Dealing with Loneliness – 6 Effective Strategies
Loneliness can affect anyone and we have all experienced it in our lives. It can feel particularly lonely when going through a breakup, losing a loved one, being in an unhappy relationship, or going through a big life change. Feeling lonely may be a normal thing, but it’s something that you have to pay very close attention to and something that you have to be proactive in changing because it can lead into more severe conditions like depression. So, if you are feeling lonely right now, take steps to make a change, and I am going to tell you six strategies for dealing with loneliness today that you can do to get started.
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Just so we are on the same page as far as what loneliness means moving forward, I’d like to give you a quick definition. Feeling lonely means to feel disconnected, and isolated from others, and YOU WANT to feel connected, a part of something, and belonging.
I say that because there are many people who are disconnected and isolated who are very happy that way. So being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely AND being lonely doesn’t mean you are physically alone. You can be in a relationship and have lots of friends and still feel lonely. So that is what I mean when I say lonely.
So, let’s get into these six strategies to deal with loneliness.
1 – Be Clear, Honest and Precise with your Needs when Dealing With Loneliness
Being clear, honest, and precise with your needs is very important when overcoming loneliness. This is especially important if you are in a relationship or belong to a group and you still feel alone and lonely. Tell your husband or your wife that you are alone and tell them what you need. Tell your friends or your group that you feel lonely and what you need.
It’s very important that you make sure you tell them what your needs are and how they can help you feel not so lonely. Just saying, “I feel alone,” or “I feel lonely” is not enough. It’s only fair to either tell them what they can do to help or be honest and say I don’t know what I need to feel less lonely and ask for their help in figuring that out, or that you are still figuring it out and you will let them know.
I know It can be hard sharing your feelings when you already feel isolated but you have to do this. It’s important for your relationship, friendships, and for yourself that you do.
I will say that from personal experience, I’ve had someone tell me they were lonely. That’s tough to hear in a relationship because I really do try to my best. So, I really want to help but when there is no “how” attached to that, the other person can feel helpless and just terrible. But when you are clear, the other person or people can take action on it and help you.
Now, if you aren’t in a relationship or part of a group and you feel lonely, this strategy still applies. You have to be clear, honest, and precise with yourself about your needs. Figure out what they are and how to fulfill those needs.
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2 – Be Social When Dealing With Loneliness
Feeling lonely can cause us to crawl into a dark corner and avoid contact with others. Maybe we are not in the mood to talk, or we don’t feel confident talking to others. Whatever the case, it’s comfortable to just stay in a ball and stay in a dark corner away from others. The last thing you want to do when you are feeling lonely is be social. But if you don’t crawl out of your corner and get out of your ball and be social, it will only cause more feelings of isolation and being disconnected. This is why it is so important to face your fear and get out of your comfort zone and be social. This will help you get out of that loneliness cave.
Being social does not mean going to parties, or joining a club, or posting tons of things on social media. You don’t have to anything socially dramatic to help in dealing with loneliness. All it takes, is to ask the cashier at the grocery store how they are doing. Text an old buddy and see what they’ve been up to. Engage in small chit chat with someone in the elevator. These simple things will help you pull yourself out of your shell and keep you from falling further into loneliness.
If you are bolder, then yes, join a meetup group or a class to get out, meet people and be social. Take proactive steps to be more social.
3 – Journal To Overcome Loneliness
Feeling lonely is powerful and it can dominate our thoughts and actions. We tend to sit with loneliness and let it weigh heavily on us. Rarely do we take time to actually process this emotion and how it affects our life. Journaling is a great way to do this. Studies have shown that writing things out is a great tool to express and process an overwhelming emotion such as loneliness.
Among many other benefits, journaling can help you track how you feel throughout the day and shed some light on any triggers that may be making you feel more or less lonely. It can help you identify your fears, concerns and issues. Journaling can also give you a chance to write positive notes and affirmations and identify negative self-talk.
If you want to stop feeling lonely, pick up a notebook and begin to journal each and every day.
4 – Understand That Nothing Is Wrong With You
Everyone feels lonely at times. It’s a natural human emotion that some of us go through at varying degrees. You have to realize that just because you are alone and feel lonely that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
Also realize that you have a legitimate reason to feel lonely. There is something going on that is making you feel disconnected and isolated. Don’t blow it off or chalk it up to you just being flawed in some way. Nothing is wrong with you, everyone feels lonely at times, and don’t invalidate your feelings.
5 – Invest Your Time in Something Meaningful
You can improve your loneliness by taking your mind off of it. You can achieve this by doing something you enjoy or you find meaningful. The key is to do something that generates a strong, positive, emotion. So, sitting down all day playing video games or eating a giant bowl of your favorite ice cream is not the answer. Instead, do something kind for someone like spend a day volunteering to help with the homeless or disadvantaged kids. Spend some time tending to your garden, craft something, if you are an artist, paint. Whatever it is, invest all of your focus and attention to it. Live for a time in another more positive emotion.
6 – Seek a Professional for Help Dealing with Loneliness
If you are having trouble dealing with loneliness no matter what you do, be open to seeking professional help. We all need help sometimes, and the best way to get it is to reach out to someone with experience helping others overcome powerful emotions. There may be something more going on that the previous strategies can’t address alone. Loneliness is often accompanied by other emotions and conditions such as grief and depression. Those things may require more help.
Don’t ignore feelings of loneliness. It’s a natural, human emotion but if you do not address it, things could tailspin into depression. Be clear and honest with your needs, be social, journal, understand nothing is wrong with you, invest your time in something meaningful, and seek professional help if you have to. These are things that will help you be successful dealing with loneliness.