Try To Push Yourself And Recognize When You Can’t
Understanding that you are experiencing feelings of loneliness is a step in the right direction but can you actually act upon those feelings? Dr. Howard L. Forman, MD, a New York City-based psychiatrist and psychotherapist, says that the motivation to actually try and feel more balanced among your peers may be a sign that you can cope in the first place. “If you sign up for a gym class or seek out meetings with friends or contacts, it’s a tip-off that you may be lonely, but you’re motivated to actually address it.”
There isn’t a clear-cut path to feeling free of being lonely, but Dr. Forman says simply trying your hand at something new may help to break through to better times ahead. “If you try enough things, likely, one of them is going to pay off at some point.” He adds that feeling lonely is often episodic and not something that should feel like a life sentence any one of these strategies could help move the process along.
Simply trying new things when you really have no desire to do so, however, isn’t going to alleviate the situation. It’s important to take action if nothing is helping you feel better. “If loneliness becomes hopelessness, please seek out professional help. Loneliness can drive someone into serious mental health conditions that you may not be able to tackle on your own,” Dr. Forman says.
Learn To Enjoy Your Own Company
Sometimes, you might trick yourself into feeling lonely because youve internalized the message that you can only be happy if youre with others. This isnt true theres a lot of worth to enjoying your own company.
Experiment with ways of having a good time alone. Take a walk in nature , create something, exercise, plan a day trip or treat yourself to your favorite meal. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.
The Radio Is Your Friend
Its important to be mindful and embrace silence in our daily routine. However, when living alone, there is no one else there making noise or creating an ambiance you may enjoy during those quiet times. That being said, I have made the radio my friend and use this when the silence becomes too loud.
Switching to talk radio or listening to your favorite podcast helps fill that emptiness or quietness with something. It can feel like a connection to the outside world, and if you are currently struggling with finding a social circle, a familiar voice in your condo can bring you calm and comfort.
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Whos Most At Risk For Chronic Loneliness
Chronic, or long-term, loneliness can afflict all types of people. Its easy to assume that someone whos naturally shy and introverted might be most at risk, but outgoing, Type A, personalities can also suffer from chronic loneliness, even though they may appear to be the life of the party. This type of loneliness is not exclusive to any one personality type.
For some people chronic loneliness may become a side effect of a medical or emotional problem, including those dealing with the following issues:
- Substance use
Write Down Positive Memories
This is one of those pieces of advice you’ve surely been given before, but never actually committed to. Now’s the time to give it a real shot. Just dedicating 15 minutes per day to jotting down special moments you’ve shared with friends and family can be enough to overcome negative feelings, Cacioppo explains. The process will remind you you’re not alone, and the memories are bound to improve your mood.
Smiling at yourself in the mirror is an unusual askCacioppo gets it. So, she recommends closing your eyes and thinking of the last time you made someone smile or laugh and let your body do the rest. Will it feel strange? Yes. But, will it help? Also yes.
Just thinking of a time when you were feeling giddy will automatically bring a smile to your facea move that will set off all those feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain and trick you into feeling happier than you were just a few secs before. Once you’re feeling a little better, hold onto that feeling by leaning into something that makes you feel really good, such as cracking open your favorite book or going for a run.
7. Take note of all the things you’re grateful for.
9. Get a pet, or spend time with someone else’s.
10. Join a club or take a class.
11. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
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Mild And Moderate Depression
These are the most common types. More than simply feeling blue, the symptoms of mild depression can interfere with your daily life, robbing you of joy and motivation. Those symptoms become amplified in moderate depression and can lead to a decline in confidence and self-esteem.
Recurrent, mild depression
Dysthymia is a type of chronic low-grade depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood.
- The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time .
- Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as double depression.
- If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like youve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is just the way you are.
Take The Time To Slow Down
If you’re frequently busy, running around with your to-do list, or feel stressed by all the meetings at work, it might be time to hit the brakes.
“Sometimes when people’s schedules are back-to-back for too long, they start disconnecting from themselves and other people,” says Judith Orloff, MD, psychiatrist and author of Thriving as an Empath. “They get overwhelmed from overworking and too much stimulation. So the practice is just to relax and do what their body needs.”
Perhaps that relaxing for you could mean listening to music, taking a bath or just sitting with nothing to do and nowhere to be.
