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How To Deal With Loneliness: 7 Tips To Try
By: Robert Porter
Updated October 12, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Juan Angel
Have you ever felt all alone in the world? We all experience loneliness and it isn't easy. When you're going through a difficult time and feel there's no one to turn to for support, it's hard to know what to do. But those who are feeling isolated or alone should know there are always people who care about their wellbeing.
Learning how to address your feeling of loneliness can also be a step in helping you address other mental health issues that you may be facing. The United States is facing a big problem with isolation, loneliness, and related challenges. One study found that out of young people in the United States, 25% don’t have any friends they confide in. This is a problem that needs to be addressed to help the mental health of the country.
How Do I Deal with Loneliness?
Humans are social creatures by nature. You long to connect with others and you want to be loved. It's normal to want to have someone you can love in return. Learning how to cope with loneliness isn't simple, but there's much you can do to regain that feeling of value and belonging. There are effective ways you can deal with loneliness, and professional help is available if you're in need. This article will cover tools to cope with, and move past, loneliness.
First, it's important to note that even if you feel lonely right now, you're not alone. Millions of people are going through similar struggles. It's estimated that over 40% of all people will experience loneliness at some point in their lives. Even those who appear connected and popular can feel isolated from others.
Dealing with Loneliness
Many people successfully overcome feelings of loneliness through therapy, and those who have signed up for online therapy at BetterHelp find it a valuable resource for combating loneliness. These therapy sessions help people change the way they look at the world, and open up to new possibilities. Some may also benefit from antidepressants prescribed by a doctor to treat associated depression issues. Regardless of whether or not you're a good candidate for medication, or what mode of therapy works best for you, it's important to seek treatment when you're feeling down. You're not alone in this fight.
Want To Overcome The Feelings And Effects Of Loneliness?Seek Professional Help. Sign Up Today With BetterHelp.This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The 7 Tips for Navigating Loneliness
1. Accept That Loneliness Is Normal. Just knowing that others around the globe are experiencing the same feelings of loneliness can be helpful. As mentioned earlier, 40% of people will experience loneliness at some point in time. That number may seem high-after all, the internet and social networking makes it easier than ever to connect. But loneliness is subjective. It's possible to feel lonely even if you have a significant other, children, or lots of friends.
So if you're looking for an answer on how to deal with loneliness in your own life, just realize there are millions of others feeling the same way. This normal emotion is one that almost everyone experiences at some point, and it's something that you can overcome.
2. Recognize the Effects of Loneliness So You Can Combat Them. Loneliness can be felt. Studies show that being lonely can make you feel colder than those around you, can increase cholesterol and blood pressure, and can even stop your immune system from functioning properly. Loneliness can also disrupt your sleep. Because loneliness puts your body on 'high alert,' it can make you more prone to sleep problems. Insomnia and lack of true rest can both be a result of loneliness. Loneliness leads to self-destructive habits. Drug abuse, gambling habits, and other self-destructive actions have all been linked to loneliness. Finding a cure for loneliness can prevent these habits from developing in the first place. It can also be important for addressing suicide prevention. If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, contact a national helpline like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Can I Manage My Loneliness and Depression?
Lastly, loneliness can affect your mental health. As it increases, so does depression. One of the main signs of depression is no longer wanting to do things you used to enjoy, including spending time with your friends. If you think your feelings of loneliness may be a small part of a more bigger problem, you should consider seeking help from someone who specializes in treating loneliness as a mental health professional.
3. Seek Professional Help. Meeting with a mental health professional is one of the most helpful steps you can take if you're trying to overcome loneliness and the underlying issues that may lead to it. A therapist can help you explore the factors behind your feelings. Other issues surrounding your loneliness can be addressed as well. For example, if you've recently lost a family member or close friend, you may be experiencing both loneliness and grief. Having an experienced professional to support you through the healing process can make all the difference.
Sometimes, you might even feel lonely due to your location. Military members who are deployed or spouses who are separated from family and friends often experience a sense of loneliness that seems unsolvable. You may struggle with meeting new people. If you are in an area where you have few resources, mental health or otherwise, seeking professional help might seem impossible. It can be the same for those suffering from depression. In situations like this, a program like BetterHelp can be beneficial. BetterHelp is unique because counseling takes place through an online platform that you can access from any place you feel comfortable. And many people find the BetterHelp program a lot more convenient and affordable than in-person counseling.
4. Nurture Existing Relationships. Loneliness can make us pull away from our relationships, even when we desire them the most. By nurturing the relationships you already have, you can put yourself on a path to learn how to deal with loneliness. When the people you once loved or connected with feel distant, it can be hard to take the first step towards fortifying those bonds. Here are some ideas for connecting again:
- Schedule time each day (or week) to call or visit a friend.
