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Nobody likes feeling lonely. Dealing with loneliness is tough – sometimes, even when you’re surrounded by people, it can feel like you’re totally alone inside your own head, and like you’re isolated from the lives and experiences of others.
Loneliness can be caused by anxiety and depression, but can also just be due to moving, breaking up with an important person in your life, or even the loss of a loved one or a friend.
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Feeling lonely is quite common indeed, so learning how to cope with loneliness is important. In this article, we’ll look at four easy ways in which you can deal with your loneliness in a healthy way, and help you recover and get back to a more healthy mental state.
1. Understand Why You Feel Lonely
Understanding why you’re feeling lonely is the first step towards coping with your loneliness. It’s important to distinguish between acute loneliness and chronic loneliness.
Acute loneliness is usually caused by an emotionally-charged event – the loss of a loved one, a bad breakup, or some other life-related trauma. This sort of isolation can be resolved simply with time, though taking additional steps (such as socializing, joining an interest-based group like a reading club, etc) towards healing can be helpful when speeding up the process.
Chronic loneliness, on the other hand, is often only a symptom of a deeper issue – depression is one of the leading causes of feelings of chronic loneliness, anxiety and other mental health issues may contribute.
Understanding why you’re lonely lets you choose appropriate treatments – acute loneliness may require nothing more than an increased effort to be social, while depression-related loneliness may need a therapist, clinical help, or a pharmaceutical solution.
2. Realize that You Are Never Alone
In today’s world, you’re never alone. People who love you are only moments away and can be reached through computers, smartphones, and other hi-tech communication devices. If you’re truly lonely, nothing is stopping you from reaching out to a loved one and expressing your feelings.
Your loved ones are also always happy to hear you talk about your problems, whether in person or over the phone or Skype. If there are individuals who care about you, you’re never alone – you’re in their thoughts.
However, it is important to not to indulge in gadgets based communication so much that you ignore more important people that are in your real life and closer. It should also be noted that gadgets or no gadgets, loneliness can be diminished if one takes a genuine interest in others lives and can give before expecting to receive. So always invest in a meaningful relationship through genuine care and understanding.
3. Make It A Point To Spend Time With Others
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Being social is a fantastic way to deal with feelings of loneliness. Obviously, you won’t be cured just by spending time with people – but loneliness can be self-perpetuating a vicious cycle. When you’re lonely, you feel like you don’t want to spend time with people – which makes you lonely. And of course it makes sense to befriend like-minded people.
By simply breaking this cycle, you can potentially mitigate and reduce your feelings of loneliness.
4. Join a Community
There are many online communities that are built specifically with people suffering from loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
This can be in the form of an app – Paralign is a startup designed to connect those suffering from mental health issues, so that they may talk openly about what’s affecting them.
Other options include message boards like Lonely Life. Even joining an online community that’s not about mental health can be useful – you can befriend people online, and know that there are always people thinking of you.
You can of course also join a community built around an interest. For instance, there are reading clubs, and then there is Toastmasters International for those who are interested in improving their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills.
The key is to break the cycle of loneliness by taking a step forward.
However, also keep in mind that some solitude is great. And as Jean-Paul Sartre had said, “If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.” Make sure you have time to invest in self-improvement, self-reflection etc by reading, contemplating, journaling most of which can only be done when you do have some time to be alone.