loneliness

5 Lifehacks for Moving Beyond Loneliness

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5-lifehacks-for-moving-beyond-loneliness

While writing for the Boston Globe, Billy Baker uncovered a hidden epidemic among men that subtracted from their well being. The epidemic isn’t smoking, nor is it drugs or drinking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

Feeling lonely is a common experience. Most people–of every gender and age category–feel some degree of loneliness at some point in life. Despite loneliness being a natural, normal part of life, though, people who experience this feeling may experience shame because they fear their down stage indicates something is wrong with them.

The presence or absence of loneliness doesn’t reflect anything about a person’s strength or worth however. It more likely is a product of their schedule, choices, habits, and even energy levels.

Here are 5  life hacks that can help you better understand and, most importantly, move beyond loneliness.

1. Ask Questions.

Sometimes, when people hit a lonely day or stage of life, the emotions sweep in almost unnoticed. They’re there when the person first opens their eyes and they’re still there when their head hits the pillow. People aren’t always even immediately aware that they’ve slipped into loneliness and, therefore, they sometimes never stop to reflect on these feelings and what causes them.

If you wake up one day and feel isolated or under-supported, however, it’s important to start asking questions to help you discover what these emotions are telling you about what needs changing.

For example, you could ask yourself:
• What can I do (not try or think about but DO) to move beyond feeling lonely?
• What would not being lonely feel like?
• How can I do better than I am?
• What can I do that I have never done before?

Often there is no right or wrong answer to these questions. Simply asking them gets your brain engaged in finding a way to push past this low stage.

2. Don’t try to fix yourself.

When loneliness sinks in, you may find yourself sinking lower and lower emotionally–especially if you are struggling to find motivation, not enjoying your daily routines, or not interacting with any helpful, supportive people. Depression can set in and that happy place just seems out of reach.

In these moments, it may be tempting to judge yourself too harshly, believing you have to change in some way or become something you are not so that you fit in and are better supported socially. But don’t mislead yourself. Even the most popular, highly outgoing and likeable people experience feelings of loneliness, no matter how many friends they may have. So when these moments of self-shame come, stop looking for your inadequacies and try to zoom in on all the positives and unique qualities about you.

3. Does it sound too simple to suggest, “Go have some fun”?

Really. When loneliness sets in it becomes easy to withdraw from public places or distance yourself from friends. You may feel like you just don’t have the energy.  But it’s important not to use loneliness as a justification for depriving yourself from all good experiences. That’s counter-productive, right? Instead, make a simple plan to do something you enjoy even if you’re only able to do it for 30 minutes a day. Whether it’s watching a movie, reading a book, going for a walk, tinkering in your garage, golfing–whatever–just do it! Often times when you start doing something you love, it draws you in, you experience good feelings, and you decide to do it more than 30 minutes. The reminder of how good life can be may even energize you to pursue other fun activities.

4. Look for the Kind People.

Lonely people often find themselves disconnecting from others, even those who they love being with, those who cheer them up, and those who are beneficial and helpful in life. By disconnecting with those who are kind to you, though, you extend and deepen your loneliness. Make a point today–right now!–to reconnect with the good people in your life. Find someone who makes you smile, makes you laugh, listens well, or enjoys the same hobbies and spend some time with them. Let their presence refresh your feelings about humankind.

Don’t have any kind people close on hand? That’s okay. You can still seek out new ones. Consider attending or joining a church, taking a fitness class, or volunteering at a charity. All of these places tend to be hotspots for people who are trying to better themselves and who hope to better other lives as well.

5. Don’t Get Derailed by Negative People.

Some people fixate on negative (and often dramatic) things, constantly venting long stories about the many problems or problem-people that seem to follow them everywhere they go. The trouble with this is that negative energy is often contagious. If one person becomes consumed by problems or frustrations, and you are constantly interacting with them, their outlook on life may begin to affect the way you filter our own world. You may begin to see the same sorts of negatives they do, while missing a lot of the positives you used to notice.

The people around you have a massive impact on you. If you are surrounded by miserable, lonely people you will feel their energy and head that way.

If you experience extended periods of severe loneliness, you should contact a professional therapist to help free you from the obstacles that are keeping you low. But the great news is most of the time, in normal stretches of loneliness that may surface in ordinary life, you can often make choices to either stay in loneliness or move beyond it.



There are 3 comments

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  1. PicoKerry

    I see this in communities I work with all the time. Something happens that creates hardship for a person or a family. They grieve it and have lower energy for a while. But if they never get off their butts and venture out of their house again, the loss turns into worse stuff like resentment. Sometimes they just get more and more unmotivated and I truly don’t think they understand why things just keep spiraling downward. I wish we could package this concept and give it to everyone because while we can’t control everything that happens, our choices do have a lot to do with how our life goes.

  2. JenUhVeev

    Go have some fun is exactly the right idea. When you’re lonely, you’re usually in a rut. You’re stuck. You need to do something to shake things up and reignite your energy. I have a list of things that bring me pleasure. I know that sounds a little forced, but when I’m feeling down or low on energy, I consult it and remind myself I have the choice to do all kinds of things I enjoy. Those things might not solve my problems (ok they won’t), but odds are they are going to make me feel a little bit better…and they’re probably not going to hurt either way.

  3. Sara Spectacular and Short

    it actually does help me to realize that everyone gets lonely at some point. i feel like the internet can be bad for us because we can kill time on it if we’re lonely instead of doing the things like this article suggests.


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