How To Stop Feeling Lonely

Meta Description Loneliness is a common problem, but it doesn't have to be permanent. This blog will share the ultimate guide to building stronger relationships and overcoming loneliness. Tags Loneliness, Self-compassion, Depression Category Mental Health, Wellbeing
Feeling lonely at times is a natural and common experience. If you feel lonely, consider reaching out to your loved ones and practicing self-compassion, as these can help overcome loneliness. Just because feeling lonely is common, it doesn't mean it won't overwhelm you. If you're experiencing loneliness right now, you may question why and how to stop it. r> It may be comforting to know that you are not alone. A recent Harvard Graduate School of Education report found that 36% of people surveyed reported frequently or always feeling lonely. Also, it was found that 61% of individuals aged 18 to 25 reported experiencing various levels of loneliness. Whether you're feeling lonely or empty, you should know that it's possible to overcome it. A good starting point is understanding why you feel this way.

Why Do I Feel Lonely?

It is a common human experience to feel lonely even when surrounded by people, and many factors can influence this. Trauma, loss, and stress can increase feelings of loneliness. It's important to understand that one can still experience loneliness even when surrounded by people or within a relationship. This feeling can arise if individuals cannot express their true selves or when there are fundamental differences in ethical values.

Other reasons that can contribute to feelings of loneliness include:
  • Mental health conditions, including depression
  • Health conditions such as disabilities, chronic illnesses, and terminal illness
  • Lack of meaningful relationships
  • Discrimination
  • Loss and grief
  • Trauma
  • Migration
  • Existential crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing have also intensified feelings of loneliness, especially for extroverted people and those who suffer from low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety and depend on external factors to feel fulfilled.

Tips to Overcome Feelings of Loneliness

Feeling lonely is not permanent, and there are ways to overcome it, even though it may take time. Here are some tips for how to overcome this feeling.

Reassess Thinking and Regain Hope

When we feel lonely, it's necessary to reassess our thinking and regain a sense of hope. One effective way to do this is by practicing a shift in perspective and associating our solitude with positive emotions. Instead of considering alone time as a source of isolation, you can treat it as an opportunity to grow, reflect, and connect with yourself. Healthy solitude can be beneficial for clarity in thinking and improving cognition, as it allows us to reflect on our life experiences and make sense of them. Whereas feelings of loneliness may be temporary, mindfulness and positive thinking can help reduce its impact. Participating in activities like yoga, meditation, or tai chi while spending time alone can generate excitement and shift our perspective to view solitude more positively.

Practice Self-Compassion

When you're struggling with loneliness and want to learn how to be happy alone, you engage in activities that promote self-compassion. A few examples include:
  • Meditation
  • Mindful walks
  • Physical activity
Taking care of yourself with compassion might help you strengthen the bond with yourself and alleviate feelings of loneliness. Over time, you can learn to accept and embrace your moments of solitude and use them to participate in self-reflecting and growth activities.

Journal Your Feelings and Thoughts

Journaling can bring happiness and fulfillment to one's life. By recalling memorable moments, individuals can experience a sense of joy. Writing a gratitude letter can be a helpful practice. We can strengthen our connections and cultivate positivity by listing what we appreciate about ourselves and our loved ones. Moreover, writing in a journal can help individuals delve into their thoughts and emotions, which can assist in processing them and gaining new perspectives. Ultimately, journaling serves as a therapeutic and life-changing practice.

Reach Out to Old Friends

Connecting with old friends can be a great way to combat loneliness, and it can't be overstated. Friends not only provide support and accountability but also foster your creativity and growth. Friendship quality directly influences individuals' perseverance in their personal and professional goals. Our friends act as mirrors, reflecting both our strengths and weaknesses. This helps us acknowledge and appreciate our good qualities while identifying areas where we can improve. When we reach out to people who have shared our moments of productivity, joy, or inner tranquility, we can rediscover those positive qualities within ourselves.

Invite a Friend on a Walk

It's a good idea to invite a friend or neighbor to walk with you every few days. Regular exercise can boost your endorphins, and improve your mood and overall outlook. When you have good company, it can help you cultivate a sense of well-being, which can help overcome feelings of loneliness. To make your walk more memorable, consider following some of these ideas:
  • Switch your walking route and enjoy different scenery each day.
  • If feasible, choose different times of the day to enjoy sunrises, sunsets, and mid-afternoons.
  • Drive to a park, forest preserve, or mall and enjoy a walk in a new setting.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings, focusing on the sky, people, sounds, and physical sensations.
  • Consider setting a unique goal for each day of your walks. These can involve things like the walk's duration, pace, rhythm, and discussion topics.

Talk to people

If you find it difficult to make new friends, a good starting point is to be open to others. According to the well-known study, The BBC Loneliness Experiment, conducted by the BBC and The University of Manchester, respondents suggested some helpful ways to overcome loneliness:
  • Start a conversation with someone.
  • Find the good in every person you meet.
  • Invite people without the fear of being rejected.
  • Tell someone about your feelings of loneliness.

Join a Club, Organization, or Online Community

According to the BBC study, individuals mentioned joining a social club or engaging in new social activities helps overcome loneliness. Things to consider include:
  • Joining a walking, running, or other exercise-related group
  • Attending church
  • Volunteering at a nearby charity
  • Picking up a hobby, such as knitting, painting, or playing cards, and connecting with like-minded people who share the same interest
  • Finding online communities that cater to your interests, such as gaming, movies, books, and more

Get a Pet

According to a survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 80% of pet owners believe that their pets make them feel less lonely, regardless of whether they prefer cats, dogs, or reptiles. Having a pet is beneficial as it allows you to think other than yourself, offers companionship, and owning a dog can motivate you to be more active and explore the outdoors. If you cannot get a pet, you can still contribute by volunteering at a local animal shelter.

Get Professional Help

If you have tried various methods to combat loneliness but still feel alone, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. Here are some signs:
  • Experiencing periods of crying
  • Feeling easily frustrated to the point where it affects your work or relationships
  • Loss of interest and motivation to take care of yourself
  • Changes in eating habits due to feelings of loneliness
  • Spending more time in bed or feeling constantly tired
According to experts, if loneliness is left unchecked, it can lead to demoralization and even depression. And when someone struggles with anxiety issues and loneliness, which also affects their daily life. Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional help by scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist.