If you’re looking for an answer on how to cure loneliness in your own life, take comfort in knowing that there are millions of others feeling it too, and there are many ways in which you can overcome this phase.
If you’re feeling the loneliness blues, you’re not alone. Millions of people are going through similar struggles. It’s estimated that nearly half the world’s population will experience loneliness at some point in their lives, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated one’s sense of loneliness.
Even those who appear connected and popular can feel isolated from others.
Loneliness is subjective. It’s possible to feel lonely even if you have a significant other, children, or lots of friends.
It’s important to accept that you are feeling lonely rather than pushing it under the carpet. Once you’ve done this, you will open your mind to the countless ways that you can get help to deal with isolation and the negative emotions that accompany it.
Here are 10 tips that will go a long way in helping you to overcome loneliness:
1. Join a Class or Club
Whether it’s an art class, exercise class, or book club, joining a class or a club automatically exposes you to a group of people who share at least one of your interests.
There are many online events that you can look up and join. By being a part of such events, you realise you belong to a larger collective and you feel more connected with people.
2. See a therapist
Research suggests that loneliness and symptoms of depression can perpetuate each other, meaning the more lonely you are, the more depressed you feel, and vice versa.
Sometimes just “getting out there” and meeting other people and following a list of tips on “how to not feel lonely” may be good only in theory and isn’t enough for extreme cases.
It’s possible to still feel lonely when you’re around people, which could actually be a sign of depression or social anxiety.
If this is the case for you, it may be a good idea to seek counselling, therapy. There may be deep rooted issues that need to be sorted out at a clinical level.
Whatever you do to try to combat loneliness, know that you are truly not alone and there are many things you can do to feel more connected and innumerable people who are more than willing to help you.
3. Talk to a friend and get the feel –good hormones alive and kicking
You could do something as simple as making an everyday call to a good friend, your grandchild, your kids – any person whose voice gives you joy and a positive vibe.
You share an understanding of life and one another with certain people. When you experience this emotional connection on facetime or a phone call – oxytocin – the trust and love hormone, is released into your bloodstream.
Oxytocin triggers a fountain of serotonin and dopamine.
Never underestimate the feel- good feeling from a warm hearty conversation, which keeps your dopamine levels happy for a long while!
4. Talk to strangers
Sometimes, you can have the nicest conversations with people you have never met or seen before. Maybe the reason is because you feel a strange inter- connectedness, that we all need to feel – being a part of a larger community in this world.
You are an energetic vibration in the vast cosmos who carries the potential of spreading good energy to the next being. It sure feels good and it turns out talking to strangers isn’t a bad thing at all. But do be careful and don’t divulge any personal information that can remotely put you in harm’s way.
5. Keep busy and focus on the present moment
“One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking of you….”lyrics of an inspirational hymn that encourages us to be in the moment and derive strength from a higher power.
Most times our mind is our worst enemy – nagging us into unnecessary fear and states of despair – because we’ve not controlled it and we allow it to self-sabotage.
Fear, it turns out, is the demon to overcome during this pandemic, and through life in general. And it generally stems from the mind. One way to negate fear (we fear situations that have not yet happened), is to be focused on your present. It’s hard, almost impossible, I hear you say – but no harm trying.
Additionally, find a hobby or something to do that enlivens your spirit and occupies your mind. It goes a long way in helping you be in the present moment, and stay happy from within.
6. Practice Self- Care
As part of the above point, I have come to realise we too often make the mistake of making other people responsible for our happiness, our feeling of worth, our love etc.
When we learn that we can experience the deepest and most everlasting joy from within our own beings, we stop empowering everyone and everything else to be in charge of completing us.
We complete us. We accept ourselves – the good, the bad, the quirks – that’s when we truly start loving ourselves, not in an arrogant way, but in a way that acknowledges the journey we’ve been on and ensuing lessons learnt.
So eat nourishing food, drink well, dance like everyone’s watching, sing loudly, walk tall, and be merry…
7. Adopt a pet
Animals give you unconditional and forever love and joy. Anyone who has experienced the blessing of nurturing animals will tell you that there is no greater joy than being in the company of these extraordinary beings.
But be aware, taking care of pets requires energy, time and resources. And as we age, it does get more challenging, especially if you live alone. There are trips to the vet, etc. Also as brutal as it may sound, some elderly people pass away and leave many pets behind. This can create more problems and a grieving pet to add to it.
8. Volunteer a skill
Depending on your physical ability, donating your skills, talents, time and energy to causes that need you, is a profoundly noble deed.
The joy and love you feel from engaging with people in need, is inexplicable. Your time is also spent in a positive and constructive way.
You can also start an online class with a friend, and spread some joy.
9. Me – Time Ritual
Even if you’re lonely, you need to honour some time with yourself alone. Set aside a certain time of the day for a small ritual. Whether it’s tea, a snack, a prayer, meditation, yoga, music, dance, soaking your feet in aromatic salt water, or just deep breathing – a few minutes of Me-time makes you feel wonderful about you!
10. The power of positive self- talk
Positive self-talk is an inner monologue that makes you feel good about yourself and everything going on in your life.
It’s an optimistic voice in your head that encourages you to look at the bright side, pick yourself up when you fall and recognise when you make a mistake.
Positive self-talk tells you things like:
“Just for today, I’m going to not worry”
“I don’t feel too great today, but things could be worse.”
“I surrender my worries to God. It is in him I put my trust.”
“I am healthy. I am happy. I am blessed.”
Positive self-talk allows you to look at the bright side and encourage yourself.
Chants, affirmations, prayers when constantly repeated work on your energy center and your aura. Your mind finally gets that you’re serious about not giving in to it and self-spiralling into fear and anxiety.
Finally, keep yourself amused, life’s too short to give into its constant challenges. Find things to laugh about and you will feel so much better:
A guy goes into a pet shop and tells the owner that he needs a pet for his mother. The guy says that Mom lives alone and could really use some company.
Pet shop guy says, “I have just what she needs. A parrot that can speak in 5 languages. She’ll have a lot of fun with that bird.” The guy says he’ll take the parrot and makes arrangements to have the bird delivered to his Mom.
A few days pass and the man calls his mother. “Well Mom, how did you like that bird I sent?” She says, “Oh son, he was delicious!” Aghast, the guys says, “Mom, you ate that bird? Why, he could speak 5 languages!” Mom says, “well, he shoulda said something.”