Why Do I Feel so Alone and How Can I Change It?
Do You Find Yourself Alone?
If you find yourself feeling isolated as the new year begins, as though there aren't many people active in your life, you should know you aren't alone. Feelings of isolation and loneliness have been growing across the globe and January is one of the hardest months, especially if you're elderly. Within the UK, the number of socially isolated elderly who reached out for charitable support during December and January have increased by an average of 86% within the past three years.
If you find yourself struggling and feeling cut off from society, there are things you can do to help yourself reach out and make lasting connections and meaningful friendships, not to mention rekindling those you've let slip. Chances are, you are surrounded by people just like you who are waiting for a helping hand as well.
What Does It Mean to Feel Lonely?
While we often think of loneliness as simply isolation from other humans, it is more a state of mind, you can be surrounded by other humans and still feel lonely. Researchers define loneliness as feelings of:
Craving Human Contact
And while there are many factors that can affect how lonely you feel, some leading causes of loneliness can be as simple or complex as:
Moving to a New Location
The Death of a Close Loved One
A Symptom of Depression
A Side Effect of Low Self-Esteem
What Can We Do to Stop Feelings of Loneliness?
Once you start to feel lonely, it can feel as though there is no path of escape, but the good news is, there are things you can do. While scientists are working on a pill to combat the problem, you can find relief now with some simple outreach and positive influence.
Acknowledge Your Loneliness
Like every problem, you can't begin to address your loneliness until you accept it has become a problem in your life. Accept that it is a way of thinking and not a permanent part of your life. It can be changed and you can make that change happen.
Don't Let Negative Thinking Get You Down
Learn to realize when you are thinking lowly of yourself and try to stop the pattern. Remember, you are a human being of great value, don't let negative thoughts hold you back.
Put Yourself Out There
Reach out to friends and family who you may have lost touch with. Initiate a conversation with them and when you make plans, keep them, even if you are feeling depressed or nervous. This takes work, but like all things that matter, you have to invest in yourself and your own well-being.
Make New Friends
Get online and search for local groups who share your interests and hobbies. Go to meetings, take classes, and talk to people. Find a group to volunteer with so you are not only combating loneliness, you are making a difference in a cause you care about and making the world a better place.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Don't expect perfection right away and go easy on yourself if you can't live up to all your goals. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you matter, and start again tomorrow. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were you.
Learn More About Feeling Alone
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