The English poet John Donne once said, “No man is an island.” It’s within our nature as humans to long for company. No one can feel content alone, except for a very few. And maybe even these few should admit they would appreciate the company for a while. The absence of a relationship with others, or lack thereof, can cause feelings of isolation, or what we simply call “isolation.”
We depend on safe, secure social environments to exist and flourish since we are social beings. Our vulnerability increases when we start to feel lonely, which can have an adverse effect on both our physical and mental health.
It could be short-term for some people and longer-term for others. Because loneliness is a subjective experience, even a person in a crowded room can feel the uncomfortable emotion of isolation. So battling loneliness is really not just about having company. It’s much more complicated than that. So what causes loneliness, and what can you do when feeling lonely?
- Recognize that loneliness is normal
Anybody can feel lonely at some point in their life. Such a feeling is normal, especially when there is really something to be lonely about—the death of a loved one, disappointments in life, or down times when we are left with nothing to do. Loneliness makes us more human.
When we feel lonely, we take a few steps back to reflect. Loneliness humbles us and grounds us. Loneliness helps us evaluate what changes have to be made so we can be back on our feet once again. And embracing that emotion for such events in our lives helps us appreciate even more the best things in life.
- Love yourself better
Loneliness is a sign that you have needs that you are not fulfilling, and who better to meet those needs than yourself? You don’t have to wait for someone else to give you extra care and attention. You can give that to yourself.
Are you so busy? Too busy to take a rest and have fun? Make time to do the things you enjoy and love doing. Take a much-needed break. Even if it’s just a long bubble bath or eating at your favorite restaurant. Take a hike and appreciate the beauty of the earth. Lie down underneath the clear, wide sky.
Read books and feed your mind. See how much you can learn. Spend a few minutes every day exercising. Release those endorphins—those happy hormones. Feel healthier and happier. Even look better.
- Strengthen relationships
We can isolate ourselves so easily without knowing it, even when we are always with friends or family. In this age when we are often so engrossed in our mobile phones, relationships with those who matter most suffer. You see families dining together in restaurants not talking to each other because they are too busy on their phones.
Having access to technology all the time, particularly cell phones, can hinder our ability to form meaningful relationships. Many people have developed the habit of picking up their smartphones, scrolling through endless short video clips, or playing mobile games, whenever they have some free time. This tendency brings you not only empty, short-lived entertainment but also causes more loneliness.
Use smartphones as they intend to be – to connect with our loved ones, no matter the distance. But when that person you love is right next to you, it’s best to put those phones down and be in the moment. Talk to your loved ones eye-to-eye and really connect.
- Do something for someone else
It’s common for us to concentrate on ourselves and our depressing feelings when we’re lonely. And that’s okay. Embracing solitude can help us regroup. But we can only do that for a short time. The time will come when looking beyond ourselves is the way to go. Our mood can change by concentrating on how we can support others.
Being kind to others has several advantages. Not only will it make us feel more connected and valued than we may realize, but seeing how burdens can be lifted through your help can also bring happiness beyond comparison.
Practice random acts of kindness. Saying thank you to service crews, volunteering for a soup kitchen, visiting an elderly person – here are just a few things you can do.
Serving others can widen our social networks, help us feel useful and with purpose, and widen our world in general. You get to know yourself better as you give a portion of your life to serving others.
- Consider adopting a furry friend
Having a furry friend or a furbaby (whatever you want to call them) is beneficial for numerous reasons. Not only are they cute and funny, but they also offer unconditional affection and company, which is especially beneficial for those who may be isolated from other people and feel lonely.
When we take our animals to dog parks or go for neighborhood walks, for example, they can occasionally help us meet new individuals. People who walk dogs are even perceived as being friendlier, and that enables you to connect more easily if you’re trying to make new friends.
But before getting a pet, remember that it is a huge responsibility. It’s a big commitment. Like a human baby, pets need not only to be fed but also given love and attention. But if you’re willing to go for it, be assured that it’s all well worth it.
- Watch, read, or listen to comedy.
Yes, laughter is the best medicine. Numerous studies support this statement. Laughter can lessen stress-promoting hormones contained in the blood. So when you have nothing to laugh about, do something about it. You can always enjoy some comedy flicks or TV shows. Reading some comedy online can also do the trick.
Seeking Professional Help
Loneliness, however, can be a hard battle for some, as it can also be hereditary or may come from clinical depression. So when observing recurring loneliness, never hesitate to seek professional help. As a compliment or alternative to talk therapy, you could try Reiki or Intuitive Energy Healing too.