Feeling lonely is a normal part of life. The crazy thing is that you don’t have to be alone to experience loneliness. You can be in a crowded room and feel lonely, the same way you can feel lonely by yourself in your room. Loneliness is more about not feeling a connection with anyone than anything. You may think that nobody understands you, even your friends and family.
According to mental health experts, there is a loneliness epidemic, which was amplified by the stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2021 study, for example, found that more than 50% of American adults were lonely by clinical standards. Additionally, there is a strong link between loneliness and mental health disorders. Adults with mental health issues are more than twice as likely to feel lonely and experience side effects of loneliness, compared to people without mental health problems. Finally, doctors found that lonely people tend to have weaker immune function, higher levels of inflammatory markers, and increased blood pressure.
Connecting with other people is necessary for your own survival. While it is natural to feel lonely at times, being alone too much can take a toll on your mental, physical, and emotional health. Loneliness is not a sign of weakness and you shouldn’t suppress your feelings. That is what it means to be human. You can always talk to someone or experiment with the following strategies whenever you feel lonely.
Call A Friend
You don’t have to see all of your friends and family on a regular basis to maintain closeness with others. Research states that virtual interactions, especially with a large group of people, may reduce loneliness and benefit mental health. Sometimes, a quick text can even boost your morale, but you shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good old fashioned phone call. In fact, a 2021 study found that a regular 10-minute phone call may ease loneliness.
Join A Group Or Club
Take your connections with others one step further by meeting up with new people. People from your past are great and you shouldn’t lose touch with them, but connecting with new people is often thrilling and exciting. Look for community activities or online meetups that pique your interest. Hiking groups, book clubs, business societies, or workout groups can help you form excellent connections. It’s amazing how full you can feel when you and like-minded people engage in a specific activity or talk about topics you love. Plus, joining new groups can help you meet more people and make lasting friendships.
Draw On Your Creative Side
Expressing yourself is often easiest via creative outlets, including writing, music, and art. Not only do these activities help improve mental health, but they may also help you feel more connected. Creating something gives you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, two emotions that may be difficult to achieve during a spell of loneliness or sadness. The most important thing about being creative is to find your flow. That means that you should reach a point in your time of creation when distracting thoughts of loneliness fade away.
Spend Time With Animals
Animals do amazing things for your mental health. They may not be able to talk with you, but they do provide companionship. Another living creature in your presence can provide comfort and their quirks can lift your spirits, or even relieve stress. Plus, walking a dog or taking your dog to the dog park can lead to human interactions. Dog people love to talk about dogs! If you don’t have a pet, consider looking into volunteer opportunities at local shelters or rescue organizations. Research states that engaging in volunteer work helps you feel less lonely. You may even be a great candidate for fostering a pet!
Do Something You Love
Doing something you love can mean more than you know, whether you’re playing video games or going to the beach. Engaging in a meaningful hobby not only fills your time until you can see loved ones again, but may also help you find inner peace. If you don’t have a favorite hobby, consider trying out hobbies that may improve mental health. Some of these include yoga, Tai Chi, swimming, hiking, baking or cooking, and more.
Take A Class
It’s very rewarding to learn a new skill or language, especially since the learning process can prove challenging at times. As we mentioned earlier, accomplishing a goal or completing a challenge gives you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Learning something new can open up doors that lead to new connections with people. Whether you sign up for a jiu jitsu class, a language app, a culinary course, or drawing class at your local community college, learning a new skill is highly beneficial. Being in an environment of people who also want to learn can excite you and take your mind off being alone.