- Invite someone out for lunch.
- Start up conversations with neighbors when you can.
- Use social media to reconnect with those you've lost touch with due to time or distance.
- Join a group or club with interests you share.
5. Practice Positive Self-Talk. You might be asking what getting rid of negative self-talk has to do with loneliness, but the two go hand-in-hand. When you're feeling lonely, and you start to think something like "Ugh, I hate my life, no one wants to spend time with me," you're adding to your loneliness. Now you're not only missing social connections but also taking a beating to your self-esteem.
Make an effort to catch these thoughts and replace them with a positive message instead. The process of positive self-talk takes practice, but it can be part of a simple cure for loneliness. If you decide to seek out online therapy, then you'll learn all about these positive self-talk techniques. It's a good way to combat negative feelings and it can significantly improve your life.
6. Find a Hobby. Boredom adds weight to loneliness. If you're already struggling with feelings of loneliness or social isolation, the cure isn't watching Netflix by yourself every night. Instead, find something to occupy your time. Make sure that what you choose has some social aspect to it. Taking pictures in the park and joining a gardening group through Meetup are both good options. Doing a jigsaw puzzle alone in your apartment, not so much. Take some time to explore hobby options and then get out there. The "getting out there" part is usually the hardest.
What hobbies will help you to manage your loneliness?
Hobbies that you do by yourself can still be fun, but try to get yourself out more. You might love watching movies or playing video games alone, but sometimes this isn't going to be the right answer. Do your best to pick out some fun new hobbies that will place you in social situations. It could wind up being the push that you need to improve your social life and it can be a cure for loneliness.
7. Find Volunteer Opportunities. One way to combat loneliness is to put yourself in places where you can meet new people. That's why people go to places like bars and clubs, right? But sometimes just going to public places doesn't do the trick, especially for people whose loneliness is worsened by issues like shyness or social anxiety. By volunteering, you're not only putting yourself in a place where you can meet people, but you'll also be focused on a task. This can help prevent feelings of awkwardness that might arise if you don't have a particular purpose. It can also give you something to look forward to if you're struggling to find meaning in your life.
Another great thing about volunteering is the people you meet are likely to share your interests. For example, if you love animals, you might consider volunteering at a local shelter. This is a place where you're sure to meet other dog or cat people that you can connect with. It'll be much easier to connect if you're with others who like the same things you do. Not sure where to start? Ask around locally or use an online platform like Create the Good or Volunteer Match.What are Other Options for Dealing with Loneliness?
Outside of the ideas above, if you’re struggling with feeling lonely and don’t have friends and family that you can connect with, you may benefit from joining a support group.
BetterHelp Can Make a Difference in Your Loneliness
Signing up for online therapy at BetterHelp is something that can make a difference in your life. Signup is easy, and the matching process is personalized so that you're paired with the perfect counselor for you. Depending on when you sign up, you might qualify for a free trial that will help you decide if counseling can help you deal with your loneliness. These professionals understand what you're going through and can teach you the best coping methods.
You can reach out to an online therapist today without even having to leave your house. These therapists are available to speak to you at any time and there are many different therapy options available. Don't wait to contact a therapist if you're in need. These compassionate professionals will be happy to help you with your loneliness and any other struggles you might be going through. Take a look at some BetterHelp counselor reviews to see how they have helped others in your situation.
BetterHelp Counselor Reviews
"Peter is very caring. He is a good listener and gives me good tools to deal with my problems. I feel supported and less alone. I highly recommend him as a counselor. He has helped me through very difficult times."
"I have a lot of high stressors happening in my life right now, it has been extremely beneficial to have someone from the outside looking in to help me see what I do not and be able to have someone helping guide me through it. I appreciate being able to have a constant conversation and send a message when it is most convenient. I have a busy life right now and knowing I have someone to talk too (if I need too) every day has made me feel less alone and capable of achieving my goals."
If you try these tips and are still having trouble overcoming your loneliness or struggling with your mental health, seek the advice of a trusted friend or family member. Using your voice to ask for the things you need can help you moved past these temporary feelings and into the life you deserve. Loneliness does not have to be a permanent feeling. You can get help and move on to happier days.
Don't hesitate to reach out to an online therapist if you're in need. They'll be happy to assist you and you'll always have someone to turn to when you're feeling blue. The biggest mistake that you could make is to assume that you need to face this battle alone. There are always going to be people who want to help. And if you feel lonely and have thoughts of suicide seek help immediately. There are national helplines like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline you can call at 1-800-273-8255 or you can go directly to an emergency room.
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