Loneliness is an emotional state one may experience regardless if they are physically alone or not. Whether you’re surrounded by people in your home or you live alone, the feelings of loneliness can drastically creep up on you, leaving you filled with several other difficult emotions. There are many things that may contribute to loneliness, to name a few:
- Grief and Loss (unresolved- due to loss of loved one, divorce, break-up etc.)
- Depression (and other mental health issues)
- Loss of meaning in life/lack of fulfillment
- The holidays
- Changing of the seasons
- Hormonal changes
- Moving to a new city, state or country
- Empty nest syndrome
- Loss of job
- Physical injuries
- Physical isolation
The aforementioned are a few situations that may lead to loneliness. However for some, they may feel lonely just because. Below, I will share eight ways to overcome your loneliness, whether it is seasonal or long-term, we often have to make a conscious effort to combat these feelings.
- Phone an old friend: Think of someone you have wanted to connect with, but never quite got up the urge to do so. Reach out to that person. Let them know you are thinking of them. Let them know you are trying to stay connected with the important people in your life. It is likely they will be glad to hear from you. You’ll be glad you reached out.
- Incorporate a mind, body and spirit practice into your life: Things such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage therapy, and other forms of relaxation techniques can help to improve mental and emotional health. This can help you to focus less on the difficult emotions.
- Volunteer your time: Whether you are helping a co-worker, family member, friend or your community, servicing others can be a great way to help uplift your mood. Find different activities to do locally, or online that will help you to become more involved.
- Dive into performing arts: Often time allowing oneself to be consumed by creativity can make you us forget all about the fact that we are lonely. For example:
- Learn to play a new instrument
- Write about your loneliness in the form of poetry or a short story.
- Take singing lessons
- Talk to Strangers: As children, many of us were informed that we shouldn’t talk to strangers. Although that notion served a purpose. As adults, sometimes it’s the only way we can meet new people or develop new connections. Talking to strangers can often help us understand the world around us. Whether passing by in a grocery store, walking in the park or on a new job, release your fears a little, and saying hi to someone new. Ask questions, get to know people. It’s a means to helping us to grow as well as shifting our stagnant perceptions.
- Shift your perception: James Allen’s famous book “As A Man Thinketh”, addresses how thoughts impact our body and health, how our thoughts shape our sense of purpose, and how negative thoughts can influence our sense of calmness and overall life satisfactions. Your perception shapes your reality, hence, if your perception is that you are lonely, your reality will be the same.
- Take Stock of your life: Contemplate, reflect, take inventory of the little things that have inspired you, or brought a smile to your face. Pay special attention over the things you have the ability to change, whether that includes your mindset or you physical surroundings, you have more power than you realize.
- Get an emotional support animal: Some people find it helpful to find a source of comfort, emotional support animals can be helpful in this process.
As previously mentioned, loneliness is an emotional state. Keep in mind that many factors may be contributing to these feelings and sometimes recognizing the little things can keep you from this place.
What works for some may not work for all. If you feel you need more guidance, feel free to reach out to Capital EAP.
By, Ashley Vazquez, EAP Counselor