Loneliness hurts, and it can color everything in your life for a while. It’s normal to feel separated and disconnected from others at times. But at times, you may sense that gloominess around every corner. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can change your state of mind. These practical ideas can help you understand your emotions and learn how to cope with periods of loneliness.
1. Be present in each moment
Distractions are everywhere, and it’s so easy for your mind to wander. When you’re feeling lonely, this can take you further into sadness and worry. Instead, spend just a few moments guiding your attention to the present. Feel the moment through all of your senses.
This will do a few helpful things:
- It will take your attention away from whatever is troubling you for a short time.
- It will help you see something you might enjoy or appreciate that you didn’t see before.
- Ongoing practice can help you develop more gratitude for the positives in your life.
2. Be kind to yourself
It’s easy to feel self-pity when we’re lonely. As you dwell on your loneliness, you may start thinking negatively about yourself. Your entire outlook on life can slide into a dark place for a while.
To counter your loneliness, find ways to be kind to yourself. Inject some positivity into your day with uplifting meditations, positive music, or physical activity. This can seem a little fake at first, as if you’re pretending your feelings aren’t real. But self-compassion can keep you from drowning in sorrowful emotions. You can climb up and out of the dark place more easily.
3. Donate your time and talents
Volunteering is a great way to take the focus off you and whatever troubles you. It gets you around others, gives you purpose, and helps you channel your feelings into something constructive.
Sometimes you’ll get some appreciation, which can be a nice bonus. But even if you don’t get a “thank you,’ you can feel good about being generous with your time. Your gift to others is what sparks your day. Even if loneliness creeps in around the edges, you can keep your focus on your positive actions for the day.
4. Take advantage of small social moments
Make more connections during the day by taking advantage of small interactions. These moments are easy to dismiss – standing in line at the grocery store, passing someone as you walk out of the pharmacy. But each one is an opportunity to show kindness to another person, even if it’s only for a few seconds.
Challenge yourself to offer kindness to as many people as you can during your day. Hold doors for others, ask how someone’s day is going, or show genuine gratitude to anyone giving you personal service. You don’t know how much your kind words or gestures could mean to the other person.
5. Face and understand our emotions
Emotions can be overwhelming, especially when life’s challenges keep piling up. Your loneliness may seem ever-present sometimes. But if you look more closely, you may notice that your emotions come in waves. At times, they feel intense and distracting. In other moments, they may seem to ease up and change direction.
Simply saying “I really miss (name) today” can help you embrace your emotions honestly. As you do this more often, you’ll remember how to cope. You’ll know that you can get through it.
6. Understand that feeling lonely is normal
It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. Everyone goes through this, even people with large social groups and big families. You can be surrounded by a crowd and still feel lonely. Or you can be with just one other person and feel completely at peace. It’s about your sense of connection and how you perceive your world at the moment. This feeling may come and go, but it just means you’re human.
7. Get involved in a hobby
Diving into a hobby can help in two ways. First, you have tasks and activities that can keep your mind occupied. And an occupied mind doesn’t dwell on other things as easily. Your curiosity can also take your mind off your loneliness, and a hobby can give you a spark to get it going.
Another way a hobby helps is that you can connect with others that have similar interests. A local gardening group, a motorcycle club, or a weekly bowling league are good opportunities for regular social time.
Overcoming loneliness and finding hope
Loneliness is a normal part of life sometimes, but it can hurt. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by isolation and sadness, but you can get through it. With the practical tips mentioned above, you can find ways to find a sense of reconnection and hope.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.