As we’ve mentioned before, loneliness is not the same as social isolation. Loneliness is when your desire for social contact/connection is not met, regardless of whether you see people regularly or not at all. As humans, we’re biologically wired for social contact, so it is perfectly normal to feel low when we experience loneliness.
So, what do we do when loneliness strikes?
Learn more about yourself
The more you know about yourself, the more you can do to help yourself. If you’re completely unaware of how much social contact you need to keep loneliness at bay, then you’ll be fighting a losing battle.
Recognise when, where, how frequently and who you’re with when you feel lonely. This way, you’ll be aware of which environments and circumstances make you lonely. But if they’re unavoidable, try some of the following…
Talk about it
It’s become somewhat of a cliche to encourage talking about your feelings - but it’s all for good reason. Keeping thoughts, emotions and feelings locked up in your head only intensifies them - or encourages your brain to build upon them.
By opening up to someone, you can alleviate some of this pressure and even begin to make sense of it yourself. If you don’t have a close friend, family member or colleague you can talk to, you could also contact Samaritans by calling 116 123 or emailing email@example.com.
Join a group
This could be a fitness class, reading club, gaming club, special interest class, peer support or anything that brings people together. Having a scheduled meeting with a group of people that offers enough social contact to satisfy your social needs is absolutely worthwhile.
Go to places where there are people/animals
Again, it’s about understanding yourself and the level of social contact you need. If you feel less lonely in the presence of animals, visit popular dog-walking spots. If you like to be surrounded by others but don’t necessarily want to talk, go to the cinema. And if you’re keen to make some small talk, join a group as mentioned above. It’s important to create your own opportunities to prevent loneliness from striking. You are in control here.
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