Dealing with loneliness becomes much more easier with these nine crucial steps.
Loneliness is defined as feelings of sadness and emptiness due to a lack of company. Even if we surround ourselves with people throughout the day, we can still experience sensations of loneliness. Coping with loneliness requires confidence, persistence, and a willingness to openly voice our thoughts with others.
Identify the Cause
Was the loneliness triggered by a recent breakup or loss? Do you believe your current relationships lack depth? You will find little success in pushing the emotions aside, forcefully ignoring the feelings of isolation. Identify why the loneliness is occurring in order to help properly address the issue.
Start by reaching out to your existing connections, whether this be friends, family, or a significant other. Expressing your emotions openly can feel uncomfortable at first, but honesty will result in better communication and understanding. A lack of support from friends and family is not always intentional, oftentimes these individuals are simply unaware something is wrong.
Maintain Meaningful Relationships
Meaningful relationships require not only honesty, but commitment. Show your friends that you will be there in times of need. If you have plans with a person, follow through and don’t cancel the night before. Instead of saying “let’s get lunch this week”, always agree on a time, instead of walking away with a vague statement neither person follows through with.
Seek New Opportunities
Striking conversations during social gatherings is a decent method for meeting others, however there’s no need to limit your interactions to a party setting. Brainstorm activities or hobbies that interest you. Join a sports team or meditation group. Take art classes or audition for a theater production. All of these activities will allow you to meet people with common interests. If you can’t think of a hobby that interests you, join a community service group that allows you to volunteer in the company of others.
Utilize the Internet
Technology allows us to access an incredible amount of information with the click of a button. Support groups and chat rooms help you form connections with others regardless to their location. Personal blogs can reveal stories similar to your own, and help provide advice for your own situation. Use these sources to seek inspiration and comfort.
However, Limit Your Social Media Intake
Social media permits us to stay connected with those we cannot regularly interact with, but these various platforms also promote comparison. It’s important to remember that no one is going to post pictures of themselves sitting on their couch, binge watching netflix. Typically, people only post their happiest moments, creating the illusion that they live a life free of insecurities or isolation. Allow yourself to engage with others on social media, but understand when it’s time to shut the laptop and create your own experiences, rather than living through the images of others.
Appreciate the Instances of Solitude
Overcoming loneliness is a combination of strengthening your bonds with others while learning to appreciate the moments of solitude. In the instances you are alone, instead of sitting on the couch watching television, try cooking, drawing, or playing an instrument. Go hiking or explore the areas surrounding your home. Make something of your time alone, rather than counting down the hours until company returns.
Consider Adopting a Pet
If living alone or away from your family causes feelings of loneliness, consider adopting a pet. Research shows that animals can minimize anxiety, maximize happiness, and prevent loneliness. Taking care of a pet can give you a new sense of purpose, as well as a companion to take with during hikes, car rides, or simply to lounge with in the house.
Nothing is going to click immediately. You are going to have bad days, pointless conversations, or- try an activity you don’t enjoy. You can’t expect every singly interaction to end positively. Retreating into your room, insisting all efforts are useless, will not help you fight the loneliness. Giving up is easy. Challenge yourself to engage in one new interaction everyday, and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
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