Loneliness can be defined as feelings of isolation or a lack of social inclusion and support. Although our contemporary world makes social interaction so easy, we as a society are much lonelier than in the past. This is because we lack face-to-face interactions – the most important method of communication - and rely on technology for connectedness. Moreover, a societal emphasis on productivity and efficiency also contributes to feelings of loneliness. When we have nothing specific to do, we begin to feel restless, bored, and sometimes empty. It is difficult to change our fast-paced and disconnected society. We can, however, change our mindsets so that being alone is no longer synonymous with being lonely. Here are some tips to help you conquer loneliness.
1) Realize that alone time is productive.
Being alone can help us be more creative, as we are working on our own and relying on ourselves. It can increase focus and prevent us from social loafing (exerting less effort into a project when working in a group) or procrastinating. Having free time helps us recharge our minds and bodies, so we are ready to be more productive later on. If we begin to view alone time as a choice rather than the result of lacking friends or tasks, then we are less likely to feel lonely during these times. Sometimes all it takes is a shift in mindset!
2) Find something to look forward to.
Having an experience to look forward to, especially when it involves other people, is a great way to feel less lonely. Looking forward to interactions with our loved ones helps us realize that how we are feeling now is temporary. By taking time to jot down upcoming events, we can automatically feel less lonely. A calendar is a great tool for this, as it can serve as a reminder of everything good that is yet to come. You can easily hang one up in your living space!
3) Practice mindfulness and live in the moment.
Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and acknowledging our thoughts and feelings and accepting them without judgment. When we are mindful, we acknowledge that we are feeling lonely in the present moment. However, we do this without over-thinking the past or the future. This allows for peaceful thinking. By living in the present moment, we are also able to focus on what is going on in front of us. For example, while making dinner, try to focus solely on the task at hand while letting your thoughts and feelings come and go naturally. By being more mindful, our feelings of loneliness are less likely to spiral into anxious thinking, as we are grounded by the present moment.
4) Practice a hobby.
Having a hobby is a great way to feel less lonely. By designating alone time to do something we love, we are less likely to fixate on feelings of loneliness. Hobbies can include exercising, creating artwork, or even performing household chores. These hobbies are also productive and can give us a sense of accomplishment.
5) Talk about it.
Talking to someone about how we feel is a great way to express and release our emotions. This someone can be a friend, a family member, or someone on a help line who is there to listen. We are also better able to work through our feelings by presenting them to someone else. By doing this, we can discover the cause of unwanted feelings and thoughts, and we can find solutions for them. Talking to someone about our situation gives us a form of social support, which is also helpful in overcoming feelings of loneliness. It is important to remember that you are never alone in how you feel. The tips above may help you conquer feelings of loneliness by helping you gain social support and a new perspective.