Loneliness is an epidemic.
No matter the state of your health, it seems harder and harder to find people to connect with these days.
To make matters worse, we’ve devolved into a society so obsessed with who is right and who is wrong and who deserves blame that it seems we’ve forgotten that we all share some common ground.
We all want:
- the best for ourselves and our families
- to be happy
- fulfilling jobs that pay us a fair, living wage
- easier lives
- be treated with kindness and respect
- to feel like we belong
- to know that no matter how bad things seem, everything is going to be ok
Even though so many of us have these basic desires in common, we just can’t seem to form deep, meaningful connections with one another.
And loneliness doesn’t discriminate.
Whether you are surrounded by people all day, every day or spend the majority of your days confined to your bed, chances are you’ve had to deal with more than your fair share of loneliness.
Here are some tips that may help.
7 ways to conquer loneliness:
- Try to find common ground with the people you run into each day.
Acknowledging a shared experience can go a long way towards connecting with the people around you. Even something as small as saying, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” to a stranger can make you feel less alone.
- Express thanks to the people in your life.
If you have people in your life who check in with you regularly, make sure that they know you appreciate their time and attention.
- Be kind to everyone you meet.
We all are suffering. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
There is already more than enough pain in this world. Let’s try not to spread any more of it around. You never know what the person next to you is dealing with, so seriously, be kind.
- Try to connect with the friends and family you have.
A lot of perfectly good relationships wither due to lack of nurturing. If there is someone in your life that you’ve lost touch with but genuinely like, reach out and say, “Hi.”
- Volunteer for a cause you care about.
If you are physically able, spending even an hour a week helping to support a cause you care about can be a fulfilling social experience
- Spend time with pets.
They are cute, soft, fuzzy, and an amazing source of unconditional love. My life is far richer with my cats than it would ever be without them.
- Seek out therapy.
Being lonely is hard. Not only does having a therapist guarantee that you’ll spend some time with another human every week, they can also help you come up with solutions for whatever issues you are facing, including loneliness.
It may not sound like much, but these small acts can help you feel more connected to our common humanity. And sometimes, that is enough to help us feel less lonely.
Helpful things to remember when trying to relieve loneliness:
- Don’t assume that you are the only person you know with this problem.
It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of comparing your life to the snippets of someone else’s life you see on social media. Very few people share their struggles online, so you are only glimpsing one side of their story – the highlights.
- Give yourself, and others, the benefit of the doubt.
Putting yourself out there can feel uncomfortable. Maybe even scary. But people are busy. If the person you’re trying to connect with doesn’t seem to have time for you, try not to take it personally. Chances are, their “no” has nothing to do with you.
- Don’t give up.
It’s never easy putting yourself out there and trying to connect with others, especially when it seems like nothing is working. But please keep making the effort.
Making personal connections is hard, even under the best of circumstances.
But what can you do to feel connected with others when dealing with less-than-ideal situations?
Here are some options:
- Watch tv or listen to podcasts.
Sometimes just hearing another human voice is enough to make you feel less alone. Bonus points if you find shows that make you laugh or cover topics you’re passionate about.
- Join online groups and/or forums.
Sometimes supportive communities are only one click away. There are groups and forums out there for nearly every interest you have or struggle you may be facing. Seek out a few and see if they may be a good fit for you.
- Know that no matter what you are going through, others are going through it too.
No matter how alone you may feel in any given moment, you are never truly alone. Someone, somewhere, is dealing with the same struggles you are dealing with. We all walk through hard times. We all deal with pain or loss in one way or another during this life, and while no one likes to acknowledge that, there is some solace in it.
Even if you can’t meet your need for social connections, give yourself the gift of exploring your creativity. Or your spirituality. Try to focus on doing the things that bring you joy.
But most of all, be kind to yourself. Loneliness is rough.