Loneliness is an emotional state whereby a person feels isolated or empty. It has been described that chronic loneliness can affect one’s health, give room to obesity and other related illnesses. People can feel loneliness for a number of reasons, including intentional isolation and social awkwardness. It can also occur in a crowd or even after intimacy. The good news is that there are numerous ways in which we can overcome it before it starts affecting out health.
- Realize that Loneliness is a Feeling not a Fact: The feeling of loneliness is usually triggered by a memory and thought, not due to the fact that you are isolated and alone. Our brain is designed to make sense of any emotional feeling which the body is going through. Many at times, it sends the wrong interpretation such as ‘Nobody Loves Me’ or ‘I am a loser’ in these circumstances. As people are prone to loneliness during a transition state such as looking for a new path, activity and adventure, we should realize that once we find people who share the same interest in this new path, the loneliness will fade away. So do not dwell too much on it.
- Get Involved in Activities: It is important to join an indoor or outdoor activity provided it is a group filled with people who share similar interest. These days, a lot of social groups can be found online. Check for one close to your area. Try to go out with no expectation. Rather, look to enjoy yourself regardless of the outcome, place or people you meet. A low expectation gives greater outcome of fulfillment in a new activity compared to a high one. Activities of interest can include, book clubs, cycling, gardening, dancing etc.
- Spend Time with your Family: Family time is a good way to get over loneliness. You can invite family over or probably go visit a family member you share a common interest with. This will help you get over the awkwardness feeling of shyness and being alone. Most times a family and friend who you grew up together is usually the best as you have a lot of catch up to do. In situations where you have a busy work schedule and cannot visit for a long weekend, schedule lunch or dinner during the week with your family.
- Join an Online Community: Sometimes, loneliness can be overcome by sharing your thoughts and experience in an online community. There is a sense of relieve when you assist someone in a forum to find a solution to their problem through your experience. Online forums are always a win-win situation when you join the right one. It is advisable to join one where you can contribute effectively on threads and sometimes share a bit of humor. Finally, remember to be safe online and do not share private issues in order to avoid being a victim of predators.
- Learn a New Skill: Another effective way to overcome loneliness is to learn a new skill. While growing up, everyone dreamt about having a skill e.g. playing an instrument, sewing, drawing etc. Using this opportunity to learn your desired skill serves as a creative outlet to overcome loneliness. On the other hand, you can meet like-minded people when you register for a class in your location to learn this new skill. It’s a way of turning loneliness into something useful and beneficial to both you and the community.
- Consider a Pet: Pets have been great companions to humans for hundreds of years. If you live alone and feel lonely when you are back home from your daily activities, having a pet can make the house livelier. This is because pets show great affection and are great entertainers to their owners. Also, it gives you something to care for when you are alone, thus overcoming loneliness.
Long term loneliness can have negative effects on your health and social life. Adopting some of these few tips above is a great way to overcome it and bring back out the fun part of you again.