Living with Chronic Pain
Tips for Living with Loneliness
Loneliness can be described as a negative emotion that can occur due to lack of companionship, feeling left out, an unmet need for social connections, or experiencing isolation even when around others. It can have a significant impact on your mental and physical well-being. However, there are several ways to conquer loneliness and decrease its negative impact on your life.
Here are seven tips for living with loneliness.
- Make a point to greet others. When participating in activities where others are present, such as grocery shopping, walking at the local park, or attending a religious service, set a goal to greet or interact with someone else. Smiling and saying “hello” or starting a friendly conversation is likely to make you feel less lonely.
- Stay in touch with loved ones. Seeing family members and friends in person, or talking with them via a phone call, text message, or email, can decrease feelings of loneliness. Reaching out to loved ones at least once per week is an attainable goal.
- Take a class or participate in an event. If you want to learn a new skill, such as gardening or cooking, chances are high that there is a local or virtual class you could participate in. You can also attend events related to certain hobbies, such as knitting, playing an instrument, or a book club. Meeting others who share the same interest is a great way to feel less lonely and make new friends.
- Volunteer or complete random acts of kindness. Doing a kind deed for others provides a positive impact for the person or organization on the receiving end of the kindness. Likewise, volunteering or completing an act of kindness is also a great way to decrease feelings of loneliness. You may choose to volunteer at a local food bank or animal shelter, or perform a random act of kindness, such as buying coffee for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop. You could also send an uplifting card to a friend who is not feeling well.
- Adopt a pet. Owning a pet has many health benefits, including decreasing loneliness. A cat, dog, or other pet at home increases feelings of connection. Having a dog to walk around the neighborhood or take to the dog park is also a good way to meet other dog owners.
- Select the right activities when alone. When you find yourself with alone time, try participating in a variety of rewarding activities, such as reading, getting physical activity, participating in a favorite hobby, or listening to uplifting music. This can have a positive impact on mood and lessen loneliness.
- Seek help when needed. If loneliness lasts longer than a couple of weeks, creates feelings of depression or hopelessness, or impacts your daily life, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. A counselor or therapist can help you learn ways to cope with feelings of loneliness and develop strategies to overcome those feelings. Crisis and support lines in the United States are available for anyone needing help.