How To Cope With Loneliness

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Loneliness can be a common human experience from time to time. However, prolonged loneliness may be a sign of an underlying challenge. There are ways to combat loneliness and find meaningful connections with others while still appreciating your personal space and alone time. Understanding the connection between loneliness and mental health may be a healthy starting point.

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Are you experiencing feelings of loneliness?

The truth about loneliness

Loneliness may not necessarily occur due to being physically alone but more due to emotional causes, like the lack of satisfactory relationships or a healthy support system. While being alone is defined as lacking the presence of another, a lonely person can feel alone in a room full of people. 

Feelings of loneliness can be common. In fact, a 2020 survey conducted by Cigna found that around three in five Americans feel lonely.

Tips for coping with loneliness

Several coping techniques, including the following, may help you address loneliness and potentially prevent its return. 

Take a break from social media

Many people are surrounded by technology that offers ways to "connect" with others. However, if you use social media more than you interact with people on a personal level, you might consider a break. When individuals take a break from social media, they can be focused on seeking out more meaningful interactions offline and start forming a healthy self-care schedule. 

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Spend quality time with a friend or loved one

Concerning loneliness, quality time may be more beneficial than "quantity time." By intentionally planning quality time with a friend or loved one, you are allowing yourself to engage with others. For example, you can schedule a date, go to the movies, or have a night in to talk about your lives. 

Connect socially

If your loneliness stems from a lack of self-esteem or the fear of rejection, making social connections may feel out of your comfort zone. However, socializing with others can be a way to address feelings of loneliness. Social interaction doesn't necessarily have to be complicated or awkward. Genuine and minor efforts to make social connections can make a difference. 

For example, instead of sending an instant message to someone you work with, walk down the hall to their office and speak to them personally. Instead of sending an email to a friend, call them. When you see a stranger with a beautiful outfit or hair color, compliment them. Once you have conquered these steps, you may feel more comfortable with social interaction. 

Pay attention to your feelings

It can be normal to feel occasional loneliness. However, if your periods of loneliness become more frequent or last longer, pay attention to these feelings. You might consider journaling about them, self-reflecting using guided questions, or talking to a professional to receive further support.
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Are you experiencing feelings of loneliness?

Seek professional guidance 

If you feel overwhelmed by loneliness or don't know which steps to take, a therapist can help you develop a plan to counter these symptoms. In addition, if you're uncomfortable meeting with a provider face-to-face due to social anxiety or other barriers, you can try online therapy through platforms like BetterHelp that offer low-cost services from home.

While many people could benefit from the help of a counselor, not everyone feels as though they have the time or financial resources necessary to seek help. Online counseling services offer licensed, experienced mental health professionals to help navigate difficult experiences in life. In addition, studies have shown that online therapy can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, social phobia, and loneliness, sometimes more effectively than face-to-face options. 

Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor reviews

"Colleen has been an intricate part of my healing and I know that I would not be as successful as I am without her encouragement, support, and advice. She is always there when I need her without hesitation and fully understands the goals I have and the challenges I face. She has wonderful techniques in helping me release and cope with stress and anxiety and it has greatly reduced my depression. Colleen is an absolutely fantastic therapist and I can't recommend her highly enough!"

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Takeaway

While loneliness is an emotion many people experience occasionally, it can be beneficial to realize that loneliness may not be connected to being alone. Many measures can be put in place to reduce feelings of loneliness. Some people find therapy effective in discussing the underlying factors contributing to their loneliness. Consider taking the first step by contacting a provider for further guidance.

You're not alone with your loneliness

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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