As an introvert, I have convinced myself that being alone isn’t lonely. Introversion comes with self preferential quality and the ability to not need people. We talk about independence the way a kid talks about candies; a thing we are proud to have.
Being overly independent and not needing anyone have become something I had to unlearn. I think it is great that you don’t have to rely on anyone, but then everyone needs support every now and then.
Most times, I’m perfectly content to be alone, but sometimes I feel lonely; even if only for a short time.
Loneliness is a complex mental and emotional phenomena. It could happen to anyone, no matter how much we take pride in social isolation. This is because as humans we are wired for socialisation. I can sit in my room for twelve hours or more to read or meditate, and at other hours, I’d want to talk to someone. Human connections are important social needs, whether, with a few close friends, or a large group of varied acquaintances.
So, if you are feeling lonely, here are seven ways to deal with it.
#1 Be Social; hang out more:
A past memory or isolation can trigger loneliness. The brain is designed to pay attention to pain and danger more often, including painful scary feelings.
I have never had a Valentine date before; I spent most Valentine days alone because I was always single. I felt sad scrolling through my Instagram or Twitter timeline, seeing how everyone was happy. I hated it. It made me feel lonely.
What I have should be done differently on those Valentine’s days, was to hang out with my single friends. Plan a picnic, or dinner together, instead of staying alone, overthinking. You don’t have to go parties, if you are introverted like me, find a weekly poetry social gathering, tweak your routine, and do anything that would get you out of the house, maybe a cooking class or a workout. Spending time doing the activities you love allows you to connect emotionally and deeply with others, which can help you overcome the feeling of isolation.
#2 In your free time, volunteer:
During my university days, I didn’t have any friend at school. I felt I couldn’t connect with them, but volunteering is a great way to meet people who are passionate about what you care about. Volunteers often have something in common with each other. Help clean a community, or join a health outreach group. Joining others to do a mutual project, provides a conducive environment where you can form good friendships.
#3 Rekindle Old Friendships:
Building new friendships can be tedious. From knowing what they like or not, to breaking and making up. Old friendships are less demanding and energy-sapping. Reconnect with old friends, unless it was a toxic friendship. Schedule a day in a week when you can visit each other. Invite them for lunches, and use social media to reconnect with ones you have lost touch with due to time or distance.
#4 Practice Positive Self-talk:
When my dad died, I was afraid. I would cry most nights for a year or so. I felt so lonely because I missed him. Till I found a little bit of comfort in music. In melancholic and happy songs. I wrote out positive affirmations from these songs in a little book. Every morning, I read them out loud to remind myself that I would survive. When you’re feeling lonely, instead of saying “I hate my life, nobody likes me,” say “I’m cool anybody would want to be friends with me.” Positive messaging builds your self-esteem, it is not a cure to loneliness but part of the process. Look in the mirror, say those words, and replace thoughts positively.
#5 Seek Therapy and Talk to Someone
Meet up with a mental health professional. A professional can help you define the factors behind your feelings of loneliness. Or help you figure out how to deal with it.
#6 Find a hobby
Often, when you ask random people what their hobbies are, it is always: reading, playing chess, watching movies. Boredom adds weight to loneliness. If you are struggling with the feeling of loneliness or isolation, watching Netflix movies doesn’t necessarily help. Having a hobby that has a social aspect to it is better. It could be photography— then go to the park or beach and take all those pictures. Even it is chess, you can join a chess group, and engage in small competitions. Any hobby that gets you out of the house.
#7 Get a Pet
Pets – especially dogs and cats –are great company. They can help you combat loneliness. On lazy Saturdays, rather than aimlessly staring at ceilings, you can have a dog or cat, you take care of. It can also connect you with other pet lovers.
— Rejoice Obike.