How to deal with loneliness.
Loneliness is a very common emotion that we all feel at some stage in our lives, it is often happens when we go through grief and loss of something or some situation in our lives and we are left alone. Our health can be affected both physically and emotionally. However there are things we can do.
Effects of Loneliness
Loneliness can have a huge impact on your whole life, it leaves us feeling sad and disconnected it can also affect our physical health. You may not sleep as well, you may suffer with anxiety, chronic illness, high cholesterol, diabetes, emotional distress, have low motivation to do things, have materialistic urges or gain weight which are all ways to fill the void that a lack of friendship creates.
“Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.” Douglas Nemeckek, MD, chief medical officer for behavioural health, Cigna
You don’t need to be on your own to feel loneliness
You don’t need to be on your own to feel loneliness, sometimes even though you are surrounded by people, living in a big city, you can still be alone, while others who are in the same place and situation are very content with their own company and enjoy being alone, we are all different with different needs.
In my marriage I often felt lonely, my husband wasn’t great at communicating, he never talked about his feelings or anything that mattered, he preferred to sit and watch TV rather than talk, unfortunately that didn’t meet my need of spending quality time together, so I spent my time on the computer rather than sitting with him in front of the television. I was extremely lonely even though I had a mate to spend time with, as I am sure he was too.
In your spare time think about what you need to change to build the relationships and meaningful social connections that we require.
Ideas to help deal with Loneliness
Change your mindset.
Do things you love! Don’t live in the past and keep going over what went wrong in your life and what caused your loneliness, be positive and think about the wonderful life you are now creating in your future. Choose to change your reality from having no or few friends to being social and making friends. This decision, once made, needs to be actioned by making a plan of how you will change things so you really do create your reality.
Nurture existing friendships
Make spending time with your existing friends a priority in your life. Ring them and put the effort into keeping the friendship a big part of your life.
Re-kindle old friendships
Old friendships are often special, but can wain over the years as situations change and people move into different stages of life. Re-kindling these specific relationships is often much easier to do than making new friendships and can be very rewarding. Don’t write off old relationships.
Prepare a list of what you can change or do differently and make this a priority in your life.
- If you work from home, could you work from a coffee shop half a day? It will be amazing how many different people you will meet in different situations.
- Plan a social event or social activity you can do with friends such as a winery visit or life art class or a night at the theatre
- Make sure you prioritise always see someone socially every weekend.
- Find other women like you. Join groups with women that you find interesting such as women’s circles, go to a yoga or meditation class or do something that you are passionate about.
- Search out friends you had at school, you might be amazed at what you still have in common even after so many years apart. It is easy to do now-days with facebook.
- Connect with your children’s friends parents, you already have things in common with them.
- Make friends on facebook, join groups and share openly to make friends, private message your new friends and organise to connect up for coffee
- Organise catch up with friends, phone friends regularly and keep in-touch with people you meet.
- Organise lunch with someone every week or meet up for coffee and cake
- Make plenty of time for passions and hobbies, attend different classes finding new interests, hobbies and learn a new skill as well as meeting new people
Go outside into nature, walk every day and get some sun, vitamin D is a great way to improve your mood and connecting with nature will ground you. Join an exercise or dance class, along with being a great way to meet new people, it is also great for your happy hormones.
Have “me time”.
Start a journal and write about your feelings, why you are feeling this way, what you have learnt from the situation and most importantly what you are grateful for especially the lessons you are grateful for.
Get a pet.
Pets are wonderful companions, they give you unconditional love and have personalities of their own. Studies have shown that people with animals are happier and a dog is especially good as you need to get out daily and walk it, so every person you pass you can say hello to. If you walk the same route each day at the same time, you will find you will see the same people, you can start up conversations with them and after a while suggest you meet for coffee.
Laugh, giggle and be silly every now and again
Laughter really is the best medicine, it keeps you happy and thinking positively, it stops you living in the “pity-pit” and gives you the motivation to move forward. It also gives you wonderful stories to share with others, so laugh often and laugh loudly.. You may like our Inspirational Quotes. We add to them regularly
Reach out to others.
Social interaction with other people and friends improves our mood and reduces depression, keeping us happier, so find ways to be around people. Make sure you call and keep in-touch with all your close friends that matters to you regularly. Having a chat keeps the friendship strong and moving forward, it is very easy to just let friendships fall away, we need to work on them to keep them in our lives. Be the one to keep in contact.
Don’t complain, Be nice and Be kind.
People are attracted to others who are nice to be with, selfless and who are kind to others. Think about the way you are being as spending time with people who complain, are aggressive and just horrible isn’t nice. So if you want to be liked, be interested in others, listen to them and stop being horrible, self-centred and self-obsessed.
Do things for others
Consider volunteering for a charity or community service, you will feel good about what you are doing, you will meet some other lovely kind people too and helping people with things they need help with. Helping others builds your own self-worth and makes you feel happy.
My mum use to volunteer by playing the piano in the alzheimers ward at a nursing home. She enjoyed playing the piano and it made a difference in the lives of others, she met some wonderful people and felt so good about herself and what she was doing.
Go out and talk to everyone
Taking yourself out, to a gallery, a park, a café can be fun and a great social experience, chat to everyone that is around, you will probably find you are not the only one on your own, and others will also enjoy your conversation.
Spend time online
Chat to people on social media, you can make face to face calls to friends, join free zoom calls, watch live Facebook posts as they happen and chat to people on forums that you are passionate about. Start a group for like-minded people and share your knowledge about something you know.
Check for hormone imbalance.
Hormone imbalance can have a massive impact on your emotions, especially if you have just had a baby or are going through menopause. Fluctuations in chemicals can make you indecisive, cranky or sad, don’t beat yourself up about this, it will go with time.
Ask for help.
We all have periods of our life when we feel lonely but if after doing all of the above you are still lonely, remember you are not alone with these feelings and maybe you need to explore these feelings more as you might be suffering with depression or need some emotional help. Please reach out seek out counseling or therapy. Some Resources.
Loneliness can occur when something or someone is lost to us. The negative health effects are well documented but there are things we can do to reduce the loneliness in our lives. Start with trying one of our suggestions, just one that suits you, to start the ball rolling.