In this series on loneliness, we covered a lot of ground. The series touched on the mental and physical effects of loneliness. We looked at the differences between loneliness and being alone, and the effects of social media on loneliness. In our final part, we bring together strategies to help us combat loneliness.
Steps to Combat Loneliness
Loneliness is an unpleasant emotion that we usually feel due to social isolation or a lack of communication with other people. And, while nearly everyone feels lonely at some point in their lives, prolonged or intense feelings of loneliness can have a negative impact on both our mental and physical health as we have touched on in earlier articles.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pull yourself out of a lonely “slump” without some type of assistance. This help can come from almost anyone... be it a friend, family member or professional. Whatever you do, try not to panic because things may just get worse.
If you're looking for a solution, here are some steps you can take to stop feeling lonely and start feeling better right away. It might be simpler to accomplish than you think.
Find a Hobby
When you have nothing but free time on your hands, it's easy to allow your mind to wander and stir up feelings of loneliness or negativity. If you find yourself in this position often, why not consider taking up a hobby? What are the things you are interested in doing? Honestly, there are so many interesting things to choose from you just have to pick one. If that doesn’t work out try another. The point here is you will find something that motivates you to get up and do something. Chances are it won't be difficult to find something that you can be passionate about - something enjoyable you can turn to whenever you have time to spare.
Can’t think about anything, how about walking. Walking is a great hobby when it comes to combating loneliness. It allows you to get in a good workout and explore your community at the same time. Better yet, it's free. Make sure to say hello to the people you meet. You never know where the conversation will lead.
Meet New People
It's difficult for some people to “put themselves out there” and meet new people, especially if they happen to be on the shy side. Looking back at the hobby strategy, there will be groups in your neighbourhood for just about any hobby you can come up with. What a great way to meet people in a setting where you share a common interest. Make it your mission to attend one of these groups each week until you find a great fit. Then as you become more comfortable, strike up a conversation with people around you at the store, gym, or even on the street. As the saying goes, "you can never have too many friends!"
Chat with Old Friends
A long chat with old friends does wonders to combat loneliness. Get in touch with someone you’ve been friends with for a while. Take a few minutes to fill them in on how you’ve been. It may seem daunting to get back in touch with someone you haven’t talked to for some time. But, if you reach out to them, your friendship will likely pick up right where it left off. Who knows maybe there’s an old love interest that has been thinking about you as well. Timing is everything.
Start a gym membership. Exercise is widely known to improve cognition and attitude. Go to the local Y and walk around the track. If you’ve reconnected with some old friends, suggest a daily exercise routine to get everyone connected and feeling great.
Poor self-image and negative thoughts about yourself can make feelings of loneliness worse and keep you from seeking out contact with others. Always try to avoid having self-deprecating thoughts by being as positive as you can be. Read a book on your favourite subject.
Loneliness can be a difficult feeling to deal with. If you still feel like you need help after taking these steps, you may want to reach out to your support network - whether it’s friends, family, or even co-workers. Men’s groups are becoming more and more popular. Check out your local Meetup.com page and look for men’s groups. It’s a great way to reconnect with other men and get you back in the swing of things.
If that's not an option, consider reaching out to professional help, which is oftentimes the most efficient way to get your loneliness in check.
If you are looking for more information on men’s topics be sure to check out my webpage at www.theawakenedman.net and my men’s group the Band of Brothers.
Stay strong my brother!
Founder, The Awakened Man