How do I cope with loneliness?
Some background, some drama
Have you ever been lonely in a crowd? Have you ever been perfectly content all alone? Have you also suffered from loneliness? Loneliness feels awful. Sometimes it just plain hurts. And though loneliness can be a difficult emotion to feel, it’s an important one. Loneliness reminds us of our humanity. It shows us that feeling connected to others is important. And sometimes loneliness can also provide a wonderful opportunity for healing, reflection, and growth.
Do’s and Don’ts
Differentiate between loneliness and solitude. Loneliness is unhappiness. However, there is nothing wrong with solitude, wanting to or enjoying being alone. The person who can enjoy life alone can never have happiness taken away from them and to truly understand this is liberating! The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide and help you to cope with loneliness.
- Identify the reasons why you feel lonely. In order to make changes you will need to take some time to figure out why you are feeling lonely.
- Practice meditation, which is a great way to get in touch with your feelings of loneliness and start to understand where they come from.
- Consider talking to a therapist about how you have been feeling to help you understand and work through your loneliness.
- Realize that you aren't alone. Reach out to a friend or family member and talk about how you are feeling.
- Move forward. Instead of persistently dwelling on how alone you feel, do things to get your mind off of your loneliness.
- Join activity classes, clubs or volunteer at local charities to make new friends.
- Spend time with your family and friends. Repair frayed relationships.
- Be a pleasant presence. Draw people toward yourself by providing enjoyable company. Be complimentary rather than critical.
- Become your own best friend and counsellor. Explore your problems instead of wallowing in self-pity and loneliness.
- Don’t be afraid of having fun by yourself. Realize that you can have fun alone, and that you don't need to rely on others to make you happy.
- Don’t rely on others to make you feel happy. Learning how to laugh again, by yourself is important. It empowers you and allows you to not use other people for your entertainment.
- Don’t neglect yourself, mentally or physically. Neglecting yourself when you feel down is tempting. Taking care of yourself is the beginning of recovery.
- Don’t be afraid to break down or cry. It’s a cleansing process before you move on to positivity.
- Don’t be afraid to own your loneliness. Don’t fear it. Don’t numb it. Acknowledge that it is a part of the human experience.
- Don’t entertain self-deflating thoughts. Instead adopt more wholesome and positive outlooks.
People feel lonely for a number of reasons, including simple social awkwardness and intentional isolation. Some people may even feel lonely when they are surrounded by people because they lack meaningful connections with those people. Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes, but it is never pleasant. Dealing with loneliness can take many forms, including meeting new people, learning to appreciate your alone time, and reconnecting with your family.