“Why am I lonely?” is one of the most researched questions on the internet. There are billions of people on this earth who have numerous ways to connect with one another, yet being lonely appears to be an epidemic. There have never been so many ways for us to reach out to other people, nor have we ever been so socially connected, but there are a vast number of us who feel alone among the crowd.
How to overcome loneliness when you feel lonely
Loneliness is defined differently by everyone, and there are all sorts of reasons why you can be lonely. Sometimes it comes from outside, but mostly it comes from within. The key to overcoming loneliness is learning to live with yourself. Try these 30 things to feel less lonely.
#1 Have a party. When you have a party or get-together, it forces you to communicate with people whom you may not normally see. It may also encourage you to make new friends or invite new people. [Read: How to talk at a party and make an impression]
#2 Join a gym. Not only will exercise help chase depression away—it is also a great place to meet people with similar interests.
#3 Go for a walk. When you go for a walk around the neighborhood, you are likely to run into people. That will give you a better sense of community.
#4 Get a pet. Having a furry friend around to love you unconditionally is an excellent way to feel less alone. They may not be able to talk to you, but they will be waiting to welcome you home after a long day. [Check out: 7 powerful ways to combat and break out of loneliness]
#5 Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know. Make a vow to talk to someone new every day. Even if it is just some random person in the elevator, making connections with another individual will make you feel less alone, and will give you the confidence to form new relationships.
#6 Send messages periodically to your old friends. Often, we are not the only ones feeling lonely—so, too, are the people in our lives with whom we have lost touch. Sending a random email or text message to a friend leaves the door open for them to respond and will make you feel like you are reaching out. Taking stock of your friendships will help you realize how loved you are.
#7 Join a yoga class. Yoga is an excellent way to reconnect with your body and soul. It is not only an excellent way to meet new people, but is a powerful way to give you time to reflect, meditate, and be quiet so you can listen to your inner voice. [Read: Why is inner beauty more important than outer beauty?]
#8 Plan a guys’ or girls’ night. We get so stuck in our daily routines, we don’t take the time to connect with friends. Find a group of girls or guys and start weekly dinner outings. You will be surprised by how many other people are looking to get out of their daily grind.
#9 Go to the movies all by yourself. Going to the movies alone may sound like something that will make you lonelier. Often, being on our own forces us to be okay with flying solo. Finding pleasure in entertaining yourself is a very powerful tool. Immerse yourself in an action thriller—it will take your mind off of your problems and get you out of the house.
#10 Volunteer. There are always those who are less fortunate than you. Visiting a nursing home or volunteering at the hospital will give you a better perspective on how lucky you are. It may help you count your blessings and see that life is what you make it, and lonely is not what you want to be. [Try: 5 ways volunteer work can help heal depression]
#11 Go hiking. Being surrounded by nature is like a breath of fresh air. A hike is not only an excellent way to get exercise and clear your head—there is something about reconnecting with the world around you that can help you feel less on your own, even when you are by yourself.
#12 Ditch Facebook. Most look at social media sites as a way to connect. For some, they can be toxic. Seeing everyone always looking so happy can make you feel left out and as if something is missing. No one posts pictures of themselves feeling lonely and isolated. You only see what they want you to. To feel less alone, get off of Facebook and make a special point to reconnect with people you love in real life. [Read: How to make real friends outside your social networks]
#13 Join a support group. There are a ton of support groups for every circumstance. If you are sad because you lost someone in your life, or are dealing with a major life stressor, finding like-minded people can help pull you out of a rut. A support group can help you feel accepted and connected to others.
#14 Take a class. If you enjoy cooking, check out the local community college and see what they have to offer. Bettering yourself, or engaging in the things you love can make you feel less like you are just going through the motions. Finding a passion can keep you grounded and make your life more fulfilling.
#15 Question yourself. If there is someone in your life making you feel lonely, it is important to understand why and how they make you feel isolated. Is it their treatment of you, or something you are feeling and transferring onto them? Continually questioning your loneliness is important to get to the root of your feelings. [Try: Loneliness in a relationship – 4 “why”s, and 7 ways to fix it]
#16 Hire a life coach. Being lonely is sometimes about feeling that life is not what you expected. A life coach can help you define new goals and give you strategies to work toward them. When you are working toward something, you won’t feel so stuck and helpless.
