Dealing with Loneliness

Loneliness is universally a human emotion, yet dealing with loneliness is both unique and complex to each individual. Although many definitions of loneliness describe it as a state of being alone or solitude, loneliness is actually a mental state of mind. Loneliness doesn’t have a single common cause, so the treatments for this damaging state of mind vary dramatically, and according to experts, loneliness is not always about being alone. Instead, it is the perception of being isolated and alone that matters the most.

What Causes Loneliness?

Some medical experts suggest that loneliness may be strongly connected to genetics. Other factors that contribute to loneliness include conditional variables, such as moving to a new location, divorce and physical isolation. The death of a significant person in someone's life, a psychological disorder such as depression, or internal factors such as low self-esteemcan all lead to feelings of loneliness. Those who lack confidence in themselves sometimes think they are not worthy of the attention of other people. This can ultimately lead to chronic loneliness and isolation.

10 Ways of Dealing with Loneliness

1. Explore Your Faith

People who have religious or spiritual beliefs tend to do better. Faith communities will provide many positive opportunities for social encounters, and you do not have to have a best friend in a faith based community to benefit from feeling that you belong to the group. Most importantly, faith often helps people accept some of the things in life they cannot control.

2. Have Realistic Standards

Have realistic standards and know that you can have a good time with lots of different people, and that it’s normal if they aren’t becoming lifelong friends. Also, make sure you’re not making it unrealistically difficult to connect with people, such as relying on another person too quickly, or expecting more from a new friendship too early.

3. Think Beyond Yourself

Remember, it’s not all about you, depression may make you feel very self-focused, try thinking beyond yourself.Self-care is important, but having the ability to think about another's needs is also integral for conscious personal development. Don’t be so consumed with your own loneliness that you neglect to connect with those around you.

4. Reach Out to a Lonely Person

Even though you’re feeling lonely now, or you just know how loneliness feels, you can get an emotional boost from reaching out to another person in need. Lonely people may often become even more isolated because they might view loneliness as contagious. Many people believe there is a great personal reward for those who reach out to other people who suffering, and in doing so, you can help yourself as well.

5. Watch a Movie or Read Fiction

It doesn’t matter that you take in a movie alone or with some friends. What is important is that you immerse yourself in an interesting story that’ll remove the thoughts of gloom and doom that loneliness brings. Not into a good movie? Then grab a good book and read. Again, the important thing is to take your mind off the feelings of loneliness.

6. Volunteer

There are lots of evidence that volunteering benefits the volunteer, as well as the person being helped. By focusing on the needs of others, your mind will steer away from thoughts of loneliness. It’s impossible to feel anything but gratitude when you’re feeding the homeless, reading to kids at an elementary school, or visiting the elderly.

7. Adopt a Cute Pet

One of the most challenging aspects of loneliness is isolation and loss of social interaction. Studies indicate that owning a pet can help compensate for the absence of human companionship and diminish the feelings of loneliness, especially for women living alone. A furry cat or dog will do wonders to cheer you up. Even a goldfish or pretty canary can do wonders for your mood.

8. Go for a Quick Run

Doing 15 minutes or more of running a day for three to five days per week can significantly improve feelings of loneliness. Even 30 minutes of walking can lift your mood instantly. Lifestyle changes may not cure loneliness, but they can help when dealing with loneliness. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which can improve your mood and reduce your perception of loneliness.

9. Look Through Old Photos

Pull out the old photos and reminisce the good old days with a friend, or a relative. Remembering your long lost yesterdays, and most embarrassing moments caught on film will fill you with nostalgia and long forgotten memories that will make you forget all about being lonely.

10. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Other Types of Therapy

Research shows the lonelier people are, the more depressed they feel, and it also shows that people dealing with loneliness tend to feel lonelier than others when they are with other people. As a result, sometimes just going out and meeting other people isn’t good enough for them. When this is the case, it may be a benefit to seek psychotherapy for help, especially if loneliness is accompanied with depression. Some cognitive behavioural therapies may be able to change the way you think and act, in order to help you experience less loneliness, and do more with your life to prevent chronic loneliness.

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