All of us feel alone now and then. But if you’re sinking deep and don’t know how to deal with loneliness, here’s how to break free and breathe again.
You may be having the time of your life right now, and I’m not trying to put a damper on your high, but at some point, you’ll hit hard times. It may not be your fault, but life is unpredictable and things happen that are out of your control. You may have friends and family that are highly supportive but at the same time, you’re going to feel completely alone. So we have compiled 12 ways for how to deal with loneliness for those moments.
How to deal with loneliness
When I was heartbroken by this guy who rejected me pretty harshly, I spent months waking up in the middle of the night crying. My friends and family were so supportive and listened to me expressing my feelings, but I still felt like no one understood me. I felt completely alone in a room full of people.
You may be feeling lonely, but there are ways you can deal with it so you come out of it and learn how to handle what you’re feeling. Everyone feels lonely from time to time.
#1 There is no quick fix. This isn’t something that you’ll go to bed feeling and then the next morning, you’re cured. Not at all. This is most likely something you’ve been feeling for a while and though it may come in waves, it’s always there.
#2 What’s making you feel lonely? Now, you may not know what the reason is. It could be something very subconscious. In that case, seek therapy to help discover what’s causing this feeling. Even if you know what it is, seek therapy to help you move past this.
For me, the feeling of loneliness was caused by someone not wanting me. That, for me, was something very difficult to overcome emotionally. I did it without therapy. However, I feel that with therapy I would have been able to process it without as many emotional breakdowns.
#3 Know that this is a feeling. This isn’t a fact. This isn’t something concrete and written in stone. Feelings are dynamic, meaning they change at any time. If you think you will feel lonely for the rest of your life, know that won’t happen.
People constantly move in and out of our lives, situations occur. Life is something that’s always on the move. If you think that this feeling of loneliness is going to be with you until you’re old and grey—stop it. It’s not going to be like that. [Read: I just want to be loved: Unlikely reasons for feeling this way]
#4 Reach out to those who love you. If you feel lonely, talk to your friends and family. They may not have the answers for you, but they’ll be able to act as great support which is what you need right now. Staying home alone, watching CSI:Miami isn’t what you need to be doing. You need to be surrounded by the people that love you. When I felt lonely, surrounding myself with my family helped me to laugh and get my mind off it.
#5 Talk to a professional. Sometimes talking to family or friends isn’t enough. It’s not that they’re bad people, but they just don’t understand how you feel or what you should do.
By talking to a therapist, you get tools on how to deal with loneliness and why you feel lonely. You may be nervous to talk to someone you don’t know, but they provide a great third person opinion on what’s happening. Something that your friends and family don’t see.
#6 Become self-aware. You may think you’re constantly in your head, but are you self-aware? If you spend most of your time thinking about loneliness but not thinking about your emotions and how your body reacts to this state, then you’re acting self-aware.
Like I said earlier, loneliness is an emotion, not a fact. How does your body react to this emotion? Is there something that triggers it? Is it a constant feeling? But looking deeper into this, you’ll be able to understand why you feel like this.
#7 Get out. You need to get out of the house. I don’t care if it’s just to the market or to pick up your child from daycare. Just get outside. Try making yourself go for a walk once a day for three minutes. Put your headphones on and just walk.
#8 Focus on someone other than yourself. Sometimes, when we spend our time focusing on ourselves, we become lost. We basically swallow ourselves into our own heads, going over conversation or incidents over and over again. Though this can be good for processing our emotions, if this is all you find yourself doing, then you need to refocus your attention on something else.
Focus your attention on someone or something else. Get yourself a dog or hang out with your grandmother or baby cousin. Focus on giving your attention to someone else who needs it.
#9 Don’t cut yourself off from society. When I was feeling lonely, I stopped going out. I stopped hanging out with my friends and leaving my apartment. I felt nothing. But this is the wrong way to do it.
It’s okay to stay in on some nights, you don’t always have to be out, but you do have to socialize. This is a common mistake. You may feel like you want to be alone, but honestly, you need to go out and have a good time with you friends.
#10 Remove unhealthy things from your life. If you have a partner that doesn’t care if you’re feeling lonely and isn’t supporting you, you don’t need them. If you hang out with friends that push you to drink or do drugs in order to “chill out,” get rid of them.
Listen, people handle their issues in different ways, but picking up a bottle or snorting coke isn’t the way to deal with your issues. Sure, you feel good in that moment, but it doesn’t get to the root problem of what’s going on.
#11 Keep trying. I was feeling lonely for months and months, but I knew that I couldn’t just throw the towel in and call it a day. Sure, there were moments where I was like, “I don’t f*cking care anymore” and in that moment I meant it, but I knew I had to keep trying.
#12 Work on being kind. When you feel lonely and sad, it’s common for people to feel reserved and not necessarily mean to others, but their energy comes off as cold and uninviting. While you feel lonely, try to practice kindness. Whether you feel like being kind or not, practicing kindness makes you feel better, like something positive is happening around you. This positivity helps you move through this feeling.