It’s not uncommon for people to experience loneliness at some point in their lifetime. Loneliness can often set in during events like Valentines’ Day, Christmas, or even when going through high-stress periods. It’s not unusual for those experiencing feelings of loneliness to keep their emotions hidden, and not know what to do in order to remedy the situation In this article, you’ll discover a range of ways to help cope with feelings of loneliness.
Loneliness can be emotionally painful, but it can also affect people in several other ways:
- Depression: feelings of loneliness can commonly lead to symptoms of depression. In an ever-winding loop, depressed and lonely people can feel less involved or ‘less together’ during social interactions. Loneliness and depression can feed off of each other, with one perpetuating the other.
- Pain: physical pain is controlled by the same brain area that triggers feelings of social exclusion, which can explain the painful feeling associated with a ‘broken heart.’
- Everyday Health: Poor health and well-being go hand in hand with depression and loneliness, meaning those experiencing a period of loneliness are often experiencing a negative impact on their physical health.
Ways to cope with loneliness
If you are beginning to feel the effects of loneliness, the good news is there are some ways that you can help yourself.
Build your existing relationships
You have likely met some people in your life who have had a positive impact on your life and on how you feel. Whether it’s friends, family, or a work colleague, why not contact them more often and build upon the positive relationship you already have, and strengthen the bonds with those closest to you.
Take advantage of online support
It’s no secret that feelings of loneliness are widespread, and that means there are lots of people online looking to build a relationship or simply need someone to talk to.
You should never give out any sensitive information to someone you have met online, but there is a wealth of support available if you look in the right places, and you could end up building a long-lasting friendship with someone you meet online.
Get involved in an activity
Regardless of whether you join a local college class, exercise class, or art class, you will be exposed to a group of people who share similar interests, which can be a great way to connect with others.
Being a part of a group can provide a sense of belonging. A new activity can give you something to look forward to, beat loneliness, and can stimulate your creativity.
Get a pet as a companion
There are so many benefits offered by having pets like dogs or cats, including combating loneliness. Having a pet could be an entry-point to connecting with other people. For example, walking a dog will allow you to connect with other dog owners, and people seem to be drawn to a cute dog on a leash. Pets also offer a considerable amount of unconditional love, which is ideal for tackling loneliness.
Become a volunteer
You could volunteer to help with a cause that is close to your heart, and in doing so, you could benefit similarly to how you would from joining a class – being a part of a group, getting to know other people, and enjoying new experiences. You can also add meaning to your life and enjoy the feeling of helping those in need resulting in a heightened sense of achievement, and ultimately decreasing the feeling of loneliness.
Working with and volunteering to help others that are less fortunate can also bring a sense of appreciation for what you already have in your own life.
Consider seeing a Therapist
Unfortunately, there is research to suggest that feelings of loneliness can result in poor well-being. The more depressed you feel, the more lonely you feel, and vice versa.
Those that experience loneliness can reach a point where they feel lonely even when they have gotten out there and met other people, and if this sounds like you, it may be beneficial to seek the help of a psychotherapist. A therapist can help those with symptoms of loneliness and can offer or refer you for depression treatment to help you get back to enjoying life. Many therapists offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an effective treatment, helping you change your thoughts and actions to relieve the symptoms of loneliness and helping prevent you from feeling these emotions in the future.