Do you ever feel like you have no one to talk to? Even when you’re surrounded by friends and family?
Loneliness is the craving for human contact, but the inability to satisfy it. It’s a disassociation between what you want in a relationship and what you’re actually experiencing.
But, thankfully, loneliness isn’t a lifelong curse. You can rise above it, and, hopefully, be at peace. Even in solitude.
Here are seven ways to cope with loneliness.
Volunteer for a cause
Have you ever appreciated projects an organization has been doing from afar?
Consider volunteering for them! Volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about ignites a sense of purpose and belonging. Aside from connecting you to like-minded people, you also achieve a sense of purpose and fulfillment by doing something in the service of others. Volunteering can help strip away feelings of inadequacy by connecting you to the greater good.
Make sure you’re not with the wrong crowd
Do you feel like you’re not connected with the people you hang out with?
Sometimes, being around people, even if you see them every day, isn’t enough. If you have nothing in common with them or don’t feel emotionally connected, you may end up feeling even more alone than you would with no company. You may beat yourself up for feeling that way, but it’s important to understand that it’s not you at fault. It’s the situation that you find yourself in that makes you feel that way.
Adopt a pet
We all love our furry friends. They’re cute, cuddly, and adorable. But did you know they help with your mental health as well?
According to Veterinarian Dr. Marta Vieira, playing with dogs and cats can help boost your serotonin and dopamine levels. Even just looking at fish in an aquarium can help loosen tension in your muscles and decrease your pulse rate.
If you’re feeling lonely, having a pet to keep you company can be a good way to feel connected with the world. Plus, walking them around in a park can also help indirectly, like by getting strangers and their own friends to come up to you and say hi.
Explore a new hobby
Do you have a lot of free time?
A new hobby is one way to keep yourself occupied after school or work. Try to remember things you’ve always wanted to do before but never got the chance to. Maybe you can explore your next passion — whether it’s doing music, playing a sport, or hiking trails. New hobbies can also let you meet new people, which can be a start of a blossoming friendship!
Talk a walk outside
Are there any parks near your area?
With a good internet connection and food, it can be easy to stay home all day. But if you hole yourself in your room for too long, you’ll lose sight of the world around you. According to the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, a quiet walk in the park lightens your mood and helps fight against major depressive disorder.
So if you’re debating turning on your computer or social media app when you have nothing to do, consider stepping outside for a bit instead.
Practice talking positively to yourself
Do you constantly beat yourself up for past mistakes?
Having a critical inner dialogue not only worsens your self-esteem, but it’s also often linked to depression. This can lead to a depressive spiral that can negatively affect executive functions like working and studying.
Instead of telling yourself “you’re not good enough”, catch yourself thinking those thoughts and reframe it in a positive light instead. Something like “I may have failed that, but now I know what to do for next time!” is a better thing to say instead.
Seek professional help
Do you feel that you’re so close to your breaking point?
Loneliness is usually a result of other problem areas in your life— some that you may be struggling to pinpoint yourself. There’s no shame in consulting with a professional to help you navigate turbulent emotions.
It can be seriously nerve-wracking at first. You may even feel that it’s pointless.
But, as a lonely person would know, you can’t do everything alone. By seeking professional help, you’ll be able to have someone who can keep you accountable and accompany you through the healing process.
Loneliness is not an easy thing to face. But it can be overcome. There’s a silent audience rooting for you—so go out there, get some help, and give yourself a chance to get the life you deserve.
That’s all for now Psych2Goers!
Mental Health America (nd). Feeling lonely in a crowd. Retrieved at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/feeling-lonely-crowd/
Porter, R. August 13, 2021. 7 Tips For How To Deal With Loneliness | The Steps to Conquer The Thought “How To Deal With Loneliness. Better Help. Retrieved at https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/loneliness/7-tips-for-how-to-deal-with-loneliness/
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. May 14, 2012 “A walk in the park gives mental boost to people with depression.” ScienceDaily, Retrieved at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514134303.htm
Raypole, C. (June 25, 2019) Is Chronic Loneliness Real? Healthline. Retrieved at https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/chronic-loneliness
Lundgren, K. et al. July 2021. The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets. Retrieved at https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm
Scott, E. April 01, 2021.9 Ways to Cope With Loneliness. Healthline Retrieved at https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-loneliness-3144939
Segal, J. et al (October 2020). Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits. Help Guide. Retrieved at https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm
Smith, M. (July 2021) Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs. Help Guide. Retrieved at https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-symptoms-and-warning-signs.htm