#17 See a therapist. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. A therapist may be able to help you work through some of the reasons you feel lonely and set you on the path to overcoming your loneliness. Sometimes there are undiagnosed factors, such as depression or social phobia that may need to be addressed.
#18 Start a journal. There are likely some days when you feel more alone than others. If you keep a daily journal of what is going on in your life, you will soon begin to see a pattern of behavior that is leading you down the road to feeling lonely. Only by realizing what makes you feel isolated can you change them, but you won’t know what they are until you make a conscious effort to examine your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. [Read: Low self worth – 5 steps to see yourself in better light]
#19 Stop texting. It is difficult to feel connected to people when you don’t talk to anyone. Sending a text is a one-way street and often doesn’t allow you to engage with the people in your life. It may be easier to just hit send, but taking the time to pick up the phone to catch up with people in your life will help you feel much more engaged.
#20 Don’t do carry out–have dinner. Instead of picking up food to bring home and eat alone, have dinner out by yourself. Being out amongst other people will make you feel less alone. Have a seat and finish your meal in a restaurant.
#21 Don’t go home after work. Instead of retreating after a day at work, make a special point to make plans at least one day a week. When we run home to unwind, what we find is that we get home and instantly feel alone. Make a plan to do something, either alone or with a co-worker. The idea is to stay out and be in the mix of things, instead of heading home immediately. [Always at home? Check out: 14 signs you’re a homebody who needs to get out more]
#22 Join an intramural sports league. There are a ton of adult sports leagues. Whether it is a master’s swim team, a soccer league for adults, or a local softball team, cooperating in a team atmosphere will help you feel connected. The exercise is sure to lift your spirits. Sports are a great way to occupy your time and make you feel like a part of a group.
#23 Find a hobby. Find something you like to do, be it sewing, antiquing, searching through flea markets, or engaging in mechanic work. Being immersed in something you like will take your mind off of feeling solo, and will also create a goal to work toward that will make you feel more personally accomplished.
#24 Start a book club. Book clubs are a great way to get to know people. Having in-depth conversations about literature helps you to dive a little deeper, past the superficial. Often, loneliness is caused by having no real personal relationships. A book club will help you talk about your experiences and challenge you to think more consciously about life. [Need a jump-start? Read: How to motivate yourself to do pretty much anything]
#25 Join a church. Churches are one of the best places to find community. If you aren’t a religious person, you don’t have to become one. A church in your area is likely to have many programs that question the human condition, life’s purpose, and the unknown. Helping you feel more connected to something outside of yourself can help pick you out of your feelings of loneliness.
#26 Introduce yourself to your neighbor. It is not unusual not to know your neighbors, but it should be. If you live somewhere where neighbors are close by, take initiative, and introduce yourself. It not only could end in a friend made: if you ever need a cup of sugar, you have someone to ask.
#27 Take a break from your relationship. If you are in a romantic relationship, maybe it would be a good idea to take a break. That way, you can see if you are lonely with them because there is something in you that is missing, or if being with them makes you lonelier than being without them. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that things lie within us when they are more external in nature. [Read: How taking a break in a relationship works]
#28 Take a vacation. Getting caught in a rut can sometimes happen when staring at the same four walls. Take your saved-up vacation time and go away with just yourself. While away, focus on you, partaking in an adventure or a spa weekend. It will help you reconnect with the most important person in your life: you.
#29 Say “no.” Never saying no can make your life feel like one big obligation. It can also make you focus on the wrong things. Learning to say “no” means you can make choices for yourself and find what makes you happy. A happier you is a less lonely you!
#30 Mend past relationships. Sometimes, we have broken relationships that can keep us stuck feeling lonely. Getting closure is an excellent way to move on and allow that space to fill with someone or something new. Putting the past in the past, and settling or mending relationships can help you move forward and find what makes you happy.
[Next, read: The three stages to embrace and ultimately overcome loneliness]
Feeling lonely doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. Taking steps to move beyond your feelings of isolation may take conscious effort, but in the end, you will begin to see your world expand and discover all the potential to make connections around you.
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A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...
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