Feelings of loneliness are more common in our society today than ever before. Studies that reported on the percentage of Americans who felt regular feelings of loneliness showed an increase from 20% in the 1980s to 45% in 2010.
With the rise of social networking over the last 2 decades or so, we find ourselves evermore attached to our screens in place of spending time with people we are close to. Humans are innately social creatures and the craving for interaction with other people is deeply embedded within our psyche. While it’s not always possible to be around people that you’re close to, you can take steps to overcome your loneliness when it arises.
Here are 5 steps to tackling your loneliness:
1. Yield to the feeling
Instead of becoming angry or irritated at yourself for feeling a certain away, learn to accept what you are feeling right now and direct your attention to what you can do to help yourself.
Becoming angry or irritated is a sign that you are allowing your ego to surface. “I shouldn’t be feeling this way” “Why does this happen to me?”. These thoughts are toxic to your mind and body. Learning to accept whatever is happening in the present moment may be difficult in times of loneliness but it is a necessary step to be able to move forward.
2. Distance yourself from Social Media
As mentioned before, the rise of social networking is both strongly and ironically linked to the increased feelings of loneliness we see in our societies today. The images you see scrolling through Facebook showing the happy and bright side of everyone’s life do you no good when struggling with feelings of loneliness.
If you have the habit of pulling out your phone every time you have the chance, try to limit it to just once or twice a day and gradually reduce this. Experiment with this and see how it affects your mood.
3. Make an effort to connect
You may have people in your life that you want to meet up with or spend more time with. Sometimes, you have to be the one to instigate this and make it happen.
Take the necessary steps to reach out the person and suggest making some plans. You would be surprised as to how many people would be more than happy to do this. This can be both with close friends and family or even people who you have a loose connection with. Make the effort!
4. Learn to appreciate your alone time
Often times, we become so addicted to spending time with others or making sure that we have enough friends that we lose the ability to relish the time we have by ourselves.
Enjoy the freedom that comes with being alone and experiment with different ways you can love having just your own company. Put on your favourite tunes and go for a scenic walk or if you want to be productive, learn a new skill or exercise! The time you have to yourself can be invaluable in enjoying life and improving yourself as a person.
5. Expand your horizons
Sitting there and dwelling on how lonely you feel can be a negative, downward spiral to get into which will make you feel worse. Doing things which you haven’t done before or even an existing hobby pushes your perspective back into a positive frame whereby you can realise that you can take control of your life and your feelings.
By opening yourself to different activities and hobbies, you not only put yourself in an optimum position to build new social circles, but you also develop yourself as a person and gain new experiences. Nothing to lose right?
Feelings of loneliness are more common than you may think. It may be easy to isolate yourself when you feel like you are lacking in friendships but don’t worry, you are not the only one going through this! There will always be someone you can reach out to whether it be family or a complete stranger. As a final note, remember that loneliness is not here to stay. It will pass!