of strength.
And remember: right now at this moment in time, you are anything but alone. There are many people out there from all walks of life, of all ages, feeling the same as you. The great news is that you are in control. Take steps immediately to change things for the better.
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