Solo Activities For Managing Loneliness
Ever wonder to yourself why you feel alone even in a crowded room? Even in the midst of family and friends, all of us can feel alone and lonely. After all, from Elvis to Cher to Akon, musicians have been crooning about loneliness for years.
Do you know the definition of loneliness? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, loneliness means being without company cut off from others sad from being alone.
That’s because the emotions that get set off when you’re feeling alone can be quite powerful they can trigger dejection and depression, and in extreme cases, loneliness can lead to earlier death, says John Cacioppo, PhD, a psychologist from the University of Chicago in Illinois.
According to the Mayo Clinic, having a strong social support network is essential during tough times, whether from job stress or a year filled with loss or illness. A social support network is comprised of family, friends, and peers. Having intimate relationships with others helps you feel cared for and maintain optimism, and aids in stress management. All of these emotional benefits lead to stronger immunity to help you fight disease and stress.
Alternatively, according to Dean Ornish, MD, in his book Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, among heart patients, depression is as good a predictor of imminent death as smoking, obesity, or a previous heart attack.
Access Professional Support For Loneliness And Depression
If you have found that you continue to feel lonely and depressed regardless of any changes that you make to your lifestyle, you may need a helping hand in order to start feeling better.
You may want to start out by visiting your GP and explaining the thoughts and feelings that you have been experiencing. They can provide you with advice, support and if necessary, access to a service such as Priory where you can receive specialist support and treatment.
You can also come directly to Priory Group, where you will be able to sit down with one of our consultant psychiatrists to determine the best form of treatment or therapy for you to undergo at one of our hospitals or wellbeing centres. The mental health support and treatment that we are able to provide includes weekly therapy sessions, day or half-day sessions at one of our day facilities or residential stays, if deemed necessary.
Have A Plan And Stay Busy
Living alone with depression requires a schedule, so you do not have too much time to ruminate and spiral into negative thinking. A daily plan and set of rituals will assist you in creating structure throughout the day but will also give you a sense of accomplishment by living by this plan.
Staying busy does not mean you do not take a break but simply means having your days planned, and you can look forward to certain tasks or events, which may help with your depression.
Heres a quick example of how you can plan a day:
- 8:00 a.m.: Wake up.
- 8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.: Meditate.
- 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Make breakfast and watch television.
- 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Work.
- 5:30 p.m .to 5:45 p.m.: Relax.
- 5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m: Dinner.
- 7:00 p.m. t0 7:30 pm: Call a friend.
- 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Basketball league.
- 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Journal.
- 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: Read.
- 10:00 p.m.: Bedtime.
On the weekend this schedule will change significantly but remember that it is flexible and can be changed at any time. Sometimes just the thought of having structure gives us comfort, even if we do not follow it completely.
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Things To Do When You Are Feeling Lonely And Depressed
Let us start with a real-life story
Almost a week back a friend of mine called me and we started off with a casual conversation. With 15 minutes into our chit-chat session, she timidly said Listen theres a reason why I called you to which I responded Whats holding you back? Shoot!
She started to unfold her reason for calling me, I am feeling so lonely these days. I have tried nth things to keep myself occupied but this feeling of loneliness doesnt seem to leave my space. Please suggest a few things to me when I feel alone. So I shared a list of Effective Things To Do When You Feel Lonely with her.
Yesterday she called me back and told me that her feelings of loneliness have finally started to leave her side. I was happy about her victory! But, more than that I was proud of her decision toask for help when it was needed!
This real-life instance lit a bulb in my head and I realized that shes not the only one facing these feelings! There are many more people out there who might be feeling lonely. So, I decided to share the same tactics about what to do when feeling lonely and depressed. And because I have seen them working, I hope they will help you as well.
Heres What Happens To Your Body When Youre Lonely
Independence is an ideal. In American culture, few things seem as prioritized as the freedom of the individual. Loneliness, though, feels like a threatening concept. This creates a bit of a tension, at least for a garden-variety anxiety-and-depression-suffering-sad-girl like me.
Whenever I feel the sweet, blissed-out high that is canceling all my plans via text message, itâs usually followed by a quick burst of existential dread. Before cracking open a smooth 32 tabs on my browser and reading Wikipedia entries about cults for two hours, I often wonder, âam I isolating myself?â I mean, yeah. So how does oneâs constant struggle for maximum independence actually affect their health? Can being lonely have actual, physiological markers that you can see and feel with your bod? Of course! Existence is a nightmare! Just kidding. Managing our exposure to each other is a complicated thing, though. Everyone needs alone time, but experts agree that we need a considerable amount of human interaction and a few deep, meaningful connections to feel that ever-elusive thing known as contentment.
