Do you feel lonely in a crowd? Being alone is okay with you? Maybe you are new to a city and having a hard time making friends. Or the people you love appear not in the same phase of your life. Or perhaps you’ve got all the friends you possibly want, but you seem not connected to them. You are likely suffering from loneliness.
Loneliness is considered as a complex mental and emotional phenomenon. It is something every human being has gone through or will go through. However, chronic loneliness needs attention as it can have serious health impacts. Loneliness can lead to depression and alcoholism, decreased immune system, strokes, and early death.
Here are some ways to recognize loneliness and deal with it in the healthiest ways.
- Make a list of activities you can do by yourself
Create a list of simple activities that you enjoy or something that you are willing to try when you’re lonely. It could be playing on your phone, solving a puzzle, watching movies, crocheting, screenwriting, or quilting. The goal is to distract yourself from the acute loneliness in a healthy way. Better yet, go to a place you’ve always wanted to go and get to know yourself better.
- Remember that loneliness is a feeling, not fact
When you feel lonely, it is because something has triggered a memory of that feeling, not because you are isolated and alone. Our brain pays attention to pain and danger, including painful, scary feelings, and therefore loneliness gets our attention. When you are lonely, your mind tries to make sense of the feeling.
It makes you ask yourself the reason you are feeling that way. Is it because nobody loves you? Because you are a loser? Because people are all mean? Theories on the reasons you feel lonely can become confused with facts. Then it becomes a bigger issue, but it can be prevented. Just realize that you’re having this feeling of loneliness and accept it without overreacting.
- Find others like you
Joining any class, whether it’s an exercise class, an art class, or a class at your local community college, exposes you to a group of people who share at least one of your interests. It can also give you a sense of belonging that comes with being part of a group. This can provide you with something to look forward to during the day, stimulate creativity, and help stave off loneliness.
- Practice positive self-talk
When you are feeling lonely, you may start to think something like you hate yourself as no one wants to be with you. Negative self-talk only adds to your loneliness and takes a beating to your self-esteem. Instead, make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive messages to bring about more pleasant and helpful emotions.
- See a therapist
If your loneliness persists after trying the above suggestions, it may be a good idea to seek psychotherapy to help with your feeling of loneliness. Professional therapy can help you change your thoughts and actions. Psychotherapy can help you not only experience less loneliness but do more in your life to prevent loneliness.
Whatever loneliness you are feeling right now, know that you’re not truly alone, and there are a lot of things you can do to feel more connected.