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Remember That You Are Unique
Feeling less than can contribute to feelings of loneliness.
Try to avoid comparing yourself to others. It is only human to look at someone else and feel sad when their surface-level feelings or apparent situation seem happier than our own.
We have pretty critical minds, said Coyne. Our mind has evolved to be our threat detector. And our brain is going to be keeping an eye on things like: Are you doing all the things to connect? Are you keeping up with the Joneses?
With these questions, she explained, some information can be usefuland some is not. The only way to really tell is to defusestep back and noticethat my mind is having a field day with my social interactions, Coyne said. And that gives me the liberty to ask: Is this helping me? Or can I organize my thoughts and mental energy in another way?
Sometimes, if we get hooked on negative social evaluations, we can get stuck in organizing our behavior around avoidance. As a result, you might not behave in a way that benefits you the most and instead youre feeding negative personal judgment, Coyne explained.
Such comparisons can create a sense of distance from others. However, that increases our sense of isolation. Its important to realize we never know what is going on in someone elses life.
Reassesing Thinking And Regain Hope
You can practice seeing things from a different perspective or associate them with positive emotions.
For example, you can treat alone time as an opportunity to grow, reflect, and connect with yourself.
Healthy solitude allows us to process and conceptualize our life experiences, whereas chronic loneliness encompasses perseveration upon the voids we experience in life, Magavi explained.
While chronic loneliness can lead to endless rumination, healthy solitude fosters clarity in thinking and can improve cognition.
Much like feelings of anxiety and depression, feelings of loneliness can wax and wane. Imagining betterment and engaging in mindfulness activities can dissipate feelings of loneliness, she added.
You could, for example, begin practicing yoga, meditation, or tai chi during your time alone. Looking forward to these relaxing activities might make you think about alone time in a positive light.
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Signs Of Walking Depression
I once read that succumbing to depression doesnt mean you are weak, but that you have been trying to be strong for too long, which is maybe a form of denial. So much of life happens somewhere in between being okay and complete breakdownthats where many of us live, and doing so requires strength. ~ novelist Matthew Quick
Walking depression can be hard to recognize because it doesnt fit the more common picture of severe depression. But it can be just as dangerous to our well-being when left unacknowledged.
This list isnt meant to be exhaustive or to diagnose anyone. But these are some of the signs Ive observed in myself and those Ive coached:
Nothing is fun. You root around for something to look forward to and come up empty.
You cant find flow. Working on your creative projects feels like a grind, but you keep plodding away. There is research that shows that neuroticism is associated with lower rates of flow.
Your energy is low. Maybe youre not getting enough rest because youre too anxious to sleep, or youre trying to cram too many tasks into a day, or youre punishing yourself by staying up. Whatever the reason, you are effin tired.
You feel worse in the morning and better at night. I remember explaining this to a friend, who found it mystifying. In the morning I felt the crushing weight of all the things I had to do that day. In the evening I was temporarily free from expectations and could enjoy a moments respite.
Steamy Showers And Hot Chocolate May Soothe Loneliness
How does a steamy bath or piping-hot cup of coffee sound to you? If it sounds downright comforting, you may want to read this:
“The lonelier a person is, the more showers and baths they take, the hotter the water, and the longer they stay under the water,” says John Bargh, PhD, psychologist and researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, who conducted a study on physical warmth and social connection. For his research, published in February 2012 in the journal Emotion, Bargh surveyed 51 college students about their levels of loneliness and everyday habits, and concluded that some people use physical warmth as a substitute for social warmth. The students who reported feeling lonelier also tended to linger in the shower longer.
There’s nothing wrong with this, Bargh contends people are not always in control of the reasons they feel alone. It could be due to a breakup, or a recent move. You can also use this finding to your advantage: Next time you’re feeling lonesome, whip up a cup of hot cocoa.
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Examine Your Existing Relationships
It really is possible to feel lonely in a crowd. If you already have plenty of people in your life and still feel lonely, you might want to consider the quality of those interactions.
What does the time you spend with others look like? If you simply exist together without really connecting, your interactions probably wont fulfill your social needs.
Instead of simply sitting in the same room watching TV or looking at your phones, try creating a more meaningful connection:
- Start a conversation about current events or other topics important to you.