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Perceptions Can Affect Treatment And Outcomes
Looking at the causes helps people understand that being depressed is a medical condition, not a choice.
Depression can be, needs to be, and deserves to be treated. However, there are many different ways to treat the condition. What works for one person may not work for another, and some people have to try many different options before finding something effective.
Its also not unusual for people to need to try different treatments throughout their lives to manage depression, as the condition can change and evolve in response to changes in a persons life .
If you are depressed but dont understand why, you may recognize that you need help and may want it, but may also be struggling with the feeling that you dont have the right to ask for help.
Know this: Every person with depression deserves treatment.
Work On Emotional Regulation
Its totally normal to experience self-disgust, hopelessness, and other negative feelings from time to time. But how you deal with those feelings can make all the difference.
The researchers who explored the association between loneliness and depression suggest that reframing or suppressing unwanted thoughts can help reduce their impact and prevent the negative thought cycles that often trigger feelings of depression.
So, when a friend doesnt pick up the phone, try reframing, They dont want to talk to me to, Theyre probably busy, so Ill try again later.
If no one seems available, you might start to feel a little unwanted. But instead of letting these thoughts take over, try distracting yourself by thinking about something else or spending time on something that makes you happy.
Mindful acceptance can also help you get more comfortable with distressing thoughts. Mindfulness helps you learn to accept these thoughts and then let them go before they affect your perception of yourself.
Its always wise to seek professional support if symptoms:
- dont improve after a week or two
- persist even when you try to manage them alone
- affect your ability to function or take care of daily tasks
- cause problems in your relationships
- leave you feeling hopeless or worthless
Therapy offers a safe space to get to the bottom of your symptoms, identify potential causes, and get some guidance and support on treatment and productive coping strategies, such as emotion regulation.
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How To Stop Feeling Lonely
This article was co-authored by Donna Novak, Psy.D. Dr. Donna Novak is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in Simi Valley, California. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Novak specializes in treating anxiety and relationship and sex concerns. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University-Los Angeles. Dr. Novak uses a differentiation model in treatment that focuses on personal growth by increasing self-awareness, personal motivation, and confidence.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,106,504 times.
As the world gets more and more connected, it actually becomes easier to feel left out. Do you often find yourself feeling that way? You’re not the only one, that’s for sure. You may be wondering how to go about tackling these feelings of loneliness. First, you have to have a better understanding of yourself. Then, you can start making changes to overcome your feelings of loneliness.
Know When To Engage Or Disengage From The Online World
The online world can be a double-edged sword, especially when it comes to loneliness and social isolation. Log on or log offwhich is healthier? It all depends.
- The online world offers non-threatening and convenient ways to connect with others that can help if you’re trying to overcome loneliness. Things like multi-player gaming, chat and message sites, even online dating sites can offer ways to interact and engage with others that’s satisfying for some people. There are also online apps designed to help you deal with issues like loneliness and social isolation.
- What about social media? Is it good for you when you’re dealing with loneliness? For some people, the online world may contribute to even greater feelings of loneliness and isolation. Social media, for example, can portray people who seem to be living exciting, happy-go-lucky lives with hundreds of good friends at their side. Reality is that this is generally not reality. Social media can make some people feel inadequate, left out, and feeling lonely. Bottom line, if being online seems more isolating than connected, it may be a sign you need to log off.
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Invite Randomness In Your Life
When we feel lonely we tend to think as if excitement and thrill have stopped visiting our lifes door! Well, now thats not true. You can easily welcome excitement in your life by involving yourself in random acts.
From randomly planning a trip to organizing a party at your home, there are nth random ways to open the doors of excitement back in your life and explore the unexplored.
