- Mental Health»
Good Ways to Avoid Loneliness
Everyone gets lonely at some point, but when you feel lonely more than not, it may be time to do something about it. Sometimes, just stepping out of your old routine is enough. Sometimes, however, you may need to take some extra steps. Here are some ways to beat loneliness for good.
One of the best ways to beat loneliness is to step outside yourself and help someone else. There are lots of people out there who could use a helping hand. Look in the phone book for non-profits in your community. You could help the elderly or sign up as a big brother or big sister to help small children. If you have a passion, look for a group with similar interests. For example, if you have a local theater company in your area and you love the theater, see if they need a volunteer. If you are interested in healthcare, hospitals are always looking for volunteers. The opportunities are endless.
Prolonged loneliness can sap your energy and turn your mood sour. Beat loneliness by doing some physical activity. Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins into your system, beating the effects of loneliness. If you're able, you can join a gym get out of the house and to put yourself around others who have a similar interest. If you prefer to stay at home, turn on some music and dance around or put in an exercise DVD and get moving. Take a walk or jump rope. Physical activity is a great mood booster.
Take a Day Trip
Sometimes all it takes to beat loneliness is to get step outside your normal routine. Look online for something near you that you can visit or do. Take a day trip to get away, do something new, and meet new people. Spend a day at an amusement park, visit a nature park, see a local attraction, or call up an interesting company in your area and see if you can take a tour of its facilities. When you're out and about, make sure to talk to those around you, even if it's just to give a compliment or ask a question. You might make a new friend.
Do you ever feel lonely even when you're around people?
Play With a Pet
If you have a pet, spend some time giving it some one-on-one attention. Pets are great loneliness-busters. In Japan, they even have a program where they provide robotic pets to the elderly to help them combat loneliness. Who knows - your pet might be as lonely as you! If you don't have a pet, volunteer once a week at your local animal shelter. Those animals are often starving for some attention.
Learn Something New
Instead of sitting alone in front of the TV, learn something new. Learning something new takes your mind off your troubles, expands your horizons, and makes time fly by. If you find a new hobby that you enjoy, you can hook up with others online who enjoy your hobby. A good place to start learning something new is instructables.com. Alternatively, go to your local library and check out the non-fiction area. Another great starting point is memrise.com.
Get in Touch with Nature
Nature can soothe the troubled soul. Do something to get in touch with nature. Take a walk or hike through the woods. Go collect items found in nature to make a craft. Learn to identify birds by their calls. Work in your garden or start an indoor garden. Pick flowers and learn about flower arranging. Learn how to identify constellations at night. Do a little landscaping around your yard. Visit a local botanical garden. Being around provides a natural lift to a somber mood.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Many people don't even know who their neighbors are. If that describes you, bake a cake or buy a little gift and go get to know your neighbors. You never know - you might make a friend who lives next door. Also, if you make friends with your neighbor, you might be able to keep an eye out for each other's properties.
Do Something You Already Love
All of us have something we love to do. Do you like to draw? Work with wood? No matter what you enjoy doing, you can always expand your skills. Look online for people who enjoy doing what you like to do and connect with them. How long has it been since you spent some time working on a hobby? Too often, we get bogged down with work and responsibilities and forget to spend time doing what we enjoy. Take some time to do just that today.
It's easier than ever to connect with people without ever having to leave your house. If you don't have a facebook account, start one and start connecting with people you may have lost contact with. Look through the postings at meetup.com to find like-minded people in your local area. Start a google+ account. These days, there really is no excuse to sitting alone in your house feeling lonely.
Let Go of "Should"
Sometimes the things we tell ourselves make all the difference. Many times, people who feel lonely are telling themselves "I should be out having fun" or "I should have more friends". Be careful of the internal dialogue you tell yourself and eliminate the "should's". We are all different - it's what makes the world a wonderful place. Make sure your "should's" are your own personal beliefs that work for you - not something you feel that others think about you.
Foster Your Current Relationships
In this hustle-and-bustle world, it's easy to forget about the people we already know and love. Take some time to send a card or a picture to a relative who lives far away. Pick up the phone and connect to someone who's been out of touch for a while. Re-ignite the relationships you already have to get out of your lonely funk.
Reach out to Strangers
We encounter people all the time, but we still adhere to the admonition we heard as children: "Don't talk to strangers". Why not talk to strangers? We are not children anymore. When you find yourself at the store, lend a compliment to someone or ask a question. When you're standing in an elevator with others, why not make a witty comment? Who knows, maybe the people around you are as lonely as you are! Start the ball rolling and say something. You never know where your next friend may be found.
Take a Trip
If you can spare the money and the time, take a vacation somewhere new. Travel off-season to take a trip for half the price. See something you've never seen before and connect with people who live far away. It refreshes the mind and can give you a completely different perspective.
Go to Therapy
If your loneliness has gotten so bad that you're depressed a lot and think about it constantly, consider seeing a therapist. Sometimes, talking about our issues with someone else can help us see the folly in our ways and figure out our own solutions. Sometimes other people can see things about our personality that we don't see. You can't fix something if you don't know it's there.
Invite Someone to Join You
If you're truly lonely, ask someone to join you. Is there a car show in your area? Ask a co-worker to join you. Do you like to bowl but have no one to go with? Ask someone from your church to join you. Reach out, and you may surprise yourself. If the first person you asks turns you down, don't take it personally. Keep asking until you get what you want.
Let Go of Negativity
Do you have a penchant for focusing on the negative? People tend to shy away from naysayers, so if you have a tendency to comment on the negative situations in life, take a step back and look for the positive. People love to be around positive people.
By following these tips, you can beat loneliness for good. If you have other tips for beating loneliness, please share them in the comments section below.