All by Yourself? 6 Ways to Overcome Loneliness

How to Cope With Being Alone

It’s a feeling no one wants. It’s a feeling that only seems to worsen over time as it covers you in a suffocating blanket of sadness, frustration, and hopelessness. The feeling is loneliness, and it hurts.

Loneliness does not have to control your life, though. By taking action, you could reduce the impact of loneliness in your life to regain feelings of happiness and optimism. Here’s how:

Understand the Problem: What Causes Loneliness?

Why is loneliness such an issue? Why does being alone all day result in a life void of pleasure?

It turns out people need other people to connect with during the day. Connections and interactions with other people can:

  • Teach you what others do to cope with daily stressors
  • Expand your horizons by exposing you to new ideas and beliefs
  • Give you a sense of purpose through assisting others

Perhaps, most importantly, connecting with other people is essential for establishing feelings of love, belonging, and togetherness. These interactions fight loneliness, not only in the moment but in the long-term as well.

Like other problems in life, loneliness affects each person differently. Some people seem to thrive on extended periods of privacy as they use this time to accomplish great things and recharge their batteries. These people might be more introverted and feel exhausted by social interactions.

Other people are more socially inclined. They need near constant social interactions to feel engaged and complete. They might be extroverts who feed on the energy and feedback from others.

Neither of these personality types is better or worse, good or bad. They are simply different.

Another group of people who despise boredom feel this way because they derive too much of their self-esteem from other people. Without the constant reassurance from friends, family members, and strangers, these people with sink into a dark place of self-doubt and depression.

Cure Your Boredom

Loneliness and boredom are intricately connected. If you are bored, you might feel lonely, but if you are not bored, you probably don’t have time to sense the loneliness.

Imagine feeling like you have nothing to do all day. Minutes feel like hours. As time slowly drags, you wonder how your situation could be improved if someone called or stopped by to rescue you. In this case, boredom amplifies the loneliness.

Remember, loneliness is NOT a thing. It is only a sensation or a way of perceiving a situation. By interjecting meaningful interests and activities into your daily routine, loneliness will shrink.

Reconnect With People You Know

If you are feeling loneliness, start exploring ways to reconnect with people from various stages of your life. During a lifetime, there is a steady string of relationships shining and dimming.

Often, when a relationship fades, it fades for good, but there are occasions when a relationship from the past can be rekindled – both friendships and romances. Never write off any relationship completely. There may be some brightness left to it.

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To begin the process of connecting with people from the past:

Recount Previous Relationships

Recounting relationships with strong connections and periods of happiness. Of course, relationships end badly, but if there were many good times, there was something there worth restarting. Make a list of the good ones.

Consider the Ending

Now that you have your list, take a few moments to review. Which ones worked the best? Which ones were doomed from the beginning?

Cross out the relationships that cannot be salvaged and think more about the ones that can. Forget about geography, lifestyle changes, and other differences which could separate you and think more about the similarities bringing you together.

Reach Out

There’s no sugarcoating this. Reaching out to your previous connections is going to spark some anxiety, but you can use the anxiety for motivation rather than inaction. Pick up the phone, put in the friend request, or send the letter by snail mail to reconnect.

You have so much to gain and nothing to lose. Are you concerned about “crawling back” after an absence? Fear not. Taking the first step is always the right move.

Find New Connections

There is nothing quite like the excitement of meeting a new friend and learning you both share similar interests, beliefs, and values. These people might seem scarce, but they are everywhere.

If you want to meet some new people try:

  • Going out and staying out. Where are the people? They aren’t sitting in your living room, so go to them. Stores, churches, libraries, and community events are full of the people you want to meet. Go with an open mind and an engaging disposition for success.
  • Taking a class. Pottery, a new language, yoga, or any other class will help you engage with others in your community while finding a positive use of time.
  • Volunteering. Whether it is a community center, church, or food bank, volunteering your time and energy is a way to help others, help yourself, and meet new friends.
  • Check online. A long friends list looks good on your social media profile, but it isn’t a cure for loneliness. Move away from the social media and use the internet to find people interested in making real-life connections. Sites and groups are plentiful. Go for it!

The best part is you do not have to choose between old and new connections or one strategy over the other. You can actively work hard to explore and rediscover all sorts of relationships all kinds of ways. The only person standing in the way of your success is you. Change your approach to change your life.

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