Avoid Feeling Depressed While Living Alone
Adults who live alone have an 80% higher chance of having depression than those who live with other people, according to a recent study. But living solo doesnt have to mean feeling depressed. Here are expert strategies for boosting your mood while on your own…
Whatever your reasons for living alone, a rich, fulfilling social life can ward off feelings of loneliness and isolation. Read on for 8 expert tips to help you stay happy while living solo.Tip #1 to avoid feeling depressed: Keep up your relationships.Take the initiative to make plans and extend invitations to friends, suggests Jessica LeRoy, a marriage and family therapist and an executive director of the Center for the Psychology of Women in Los Angeles.Ask a co-worker to lunch or happy hour, she advises.LeRoys other ideas for building on existing social connections:
Tip #6 to avoid feeling depressed: Be prepared for difficult times.Occasional twinges of loneliness are normal, so have strategies to handle vulnerable moments.To manage loneliness throughout the day, LeRoy suggests:
To cope with late-night loneliness, LeRoy recommends:
Tip #7 to avoid feeling depressed: Consider a housemate.Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates
Tip #8 to avoid feeling depressed: Get help if youre depressed.If you realize you havent enjoyed yourself for a couple of weeks , thats a sign of trouble, OConnor says.Other tip-offs that you might be clinically depressed:
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Write A Daily Gratitude List
When youre feeling lonely and depressed, you may find that you focus more on the negatives in life, which can leave you feeling even worse. One thing that you can do to change this is to write out a daily gratitude list, where you put down five things that youre grateful for or happy about each day.
Giving yourself the time to focus on these positives will help you to become more aware of the good things you have and overtime, can help you to pay more attention to these positives as you go about your daily life.
Join A Club Or Group Activity
Take a paper and a pen, now start curating a list of anything that piques your interest, I repeat anything. Now let us check classes, clubs, or activity groups that meet your interest areas. With this sorted, all you have to do is enroll yourself in it and form deeper connections with like-minded people. Plus, a supportive environment will work as a cherry on the cake.
Here we have arranged a list of Support Groups You can Join:
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Hit A Stranger And Light Up A Real Conversation
Connecting with others has an inverse relationship with feelings of loneliness. So how about connecting with a stranger? It is really an easy way in this list of things to do when you feel lonely.
Standing at the grocery store? Smile at random a person and spark a conversation. Ask the cashier how his day has been, let the old man bill before you while asking about his health. See, one location with so many occasions to shake off your feelings of loneliness! So, start connecting!
Easy Things To Do When Youre Feeling Lonely
Whether you’re feeling down about the number of comments on your latest Instagram post, or just have that sense that no one else really gets you, you’ve experienced it. Feeling lonely is, perhaps ironically, universal.
But, what is loneliness, exactly? Simply put, “it’s the discrepancy between what you have and what you want from your relationships,” says Stephanie Cacioppo, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, who specializes in the study of loneliness and social cognition.
Its not necessarily about being physically surrounded by peoplebecause you might feel especially lonely in a crowdbut about your mentality. When you feel lonely, its usually because you arent quite satisfied with what you have, whether its in that moment or throughout your life, Cacioppo explains. And until you’re able to pinpoint and then address what you’re dissatisfied with, you’ll feel isolated, left out, and in need of companionship.
The upside: Feeling lonely isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Cacioppo notes. It’s a reminder that something’s off about your social environment and that you need to prioritize your happiness.
Easier said than done, right? Thought you might say that. But here are 17 things you can actually do to feel a little less lonely, a little more confident, and way more connected.
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Why Is Loneliness A Killer
Social isolation raises the risk of all-cause mortality by 29 percent, whereas loneliness raises it by 26 percent and living alone raises it by 32 percent. A clear correlation has also been established between poor mental health and increased social isolation, with a greater detrimental effect on men and a higher risk of suicide.
Reflect On Your Feelings Of Loneliness
Recognize that loneliness looks different for people at different times of their lives, and that there are those who have many relationships, but still feel like something is missing. Ask yourself what loneliness looks like for you.
“It’s important to differentiate between situational loneliness and chronic loneliness,” says Bruneau. “Most people feel lonely from time to time, especially in today’s individualistic, independence-valuing, more-single-than-ever-culture. However, if I’m feeling lonely more frequently than usual, I get curious about the shift. Has something changed in my relationships leading me to feel more disconnected? Have I been nurturing my current connections and creating opportunities for new ones that make me feel ‘seen’? Am I intentionally or accidentally isolating ?”
Whether our loneliness is brief or chronic, questions like these can help direct us to the best way to cope, she suggests.
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Causes And Treatments Of Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Depression can have many causes, all of which are complex and can be difficult to understand. In some cases, feelings of depression can be clearly connected to an experience in someones life, such as a tragic loss or a violent event. Other people may be aware they have a family history of mental illness and, as a result, may not be caught off guard by a diagnosis of depression.
However, some people become depressed and dont know why. They may feel they do not have a reason to be depressedespecially if they perceive their life as being good or easy compared to others.
The pressure to explain or justify how they feel can make depression worse and may prevent people from getting necessary treatment.