Feeling isolated and disconnected from other people can be one of the hardest experiences to live with. We are deeply social creatures, and a sense of connectedness is a fundamental human need that we try to fulfill in various ways when we’re dealing with loneliness.

In most cases, loneliness is not something a person chooses or gravitates toward. Circumstances such as illness, being unable to express yourself, and feeling misunderstood are just some of the ways loneliness comes about.

When you are feeling lonely, there are many ways of dealing with it, but not every path is a healthy one that will promote your overall well-being. This article will explore healthy strategies one can implement to deal effectively with loneliness.

How feeling lonely affects people

Loneliness isn’t caused by any one specific thing. People can find themselves feeling disconnected from others. One person might feel lonely because they struggle to share their thoughts with others, and so feel like no one understands them and their experience.

Another person might feel lonely because their closest friend or spouse has recently died. What loneliness does in most situations, however, is leave a person feeling alone, empty, and unwanted by others.

Loneliness is, to some extent, a state of mind. It’s possible to feel lonely even if you find yourself in a room full of people. When you’re lonely, you want connection with other people, but you don’t get it for one reason or another. This is one way that solitude differs and can be distinguished from loneliness – solitude is when you voluntarily isolate yourself, while loneliness is when you want a connection but cannot find it.

Social isolation can have many negative health impacts. For instance, not having the social connection you desire can put you at greater risk of depression, anxiety, dementia, heart disease, and stroke. Other impacts of loneliness on health include increased levels of stress, alcohol and drug misuse, poor sleep, premature aging, and tending toward diets that are higher in unhealthy fats, which can lead to other health issues.

Overall, loneliness affects people negatively, not only emotionally, but physically and mentally as well.

Healthy strategies for dealing with loneliness

Whether you are old or young, dealing with loneliness can affect you because there are so many varied reasons for it. The following are a few ways you can deal with loneliness:

Understand loneliness and how it affects you

When you feel lonely, that indicates you want connection but are feeling disconnected from other people. Take that seriously and understand how loneliness can affect you. Then you can begin taking steps to remedy the feelings of loneliness.

Change your mindset and set out to improve your self-esteem

A person’s state of mind can make it harder to form meaningful connections with others. If you lack confidence in yourself, you may assume that you aren’t worthy of meriting the attention of others, and you might be reluctant to reach out and connect with people. Instead of expecting to be rejected, having a more positive outlook may help you be bolder in making connections.

Connect with loved ones

In our internet age, it is easy to find connections of one kind or the other. You can jump on social media and find one group or another to interact with over a subject of interest. However, what matters with overcoming loneliness is the quality of your social connections and not their quantity. Connect with loved ones, especially your close friends, to help overcome loneliness. Reach out and arrange a coffee date.

Volunteer and get involved

Doing community service or volunteering is not only a wonderful way to meet people and have social interactions, but it can help you look beyond yourself and overcome feelings of loneliness. Getting involved in serving can help us feel connected to others.

Improve your existing relationships

There is a sense in which it’s easier to form new connections than pay attention to existing ones. Making new connections is exciting and important for your continued growth, but it is also important for you to nurture your existing relationships. Reach out to a loved one you haven’t seen or connected with for a while to strengthen your existing relationship.

Join a group

Joining groups and clubs is a fun way to meet people who have the same interests as you. Where possible, try to join groups where you will meet people in person to interact with one another. You can go for a cooking class, a neighborhood walking group, or a book club, enroll for a short course at a local college, or meet with others to watch and discuss movies.

Seek support

Loneliness will leave you feeling empty and as though no one cares for you. Reaching out and talking with someone that you trust such as a family member or a counselor can help. Sharing what you are going through can help relieve the sense that you’re alone, and a counselor can help you nurture a healthy outlook on your life and build deeper connections with people in your life.

If you would like to meet with a faith-based counselor in Redding, California to get additional help dealing with loneliness, please contact our office at Redding Christian Counseling today.

“Standing by the Lake”, Courtesy of Lukas Rychvalsky, Unsplash.com, CC0 License


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