Loneliness is an unpleasant emotion that we usually feel due to social isolation or a lack of communication with other people. And, while nearly everyone feels lonely at some point in their lives, prolonged or intense feelings of loneliness can have a negative impact on both our mental and physical health.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pull yourself out of a lonely “slump” without some type of assistance. This help can come from almost anyone... be it a friend, family member or professional. Whatever you do, try not to panic because things may just get worse.
If you're looking for a solution, here are some steps you can take to stop feeling lonely and start feeling better right away. It might be simpler to accomplish than you think.
Find a Hobby
When you have nothing but free time on your hands, it's easy to allow your mind to wander and stir up feelings of loneliness or negativity. If you find yourself in this position often, why not consider taking up a hobby? Honestly, there are so many interesting things to choose from. Chances are it won't be difficult to find something that you can be passionate about - something enjoyable you can turn to whenever you have time to spare.
Walking is a great hobby when it comes to combating loneliness. It allows you to get in a good workout and explore your community at the same time. Better yet, it's free. Make sure to say hello to the people you meet. You never know where the conversation will lead.
Meet New People
It's difficult for some people to “put themselves out there” and meet new people, especially if they happen to be on the shy side. Make it your mission to meet new people as frequently as possible. Strike up a conversation with people around you at the store, gym, or even on the street. As the saying goes, "you can never have too many friends!"
Chat with Old Friends
A long chat with old friends does wonders to combat loneliness. Get in touch with someone you’ve been friends with for a while. Take a few minutes to fill them in on how you’ve been. It may seem daunting to get back in touch with someone you haven’t talked to for some time. But, if you reach out to them, your friendship will likely pick up right where it left off.
Take Time to Reorganize
While cleaning and reorganizing your house may not sound fun at first, it will give you something to stay focused on. Having a clean house will also make you feel better about having people over, and therefore encourage you to interact with people on a more frequent basis.
Consider a Pet
Pets are wonderful companions. However, it’s important to think very carefully about whether or not you want the responsibility of a pet before you decide to care for one. Unfortunately, if you don't you may end up regretting the decision later, which wouldn’t be good for you or the animal.
Poor self-image and negative thoughts about yourself can make feelings of loneliness worse and keep you from seeking out contact with others. Always try to avoid having self-depreciating thoughts by being as positive as you can be.
Loneliness can be a difficult feeling to deal with. If you still feel like you need help after taking these steps, you may want to reach out to your support network - whether it’s friends, family, or even co-workers.
If that's not an option, consider reaching out to professional help, which is oftentimes the most efficient way to get your loneliness in check.