Loneliness is the kind of thing that slowly creeps up on you. You’ve been happily doing your own thing for a little while, but now you’ve suddenly become painfully aware of how, well, alone you are. Maybe you saw a lovely couple walk by hand in hand, or a group of friends laughing uproariously at something (or someone). What are you to do when you lonely?
But don’t worry – it’s completely normal to feel lonely. Even the shyest and most introverted introvert feels lonely from time to time, and that’s because we are human and innately crave interaction with others. You might need to evaluate exactly why you’re feeling lonely; are you missing someone in particular, or craving new friendship connections? Or sometimes it’s a feeling deep inside you that’s come from nowhere and you’re not really sure how to fix.
Here’s a list of tips that you can do to shrug off this feeling.
1. Help others when you are lonely
Helping other people makes it easier to get rid of the inward focus that feeds loneliness. There’s heaps of ways to do this – donate some of your old things to a charity shop or volunteer some of your time for a good cause. It will instill a feeling of gratitude and change your mindset. Even group events like a beach clean up or charity fun run are great ways to get involved in a good cause AND meet other people.
2. Reach out to people
The first and most obvious step to breaking out of a loneliness mindset is reaching out to other people. It’s quite possibly the hardest one for many, but also the most rewarding. This can be to anyone – an old friend, a family member, or even joining a hobby group to meet new people. Sometimes you just need to push yourself to catch up with someone or meet someone new – who knows, that little bit of human contact might just relieve the weight of loneliness off your shoulders.
3. Unplug when you are lonely
More and more studies are showing that loneliness is directly correlated with social media usage, especially platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat because of how photo-heavy they are. It’s strangely counter intuitive such a hyperconnected world would make people MORE lonely, but it makes sense when you think about it. It’s easy to mindlessly swipe through Instagram and see photos of every one’s apparently ‘perfect’ lives and wonder why you’re not having the same experiences. It’s important not to forget that people heavily curate what they let others see. Taking some time to unplug and walk away from social media can really help.
4. Get creative
Now that you’ve got some extra time on your hands after unplugging from social media, get creative! You can do anything – start sketching, writing, get a camera and start taking some cool photos. Throw yourself into a new hobby where you can create something wonderful to look back at and say, “Yeah, I MADE this!”. Drive towards creating something and a sense of self accomplishment does wonders for banishing loneliness.
5. Start a gratitude journal when you are lonely
A gratitude journal is a great way to keep track of your thoughts and mindset over time. It (gently!) forces you to reflect on your environment and what is impacting you at the time. Writing down something that you are thankful for, and the goals that you’d like to work towards can help re-establish a positive mindset and keep you going now and in the future.
There are lots of small steps you can take when you feel lonely to start getting back on the right path. Remember everyone feels lonely sometimes but you can do some things right this moment to start feeling less alone.