Do you feel lonely? If so, you're not the only one.
According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, two in five Americans report that they feel their social relationships are not meaningful.
One in five say they feel lonely or socially isolated.
People facing life challenges like death or divorce, and those with chronic or serious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, mental illness or cancer are more likely to feel lonely.
There's good reason to be concerned about loneliness.
Feeling lonely can greatly increase the risks of developing a variety of mental and emotional conditions. These include:
- Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, mood disorders and cognitive decline.
- Physical health problems like higher rates cardiovascular impairment, chronic pain, and fatigue.
These 15 ways to not feel lonely can help turn things around for you if you’re currently alone.
- 15 Tips On How to Not Feel Lonely
- 1. Identify Your Loneliness
- 2. Embrace Your Alone Time
- 3. Become a Volunteer
- 4. Join a Book Club
- 5. Take Yourself Out
- 6. Say “Yes” to a Party
- 7. Find a New Hobby
- 8. Attend a Meetup
- 9. Adopt a Pet
- 10. Join an Exercise Group
- 11. Reconnect With Old Friends
- 12. Learn a New Language
- 13. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
- 14. Plan a Trip
- 15. Do Something New Every Day
- If you are feeling suicidal, please immediately contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Dial 988.
15 Tips On How to Not Feel Lonely
1. Identify Your Loneliness
There is a vast difference between being alone and feeling lonely.
The two are often confused but are not interchangeable.
Introverts, for example, cherish their alone time and feel more comfortable in their own presence.
On the other hand, people often feel lonely even when surrounded by other people.
The first thing you need to do is identify the cause of your loneliness.
Are you in an unloving relationship? Are you surrounded by toxic people? Or do you simply crave some new connections?
Arriving at the root of the problem just may help you find a suitable solution to deal with your loneliness.
2. Embrace Your Alone Time
Alone time can serve as a wonderful medium for self-reflection.
Instead of trying to limit the time you spend with yourself, you should be striving to make the most of your solitude.
Quality alone time can actually be quite beneficial to one’s health, especially if utilized correctly.
Use the time you spend by yourself to improve your skills, learn something new and become self-sufficient.
Becoming your own best companion will not only make you more independent, but it can also help you establish more meaningful relations with other people.
3. Become a Volunteer
Joining an organization that supports the causes you believe in can help you rise above your state of loneliness.
There is something very gratifying about being able to help someone in need.
Being needed is one of the most basic human desires — there’s nothing controversial or embarrassing about that.
People are social beings and we thrive when surrounded by other like-minded individuals.
Offering a helping hand can make us feel more grateful, humble and connected to others.
4. Join a Book Club
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
The wisest wizard of our time (Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books) makes a fair point.
Many people believe that reading books offers a great escape from reality.
However, sometimes, an escape is just what we need.
A study has shown that reading fiction can mimic the effects of socializing with a group by providing a collective identity.
If you feel isolated, sharing your favorite adventures with people who share the same interests can alleviate these feelings of desolation.
5. Take Yourself Out
How many times did you skip out on a fun event just because you had no one to accompany you?
Most people rely on friends and acquaintances to enjoy certain activities.
We usually associate having fun with group gatherings and being overly social.
While this certainly has some perks, you’d be surprised to learn how liberating it is to be able to enjoy your own company.
Taking yourself out — to the movies, for lunch or dinner or even venturing to an overcrowded concert hall on your own may seem daunting at first, but it can be quite refreshing too.
Not only do you not have to rely on others to make the decisions but you’re also more likely to meet new people with similar interests to yours.
6. Say “Yes” to a Party
Remember the last time somebody invited you to hang out, and you said you’d think about it when in reality you were already piling excuses in your head to wiggle out of the situation?
It’s quite contradictory one might say — after all, lonely people should find such an invitation quite desirable, right?
Unfortunately, things aren’t always as easy as they seem.
Plenty of those who dwell too long in solitude may start to exhibit other types of behavioral issues.
Anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness and even shame are common occurrences among lonely individuals.
This can often lead to a never-ending cycle of self-abuse where people continually keep up punishing themselves by staying isolated for even longer periods.
Breaking the cycle is not an easy task, but it can be subdued.
Next time, stay true to your promise and accept the offer of companionship.
Who knows, maybe this will be just the thing you need to finally break the shackles of loneliness, once and for all.
7. Find a New Hobby
Did you know that boredom can often lead to loneliness?
Finding yourself with nothing creative to do can make you feel unfulfilled, exasperated, even frustrated at times.
It’s not rare for people to disregard their passions due to their careers, studies, medical conditions and even for their families.
While these are all just reasons to put yourself on hold, it’s important to remember that our passions are what drive us and without them, we can easily get lost in the process.
Hobbies can help distract our attention from solitude and make us feel more satisfied, motivated and productive in the process.
The great thing about hobbies is that they can easily be group activities where like-minded individuals are gathered to share their work and progress, encourage each other and seek comfort, support and even friendship.
