10 Tips For Relieving Loneliness

Loneliness strikes almost everyone at some point in life. Here are 10 tips for relieving loneliness, from writing about your feelings to getting out and helping others.

Loneliness is a feeling that almost everyone experiences at certain times.One can feel lonely even while surrounded by other people, and the feeling sometimes becomes overwhelming.Loneliness can be something that happens suddenly, as when a loved one dies, or it can develop little by little, as when someone has a series of failed relationships.There are many causes of loneliness, and it can develop into depression if steps are not taken to relieve the feeling of isolation one feels.Self-confidence can decrease, loss of energy can occur, and one's life can get out of hand if loneliness is not alleviated.If you are experiencing loneliness, here are ten ways you can help lessen those feelings.

1. Learn to become more self-sufficient.

Feelings of loneliness are often accompanied by feelings of helplessness.When a spouse dies, the surviving mate often does not have a clear idea of what the duties of the other involved.When my grandfather died, my grandmother did not drive, and she lived miles from the nearest town.She lived on for 30 years without ever learning to drive, and was often lonely unless someone stopped by to visit or drive her to shop.Learning to drive would have allowed my grandmother to have more control over her life, rather than having to always depend on others for her needs.I've known other widows and widowers who had no experience with their checking accounts, insurance, car repairs, and other daily tasks until after the death of their partner.Learn to think for yourself if you're with or without a partner, and then if something happens that dissolves a relationship, you'll be able to carry on those essential tasks of daily living.Becoming self-sufficient should also help you develop self-esteem, which helps to prevent loneliness.

2. Take up a hobby.

Think about the interests you have.Is there something you have always wanted to take up, but just haven't had the time?If you take up a hobby, you can always find someone else who shares your interest.Some hobbies are well organized and have millions of participants; others are more obscure and have only a small following, but almost allhobbyists like to talk to others about their interests.Many hobbies can be practiced by one person, but are more fun in a group setting.For instance, I recently attended a quilting show that attracted entries from all over the globe.Thousands of quilters came to the convention and entered quilts, attended seminars, networked with other quilters, and had a great time seeing all the new techniques others had developed in this hobby.From reading the descriptive cards on the quilts, I noticed that much of the actual quilting involved many hours of solitary sewing, but many of the quilters also belonged to local quilting groups, where they met regularly to share their interests.Sharing an interest in a hobby with others can help to relieve loneliness as you cultivate new friendships.

3. Join a group.

Sometimes people are lonely because they are shy and find it hard to talk to others.Joining a group can help relieve loneliness by allowing you to feel connected with others.If you have any interest, there is probably a group that addresses it.If you are concerned about the environment, like to read mystery novels, suffer from an illness, or are a single parent, there's a group out there for you, probably meeting once a month at the library, church, wellness center, or at a member's home.How can you find a group that shares your interest?Check the local newspaper; most have weekly listings of all kinds of meetings held in your city.Check the internet for chat room groups; this is a great way for people who have an illness and can't get out much to connect with others who share the same condition.Support groups are available for all kinds of topics, and usually quite a lot of valuable information is exchanged at these meetings.If you're stuck at home with small children all day, join the PTO or find a playgroup for your children; sharing with other parents will help to relieve some of the feelings of isolation you might be experiencing.As you share your interests with others, you will develop new friends and also help others relieve their loneliness.

4 Get a companion animal.

Many people relieve loneliness by getting a pet.A dog or cat is understanding and is someone you can talk to about anything.The role of pets as companions is of renewed interest in medical circles now, and many nursing homes, hospitals, and group homes now allow pets for the residents; some colleges even have "pet dorms" for students who want to bring a cherished pet from home.A dog waiting by the door for your return is a self-esteem builder, and a purring cat on your pillow can certainly make you feel loved.If you don't want to invest as much time or effort as a dog or cat would take, smaller pets such as hamsters, mice, geckos, birds, or fish can also help you feel needed, or volunteering at an animal shelter would allow you to lavish some attention on lonely pets.Sports involving animals would also be good activities in which to engage, such as horseback riding, tossing a Frisbee with a dog, or llama trekking.

5 Help others.

If you are constantly helping others, you won't have time to feel lonely.You don't have to make a big effort to be of help to others; just listening is often enough.The holidays are often lonely for those who are alone; many groups provide help for the poor during this time and are in need of volunteers to help out with many different tasks.Sometimes it takes an effort to look around and find someone who needs help, or you can join a group that provides help to others.Church groups, civic organizations, business clubs, school service clubs, and many others welcome volunteers; if you have talents and skills in certain areas, you will be a valuable volunteer, and if you don't know how to do much of anything, you will learn new skills.Often doing volunteer work can show you your good points, and can even help you develop a new vocation.Check your local newspaper for volunteer opportunities; many have weekly columns about ongoing projects that need helpers.

6 Get out of your house.

If you're feeling lonely, don't just sit around and mope indoors.The longer you stay hidden in your room, the longer it will take to get out and feel comfortable again.Go outside and talk a walk, go to the mall, the park, or a museum.Make an effort to speak to at least one person, even if it's only a store clerk.Realize that there are many other lonely people out there, and even a smile from you can make someone feel better.Set goals for yourself if you have a problem leaving your house, and select some outings that would be of interest to you.

7 Develop your mind.

Studying a particular subject can help you to connect with others.You can take a college class, join a book club, play a game online, or learn to cook an Italian meal.Delving into unknown intellectual territory can help you develop self-esteem, make you more aware of others in the world, and help you share interests with others.Talking about or debating a subject in a class or in a chat room can be quite stimulating and can help to relieve loneliness.One of the causes of loneliness is constantly thinking about how alone you are; if you have other subjects to think about you will feel less lonely, and by discussing subjects with others you will help them feel less lonely too.

8 Write about your feelings.

Many fine books have been written by authors who were lonely and needed an outlet for their feelings.Get a journal, and when you are feeling lonely, write down just how you feel.If you are suffering from a lost relationship, write how you feel about the person you lost; both good and bad feelings can come out in your journal.I once had a student whose boyfriend left her, and she was feeling very lonely.She wrote a country-western song about his undesirable qualities, and asked to sing it to the class.After singing, the shy girl broke out in hives as the class applauded, but she felt much less lonely as many other students comforted her, and expressed admiration for her singing ability.She left the class smiling.Poetry has always been an outlet for feelings of loneliness; you may have a great poem in you just waiting to come out.

9 Get some physical exercise.

If you are feeling fatigued from being lonely, get some exercise.Jogging or walking can clear your head and give you energy; keep at it for awhile and you may want to enter some community races.Many shopping malls have year-round programs for walkers; programs for senior citizens are especially prevalent.Swimming is good exercise; I like to tread water and can't think of many times when I've been to the pool and haven't met at least one new person who also likes the deep end.Most communities have group exercise programs at parks, senior citizen centers, YMCAs, schools, etc., or you can join a health club and participate in many different activities there.Team sports will help relieve loneliness by making you help others achieve a goal; volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer, and tennis are all fun and give you a good workout too.Having an organized exercise program helps you have something to look forward to, and being in good physical condition helps ease depressed feelings.

10 Use community resources.

All communities have some type of programs to ease loneliness.Large cities have many different resources from which to choose, including mental health clinics with counselors, social services, support groups, and a wide array of interest groups you can join.Even small towns usually have church groups, school groups, business clubs, and support groups that meet regularly.Since loneliness can hit just about anyone, there are lonely people to be found in all places, and you can find people that share your interests wherever you look.Accept yourself realistically, help others to relieve their loneliness, and you will then feel better about yourself.

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