Have you ever felt as though you were all alone, despite what your current circumstances are? Research suggests you aren't the only one feeling that way. According to the Australian Psychological Society, 1 in 4 Australians feel lonely. That's a huge amount of people feeling lonely. With all of the connectedness social media and our televisions supposedly brings us, it is hard to believe that feelings of loneliness are so common.
1 in 4 Australians feel lonely. That's a huge amount of people feeling lonely.”
As you can see, loneliness is an extremely common feeling. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks you can give a try that may help you combat those feelings. The tricks and tips include:
1. Reach out to the people around you.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our phones, television, or even just our own thoughts and feelings that we forget to be present with the people around us. Take some time to shut off the technology and be present with your loved ones; whether it be a lover, friend, or family member. Engage in conversation, ask about their day, make eye contact, and truly listen to what they have to say. This will help you build a stronger connection to the people you love, helping you battle those nagging feelings of loneliness.
2. Be more mindful about how you spend your free time.
Sometimes, we find ourselves getting sucked down the rabbit hole of scrolling through social media, binging Netflix, or playing video games. This is especially true when we are already battling feelings of loneliness. This is a great way to relax on occasion, but when you fall into the habit of doing these every single day, it will begin to take a toll. Scrolling through social media, binging Netflix, or playing video games bring you mind-numbing entertainment, but they also increase feelings of loneliness. This is because they keep you in your own little bubble with no chance of genuinely connecting with other people. Next time you find yourself tempted to zone out in one of these activities, try to hang out with a loved one instead. Maybe your partner and you can have a cook off, or your mother and you can have a trivia night. Maybe tonight can even finally be the night that you beat your father at checkers. There are so many things you can do with the people around you that will bring you closer to them and help you conquer your feelings of loneliness.
3. Volunteer within your community.
When you volunteer your time toward a cause that you are passionate about, you may find that you begin to feel a little less lonely. Volunteering can be a great way to meet new and like- minded people, feel like you belong to something, create new memories, and it can help you feel great about yourself as you help others. Volunteering will bring you all sorts of benefits from combating loneliness, all the way to granting you stronger feelings of gratitude.
4. Join online groups for things you are interested in.
Both Facebook and Reddit have some great groups you can join. Whether you love to hike or fan girl over everything Harry Potter, there's a group for that. Some of these groups may even get together sometimes. You definitely have to practice extreme caution about meeting a stranger you met online, but if done safely, it can bring you the feelings of understanding, connection, and friendship that you find yourself craving.
5. Adopt a pet.
This is a tip that would definitely present you with a huge responsibility and would take some consideration, but it is also a tip that could fill your life with joy and companionship. Whether you like the typical pets like a dog or cat, or are more interested in more unique pets like frogs or snakes, adopting a pet is a great way to battle feelings of loneliness.
6. Fill your schedule.
Those times when you have nothing going on and find yourself sitting at home doing nothing all day every day often bring with them feelings of loneliness. Find a new hobby you enjoy, take the time to check those pesky to-do's you've been procrastinating off of your to-do list, or start that passion project you've dreamt about your whole life in your free time. This will help keep your mind occupied an prevent it from falling into a deep, dark rabbit hole of negative, lonely thoughts.
7. Take care of your physical and mental health.
When your physical or mental health is suffering, you will find that negative, lonely, or depressing thoughts begin to appear more and more frequently. Making sure that you are taking care of yourself as best as you can may help battle your feelings of loneliness. You can take care of your physical and mental health by:
exercising or moving your body in some way every single day
getting regular health check-ups
getting enough sleep.
taking a break when needed
talking with loved ones when needed
8. Build stronger bonds with the people you love.
Sometimes, when we are feeling lonely, we think that we will feel better if we just meet some new people to add to our friends list. While that is a great idea, strengthening the relationships you already have is a very important step to battling feelings of loneliness. When you only form shallow relationships, it is hard to feel that deep connection, leaving you feeling empty and alone. Work to get to know the people around you even better than you do now. Cherish your relationship with them and don't be afraid to show them you care for them.
9. Find classes for things you love.
A great way to meet people you are likely to be able to connect with is through joining a class where you can learn more about the things that interest you. If you are in pottery, search Google for some pottery classes. If you are into yoga, find a yoga class nearby. If you are an avid reader, join a book club. Feeling as though you are a part of a group will give you feelings of belonging and assist you in battling your feelings of loneliness.
10. Seek the help of a therapist.
If you are struggling with your feelings of loneliness and they appear to be negatively impacting your quality of life, seek the help of a mental health professional. Therapy can help you get to the bottom of why you are feeling so lonely, recognise negative thought patterns, and teach you new coping mechanisms for future feelings of loneliness.
As you battle with feelings of loneliness, know that you are not alone. There are people all around you who would love to get to know somebody like you. There are many actions you can do to fight these feelings, helping you feel more connected and loved.