- Participate in activities that allow you to learn more about each other. Take up a sport, get out in nature, or work on a project together.
- Practice random kindnesses. Leave flowers at a loved ones door, take out your neighbors trash, or cook dinner for a friend who had a bad day.
Theme : Paradoxes Of Loneliness And Depression
This theme described a number of paradoxes or vicious cycles that were apparent in various forms across a number of studies. Whilst some young people talked about a need or a tendency to withdraw socially, this came with an awareness that such avoidance could create or worsen feelings of loneliness.
During their depressive experiences, participants felt a distinct separateness from others and often chose solitude over being with others even when feeling lonely .
Being around people was, was always a bad thing for me. I constantly felt the need to be alone. .. and I always felt like interacting with other people was difficult for me. .. Ya, that was confusing because I felt lonely but I didnt feel like being around anyone at the same time .
Some young people described their friends showing a form of understanding by not asking too many questions, but then feeling cut off because of an apparent absence of overt concern.
Sometimes when some of my friends are .. ok with ignoring me, with not asking about it, I feel like kind of I know its ridiculous, but unloved. .
Another trap that some young people described was a vicious cycle of loneliness and depression, was the suggestion that the manner in which they processed feelings about loneliness reinforced their depression.
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Why Are We As Lonely And Depressed As Never Before 6 Science
People seem lonely and depressed even more so than in past times. Can science help us understand why?
Depression has always been a melancholy friend, but it didnt seem to take as much precedent then as it does today. Loneliness and depression seem to be in every household now, leading to feelings of hopelessness and even attempts of suicide. So, why is it so much worse than before?
How To Cope With Loneliness
I think it can strike anyone at any time. Even people who are in relationships can feel lonely. There is a big difference between being alone and feeling loneliness. I like my alone time and I like being alone.
I dont like feeling sad and lonely. Who does?
So how then do we cope with loneliness? Especially when all we want to do is make the world go away. Well, its not the most comfortable thing to do but its not impossible either. Here are 5 tips that help me when Im feeling lonely.
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Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse.
If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.
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Loneliness Can Wreck Restful Sleep
According to research published in the journal Sleep, loneliness can wreck your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep. Researchers measured the sleep cycles of 95 people in South Dakota, comparing them with the participant’s self-reported loneliness scores. None of them lived isolated lives, but some reported feeling lonelier than others.
The results? The lonelier the participant, the higher the levels of fragmented sleep. “What we found was that loneliness does not appear to change the total amount of sleep in individuals, but awakens them more times during the night,” lead author Lianne Kurina, PhD, said in a press release.
“When you feel lonely, you show more micro-awakenings,” noted Cacioppo, a coauthor of the study. This means you wake up a little bit at night even though you aren’t aware of it.
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Even If You Feel Lonelyyou Are Not Alone
If you are feeling lonely, reach out to an understanding loved one. If your feelings of loneliness dont go away or feel unbearable, or if you are feeling anxious or depressed, contact a mental health professional.
How do you know if youre taking care of yourself and your social relationships in a way thats vital to you? asked Coyne. A good way to look at it is to ask yourself some of these questions: Are you avoiding doing things? Hows your mood? Do you feel disconnected? Do you feel guilty for not talking to friends, or are you talking yourself into social situations? All of these can be signs that you need to take steps toward developing good, intimate, and authentic relationships.
Consider taking the step of making connections through a support group. Support groups address a variety of issues, from specific mental health conditions to various challenges, including grief and physical illness. Many groups are free and available online.
If you need help right away, contact a hotline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is .
Even if youre feeling lonely, know that you are not alone.
Learn How To Meditate
You might be bored because you dont know how to sit still or manage free time. This is especially true if you are used to being very busy. Instead of taking advantage of the free time, you may feel bored and uncomfortable.
Mindfulness is an important skill. Research shows that meditation has many benefits. It can reduce stress and depression and improve your overall mood.
You can practice meditating by setting a timer on your phone for 5 minutes. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, and close your eyes. Inhale through your nose and count for five breaths and then exhale for five breaths. Repeat until the timer goes off. Try to just focus on your breath. If thoughts come up, just try to acknowledge them- rather than judge them.
You can also try a Youtube Video or download an app like Headspace, which will have you follow a meditation prompt.
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