In a previous post about loneliness, I explored the impacts of loneliness and how the stories we tell ourselves can impact whether or not we feel worthy of connection with others. But what can we do to help ourselves deal with these feelings and even move beyond feeling lonely? Here are a few tips to help you cope with loneliness.
Coping with Loneliness
It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. Experiencing loneliness is part of being human. Try considering loneliness as just the mind’s reminder that you’re built for connection and desire to be accepted and belong.
Try some self-reflection to identify the obstacles that keep you feeling disconnected. Do some of your behaviors or choices keep you isolated from others? Do you experience any anxious thoughts that make interacting with others scary? Deep down, do you have any doubts about your worthiness for connection? Naming the obstacle can be half the battle. Try to be honest, yet compassionate with yourself.
Consider finding a way to do something for someone in need. It might be someone you know, such as a family member, or someone you don’t know. Shifting your focus outside of yourself may allow you to have a moment of feeling connected with someone else. It might also cause you to feel proud of your efforts to help someone else.
Another great way to shift your focus is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down a few things that you’re thankful for. Over time, you’ll become aware of the little details of life that you can be thankful for. Practicing gratitude can be a platform to shift your focus from the difficult emotions of loneliness to a more optimistic outlook on all of life’s events.
There’s a reason that dogs are nicknamed “man’s best friend”. A surprising amount of connection can be found when we care for and relate to an animal. Cultivating a relationship with a pet can be a significant way to cope with loneliness and increase one’s sense of meaning and impact in the world.
All of us are likely to experience a sense of loneliness during some momentary or extended parts of our life. The more we can come to a place of acceptance regarding this natural phenomenon, it’s likely that the feelings of loneliness will be less distressing. If we explore ways to bolster our spirits and look for opportunities to connect with the world around us, we will move from where we are now to somewhere new.