How To Deal With Loneliness
Nearly everyone craves human contact and affection to some degree. It’s not only natural, but it’s also a beautiful part of the human experience. In spite of that, we really believe that one of the most useful skills you can learn is how to be by yourself.
Even if you’re alone and you don’t want to be, you have some control over the sensation of loneliness. You can alter how you think about being alone and how you react to it. This doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly go from being a people person to a loner. It’s more about coping.
So that said, what do you do when you’re alone and wish you weren’t? Buckle up, ’cause this is a long post. We’re passionate about developing this ability.
Deal With Loneliness By Establishing A Relationship With Yourself
The first way to overcome loneliness is to do some groundwork. Establishing a deeper relationship with yourself has many benefits that include and extend beyond fighting loneliness. But what does it actually mean to have a relationship with yourself?
Connect With Reasons To Like Yourself
First, we suggest that you try to like yourself. You aren’t going to like every single thing about yourself, but why not appreciate a few things? After all, you’re with yourself all the time.
Some people find this more difficult than others. One of our favorite tools for fostering a better self-image is to make a few lists that enumerate your good qualities. These good qualities might be objectively good or just something you like about yourself.
Maybe you’re willing to wear really bold color choices and you get some funny looks, but you love that about yourself. That goes on the list. If you love helping others, that’s another great thing to list.
Are you funny, kind, creative, sensitive, or particularly good at something? These things are all listable.
Bust that list out and read it once a day to remind yourself of all the reasons to like you.
Pivot That Negative Self-Talk
Step-two in making friends with yourself involves talking nicely to yourself. When you want to make friends with a new person you’ve met, you’re nice to them, right? You don’t berate them or judge them. You try to see their point of view and relate to them. Try to do that for yourself as well.
We know this is also challenging, so we suggest becoming aware of your negative self-talk. Once you notice that you’re not honoring yourself with kindness in your internal dialogue, reframe those thoughts. At first, it’s perfectly fine to approach this as a little mental exercise or a game. You don’t have to get deep about it.
Over time, however, you’ll find that the kinder language you use toward yourself does positively affect how you view yourself.
Switching It Up
“Ugh, I’m SUCH an idiot.” – We’ve all thought that a few times! So notice it, then try to see that differently. “I need to slow down so I can focus.” Sometimes you can really flip the statement around from “I’m such an idiot” to “I’m actually a really creative thinker.” A lot of the time we’re kind of abusive to ourselves and we don’t even mean it.
If this is hard for you, start by identifying your negative statements first. You can slowly start finding easier moments to soften that language and it will soon become a habit.
How To Deal With Loneliness Once You Like Yourself More
These suggestions so far are going to help you like yourself more which makes being stuck with yourself kind of awesome. It might sound cheesy but you really are your own closest friend.
Even if you like yourself a lot, you might still feel lonely. So, what do you do then?
Cultivate A Solitary Hobby
Now you’re going to combine a little harmless self-trickery with a cool new skill or interest. You might already have a solitary hobby, in which case use it as a mental anchor for this concept.
Either identify or pick a hobby or interest that you enjoy doing alone. There are loads of choices. Taking a bath is usually a solitary pursuit, can you slap on a podcast while you’re soaking away? Some people love to take walks or go for runs alone.
Then there are artistic pursuits which are often better done alone, this covers creative arts and crafts as well.
If you’ve never gone to a movie alone, we recommend that you try it. It’s kind of amazing. You might find that you love to go out to dinner alone or do something else you previously did in a group. You can have it both ways!
Here’s another tip: when you’re having your solitary activities, don’t boil them down until they’re overly basic and no fun. If you take yourself to the movies (or screen one at home), don’t skimp on things like popcorn and setting the mood. If you take yourself out to dinner, dress up if you like to do that.
Once you figure out something you like doing alone, you can use that to occupy your time when you can’t be with friends and family.
Ok, please allow us a small space here for some tough love. We mean really well. We’re gonna follow it up with something really soothing, don’t worry.
You might have to get real.
Life isn’t a perfect reflection of your every whim, and sometimes you’re going to have to be alone. There is no use struggling against this, it’s much easier to find a way to embrace it.
Once you do, you’ll make a better companion and you’ll feel better when you’re on your own.
So think about the idea that you really don’t have to be around someone else all the time. Nothing horrible is going to happen to you. If you find that when you’re alone, intrusive or heavy thoughts creep into your mind, there are other things you can do to help that.
Deal With Loneliness If You Have Anxiety Over What Happens When You’re Alone
If you are having intrusive, racing, or anxious thoughts and feelings when you’re by yourself, there is totally hope.
You might want to talk to a professional who can help you address those issues that crop up. Maybe you can pick up a few psychology or self-help books and see if they have any insight to offer. You might even have to spend a little time exploring those thoughts and why they’re coming up. It’s ok to touch them for a short time and then move on. You have to work yourself up sometimes.
A Few More Tips About How To Deal With Loneliness
Here are some more random things you can do to enjoy your alone time.
Accept that what you do doesn’t have to be deep. Play some video games or listen to some music. Listen to an audiobook and don’t criticize yourself for not ‘really reading.’
YOu also don’t have to be productive when you’re alone. IT’s perfectly fine to do your makeup just for fun, or even take a nap! Sometimes, certain chores can be fun, like detailing your car or organizing a space in your home you’re been putting off. The satisfaction is real.
Pets can also really help battle loneliness, so consider adopting a companion!
Here’s a list of even more solitary activities to choose from when you’re home or how to have fun alone outside the house.
You’re Creating A Superpower
Being content by yourself is a real superpower. It’s not necessarily easy, but once you master it you’ll be freer than ever before. You won’t like being around your friends any less, you’ll just be an even more well-rounded person.