05 Therapist-Approved Approaches for Dealing with Loneliness
Feeling alone is not enjoyable no matter what your circumstances are. However, with a little work and some advice from mental health experts, loneliness might seem a little bit less awful. You've got this.
Speaking from experience, loneliness may seem like a huge blow to your ego and can accompany a ton of other feelings like hopelessness and unhappiness. Once you made camp on the shores of adulthood, it's possible that you lost contact with pals. Maybe you split up with your partner or moved away from your family. The possibility that you are surrounded by others but lack emotional or physical connection, as well as a lack of shared beliefs or interests, can also contribute to feelings of loneliness, according to therapist Daria Stepanian, LMFT. Relatable? Absolutely.
Enjoy your freedom to spend your alone time whatever you like.
It might be simple to concentrate on what you don't have when you're feeling lonely, such as a close-knit group of friends with whom you can hang out or a meaningful relationship. Even while such emotions are real, you also have every right to happiness, and you are free to look for it. According to therapist Jin Kim, LMFT, engaging in joyful activities might make you feel less lonely and therefore a little bit better. So think about the things you truly want to do with your spare time, such as lose yourself in a fantastic book or TV show, listen to your favorite music in its entirety, or go sit in the park for hours—whatever makes you laugh or happy.
Do what you want to do, even without a companion.
People frequently become fixated on the idea that they must travel in groups, but therapist Erica Turner, LMFT, argues that if you enjoy yourself on your own, you may meet someone who may become a friend. "You'll find people there who like to do some of the same things the more that you're like, 'I'm going to this museum' or 'I'm going to this cookout,'" the author said.
Even if you don't meet anybody else who shares your interests, you'll at least have some time to yourself. According to certified clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D., solitude is "a feeling of being alone and independent while enjoying your own company," and that's actually very useful since it allows you to focus less on loneliness and more on solitude. Time alone might feel more like a gift than a curse if you can change your perspective to focus on taking care of yourself.
Join clubs with similar interests to yours.
According to Sophia Choukas-Bradley, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, joining a club (or just a group of individuals with similar interests that isn't called a club but should be) is a terrific way to make real-world relationships. For instance, Dr. Choukas-Bradley claimed that when she relocated to a new location, she joined a feminist book group. Do you know of any running clubs you may join? What if a club got together once a month to display their interesting cars? Hey, it most likely does!
Spend some time exploring.
Even if you don't interact with anybody while you're out in public, grieving and trauma therapist Katherine Hatch, LCSW, believes that just being in public may help you feel less alone. The most important thing, according to her, is to just be in contact with other people. You may work at a coffee shop, go window shopping, or do whatever makes you feel comfortable. People are social beings by nature, so having a sense of belonging to a bigger group is important to us, argues Kim.
If you feel comfortable doing so, Hatch advises making eye contact with people you pass at a restaurant, store, or other public place. One might establish a little relationship by doing that or by just saying hello and goodbye to strangers. Naturally, if they don't reciprocate, it might not work, but it might still be worth a go.
Keep in mind how awesome you are.
If you experience loneliness together with poor self-esteem, that makes sense. According to psychiatrist and psychotherapist Melissa Shepard, MD, "we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves when we're lonely." "Because we blame ourselves for being alone, loneliness tends to be more painful." Yes, it is unfortunate.
Stepanian advises making a mental (or written) list of the things you appreciate about yourself and the reasons you're sort of a big deal. This may sound ridiculous or unpleasant. This could enhance your self-esteem a little and prevent you from spiraling downward. Then, Dr. Shepard advises you, to remind yourself that you're not alone in your struggles and that there are others who can relate.
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