If not all of us, then most of us have felt lonely at one point or the other. The thing with loneliness is that it doesn’t just happen when you’re on your own. You could be surrounded by your loved ones and still be lonely. You could be among your closest friends and feel lonelier than ever. The presence of people doesn’t necessarily mean that a person isn’t lonely.
The irony of the world we are living in today is that as much as we are connected more than ever before, we still feel lonely. Many of us have the ability to maintain relationships online, and yet there’s a constant feeling of being alone at the back of our minds.
Many definitions describe loneliness as the state of being alone, but there’s more to it. Loneliness is a feeling and a state of mind. In fact, Very Well Mind defines it as feeling empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people.
Loneliness is caused by situational variables, such as physical isolation, moving to a new location, and divorce. The death of someone significant in a person’s life can also lead to feelings of loneliness. Additionally, it can be a symptom of a psychological disorder such as depression.
Here is how you can cope with loneliness.
- Join a class
If you are feeling lonely, then one of the ways that you can deal with it is by taking up a course or class. This will help you to interact with people who you share interests with, and generate lasting connections. It can also provide a sense of belonging that comes with being part of a group. It will give you something to look forward to and by virtue of interacting with these people and learning together, you will keep your mind off your loneliness and feel much better.
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- Get a pet
Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person, animals have a lot to teach us. In fact, they may just reduce instances of loneliness. It’s no wonder so many people nowadays consider it important to keep a pet at home. Pets, especially dogs and cats, can ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Pets provide valuable companionship for older adults.
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- Strengthen your existing relationships
Have you ever felt physically connected to a person or a group of people, but emotionally disconnected? This could be a cause of loneliness. It explains why some people seem to have a great social life but still feel lonely. The best way to reconnect with people emotionally is to find mutual activities that you can do together. In doing so you will rediscover your love for each other, and this feeling will take away that of being lonely.
If possible, challenge yourself to get out and socialise at least once a week. Plan at least one regular weekly social activity, and organise your time so that you don’t forget it. If not, you can always connect with these people virtually through video calls.
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- Monitor your thoughts
Pay attention to what you are constantly thinking about because thoughts become things. It’s the law of attraction. If you are constantly wallowing in self-pity about how you’re feeling lonely then you will only make it worse.
Psych Central advises that to do this, you should focus on the needs and feelings of others, and give less attention to your lonely thoughts and feelings. Find things to distract you from your negative thoughts of loneliness, and eventually, the thought will become a habit, then the feelings of worthiness will manifest into your reality.
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Sometimes the things that we go through a result of our experiences and traumas which we are unaware about. That’s the importance of therapy because it helps to unpack these traumas and deal with them. Some forms of therapy, especially cognitive behavioural therapy, can help you to change your thoughts as well as your actions to help you not only experience less loneliness but do more in your life to prevent loneliness. A therapist can help you uncover any possible mental health causes of your symptoms. Even though there’s no diagnosis for loneliness, therapy can help you access to support and potentially helpful resources.
I read a tweet recently that said: Nobody cares about your problems. Go journal and pray. While this might not be what you want to hear as you experience loneliness, journaling will help you a lot more than talking to your friends and family about your problems. Why? As much as they may care about you, there’s only so much they can say or do for you to help you.
Writing is a great way to battle loneliness, as it helps you to process your emotions and get a clearer idea of where your head’s at. Writing helps us to operate in the past, present, and future all at once. When you put pen to paper you are operating in the present moment, even while your brain is actively making sense of the recalled past, choosing and shaping words and lines. But the brain also is operating in the future, as it pictures a person reading the very words you are actively writing. You could even write a poem about how you feel. Creative expression improves health by lowering depression and stress while boosting healthy emotions. 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Keeping A Daily Journal