8. Attend a Meetup
Very often in life, we need to take a proactive approach and see where it leads us.
Simply exclaiming “I’m lonely” won’t make you any less alone.
Sometimes, we need to take matters into our own hands and tackle the issues head-on.
If you’re searching for ways not be lonely, then perhaps the answer lies in Meetups.
Attending events with people of similar interests is a great way to address the issue of your loneliness.
This is especially beneficial for people who have just moved to a new area or those who have trouble making new friends.
Nowadays, with the advent of social media and apps like Meetup, it’s even easier to join such events and find people who share our interests, views, and hobbies.
9. Adopt a Pet
A furry companion is one of the most effective ways to feel less lonely.
The simple presence of these loving creatures is enough to counter the effects of solitude.
Caring for someone or something makes us more compassionate, empathetic and responsible.
Studies have also proven that having pets can have positive effects on our health — mental, emotional and physical.
Owning a dog can actually boost your social relationships.
Dog owners are more likely to form relationships with other dog lovers.
Walking your four-legged companion around the block might prompt a sudden new connection.
10. Join an Exercise Group
Regular exercise helps us maintain our ideal weight, protects our heart and our bones and makes us feel more relaxed, happier and confident.
But there’s another important benefit of exercise that is often disregarded — it can help us form strong and lasting relationships.
Team sports or exercise groups are one of the best ways to develop your social skills. Participating in such activities can help you gain new social outlets and make new friends.
People who work out regularly have a better self-image and more self-esteem, another factor that contributes to forming new relationships.
Basketball, volleyball, water polo, football, hockey, martial arts, yoga and pilates classes, dance groups, cycling, and jogging are just some examples of sports activities that can be practiced alongside other people.
11. Reconnect With Old Friends
Know that feeling when you bump into an old high-school friend and you both share promises of catching up shortly?
Be honest, how many of those prospective meet-ups actually become a reality?
While it’s true that a lot of people do this out of sheer courtesy without really wanting to catch-up, it’s also possible that plenty of them are simply stuck in a similar rut to yours.
So, why not take them up on their invite? Suggest a coffee that same afternoon or a late dinner after work.
In the worst-case scenario, you’re back at square one.
You have a great time reminiscing about past times and you might decide to continue the nurturing your friendship.
12. Learn a New Language
Learning and speaking a new language for the first time can be nerve-racking, anxiety-inducing and quite embarrassing if we’re being honest.
But, guess what?
Mastering a different language can also open the door to a completely new world of possibilities – social ones as well.
Language exchange groups are a fun and engaging way to meet new people, acquaint yourself with different cultures and learn something new in the process.
Studies show that bilingual people are more confident, open-minded and have an easier time making decisions.
13. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
There are two sides to every coin and social media is one of the finest examples of that.
Although initially designed to connect people, social media apps can often have quite the opposite effects on the human psyche, making them more isolated and disconnected from the world.
However, it all comes down to how we use it.
Social media can also be a wonderful tool for reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances, keeping in touch with people from other parts of the world and even forming new friendships.
There are a plethora of apps out there designed especially to meet people with the same interests as yours, chatting with them or even arranging a live meet-up.
Think Tinder but for friends.
14. Plan a Trip
This is a tricky one.
Most people who are shy in nature, introverted or suffer from loneliness or social anxiety have a difficult time even venturing downstairs to the grocery store, let alone setting out on some more adventurous journeys.
However, as difficult as it may be, facing our fears is the first step towards overcoming them.
Once you overcome the initial dread of traveling solo, you’ll notice immense changes in how you perceive and handle things from that point on.
Traveling alone will get you out of your comfort zone and into the world of self-awareness, independence, and confidence.
When traveling alone, you make your own rules.
You decide where you want to go and with whom.
It also opens the door to plenty of new opportunities like familiarizing yourself with local people and forming bonds with other travelers.
15. Do Something New Every Day
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Our lives are made out of experiences and although we have no control over what awaits us, we do have control over how we approach those new encounters.
Trying out new things doesn’t have to be groundbreaking – it can also mean ordering a new dish from the restaurant menu or taking a different route back home.
The moment you allow yourself to be driven by these instincts you’ll become free from the shackles of your confinement.
Loneliness easily becomes a routine once you’re used to it. It’s up to you to break the chain.
So, get out there and start making some changes!
Do you need professional help?
If you are feeling suicidal, please immediately contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Dial 988.
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You don't have to feel lonely and isolated.
Feeling lonely and socially isolated is a completely normal occurrence, everybody experiences it at one point or another.
This doesn’t make it any easier though.
But remember — just because you’re feeling lonely, it doesn’t mean that you’re alone.
Hopefully, these 15 tips will help you get a grasp on your loneliness and make you more inspired to make some changes towards a more fulfilled and happier life.
If you do feel stuck and unable to budge, try to be mindful and seek help.
Sometimes, all we need is a helping hand to guide us to a new beginning.