This post was written by a guest author.
Loneliness can be a deeply unpleasant sensation. Whether short-term in the case of a temporary trip away from family or long-term when people feel they have no one to talk to, it can lead to serious effects like depression. Here are some ways to combat loneliness when it strikes.
How to Combat Loneliness
State of Mind
The way loneliness affects people differs massively between individuals. Some people are so extroverted that a single evening home alone is enough to cause loneliness. Others, though, only begin to feel it after prolonged isolation. There’s no right or wrong, although it’s important to remember that being alone is sometimes necessary. Even if you have a good group of friends and family to rely on, sometimes you’ll need to do things in isolation. Understanding that it only needs to be temporary can help keep negative thoughts at bay.
When trying to make sense of the sensation, your brain may take you down a dark path. You may feel that your loneliness is a result of poor social skills, for example. Try to look at the situation objectively: Do you have people you like and who like you back? Reach out to them, even if only for a phone call or quick coffee to recharge your social batteries.
Sometimes, people are forced into isolation in the longer-term. Couples in long-distance relationships may feel lonely even if surrounded by friends, as their other half is not within reach. Levels of loneliness among seniors may often be high because children have left home and social circles can shrink as people retire. It’s important to be pro-active, because it’s rare that anyone is lucky enough to have a loved one that recognizes loneliness and pulls you out of it.
Be pro-active. The internet is a great place to find new social circles, with sites like Meetup allowing people of all ages with similar interests to meet each other and develop friendships. It can be tempting to wallow in isolation. However, you need to take the decisive step today and push yourself outside of your comfort zone for the sake of your mental health.
Altruism is a Great Remedy
Beyond socializing, giving something back can help make you feel better and more connected with your community. Engaging with local charities and fundraisers lets you feel that you’re making a difference and connects you to your surroundings. Volunteering can also be a great way to meet new people and bond over a constructive activity.
Also, consider reaching out to friends you may not have talked to in a while. Listen to what they’ve been up to and work on becoming a good listener. People enjoy spending time with friends who make the effort to reach out and offer words of comfort where needed.
Loneliness can be a negative force that has an impact on mental health and general wellbeing. It’s important to remember that being pro-active is key to avoiding such feelings. Taking advantage of existing social networks or developing new ones are great ways to feel more connected with other people and combat loneliness in the long-term.