Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 26, 2020

Feeling All By Yourself? 20 Ways to Deal With Loneliness

Feeling All By Yourself? 20 Ways to Deal With Loneliness

Loneliness kills—literally. The Health Resources and Services Administration confirms that “loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking.”[1] Moreover, mortality and risk factors for loneliness are inextricably linked, which makes loneliness even more challenging for those at risk.

Living alone, being unmarried (single, divorced, widowed), lack of participation in social groups, fewer friends, and strained relationships are not only all risk factors for premature mortality, but they also increase the risk for loneliness.[2] However, there are ways on how you can deal with loneliness.

As a single person living alone and working from home, I’ve certainly experienced bouts of loneliness, particularly in light of the 2020 pandemic. In this article, I offer some suggestions on how to deal with loneliness based on my personal experience.

The recommendations are listed in order of priority to develop intimacy with yourself before pursuing intimacy with others. This approach offers the most lasting “cure” for acute and chronic loneliness.

Explore Your Mind and Connect With Your Spirit

Wayne Dyer was onto something when he declared, “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re with.” There are specific things can do that help make you impermeable to loneliness and that’s why I recommend exploring your inner terrain as the first step in combatting loneliness.

Here are five specific things that will help you explore your mind and connect with your spirit to deal with loneliness.

1. Write

Journaling is a form of self-care that enables you to process emotion and gain perspective over the incessant thoughts in your mind. It helps connect you to you better than anything I know.

2. Meditate

Sit in silence for ten minutes, and clear your mind of non-productive thoughts while establishing a connection to your spirit and allowing inspirational thoughts to come through. If silence makes you uncomfortable, consider using guided meditation tracks that can be found on apps like Calm and YouTube.

3. Get Physical

Challenging the physical body through exercise is a great way to challenge the mind. This can be as easy as going for a walk around the block, dancing around the house, or completing an intense workout.

4. Eliminate Noise

I love social media and the real-life friends I’ve made through Facebook. However, when I’m feeling lonely, social media feels more like a distraction than a means for connection. Loneliness isn’t resolved without a connection of some kind. When used indiscriminately, social media serves more as a misdirection than a vehicle to facilitate connection.

Advertising

5. Explore Spirituality and Faith-Based Studies

Dive into spiritual and/or faith-based studies to gain a better feel for the bigger picture at play and the interconnectedness of all beings. This will help you understand that you are never alone, even when you’re physically alone.

Refresh the Energy in Your Environment

These activities represent another layer in working with your mindset to deal with loneliness. The more solid your mindset, the less susceptible it is to loneliness.

T.F. Hodge, author of From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with “The Divine Presence,” makes the connection between our environment and mindset, noting that “what surrounds us is within us.” Because we are a product of our environment, it’s important to address the energy we are surrounded with and ensure that it’s offering the best possible influence.

Here are five ideas to refresh the energy in your environment.

6. Declutter

I often say that my environment is a reflection of my mind. When my home is messy, my mind is messy as well. When the appearance of my home is not managed well, I feel lonelier because of feeling alone and overwhelmed in tackling it.

Taking just a few minutes every day to do simple things like make the bed, do the dishes, and go through the mail can help you keep the feeling of being overwhelmed—and potential loneliness—at bay.

7. Appreciate Nature

Go outside! Soak up the sun, walk barefoot on the grass, and/or hug a tree. These grounding practices will help you become more centered in your body and more confident about the world you live in.

8. Shake It Off

When you’re frequently alone, you may not have the opportunity to express yourself by talking with others. This excess emotion builds up and gets stored in the body. Dancing is a great way to release this emotion to ensure that it doesn’t lead to loneliness and uneasiness.

9. Get a Massage

Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, emphasizes the importance of physical touch. He notes, “Touch is the fundamental language of connection…touch activates a big bundle of nerves in your body that improves your immune system, regulates digestion, and helps you sleep well. It also activates parts of your brain that help you empathize.”

Have a partner for hugging, cuddling, and other forms of intimacy. Safe, positive touch through massage is one way to get the need for touch met.

Advertising

10. Positive Exposure

It’s much easier for loneliness to creep in when you’re feeling down. Ensuring your life is filled with as much positive messaging as possible keeps loneliness at bay. You can do this by exposing yourself to positive media, movies, books, and people.

Get Purposeful and Help Others

Author Martha Beck confirms that “loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact.”

Connection is a healing salve for loneliness. However, connecting with others during times of loneliness should be done with great care and intention.

Connecting with the wrong person for an improper purpose could cause more damage than the temporary relief it provides. Suggestions for connecting with others to deal with loneliness are recommended throughout the next three sections in order of increasing intensity and intimacy.

Here are three directly related to expanding in purpose and helping others.

11. Talk to Strangers

When you’re out and about, smile, be kind, and connect with the strangers you encounter. Purposeful eye contact and a warm “good morning” greeting can go a long way in making someone else’s day. Making their day may make yours as well while warding off feelings of loneliness.

12. Volunteer

Working with others toward a common goal is an instant cure for loneliness. It will get you among like-minded individuals while also offering your skills to benefit others. Volunteering and helping others can also be a way of supporting and helping yourself deal with loneliness. It’s the perfect win-win situation.

13. Support Someone in Need

Have a friend who could use a break? Maybe there’s a single mom who needs a night out, help around the house, or a babysitter. Maybe there’s an elderly neighbor who could use help with yard work. Lend a hand, a shoulder, and your time to combat loneliness—for you and them.

Be Collaborative, Generous, and Supportive

I believe collaboration is the way to our abundant future. Even when I’m with strangers, I’ve found good collaborators to be welcoming and generous with support. This world is so small and online connections turn strangers into friends and dance partners.

Guillermo Maldonado reminds us that “loneliness is not lack of company; loneliness is lack of purpose.” Collaboration gives you purpose, power, and influence to deal with loneliness.

Advertising

The following are specific ways you can collaborate with others to deal with loneliness.

14. Invite Someone to Join You

Instead of attempting to do everything on your own, invite other people to join you. This can be as easy as sitting in the same room (or virtually via Zoom) while working together, or as complicated as pursuing a new business endeavor or joint vision together.

15. Learn Something New

Explore something you’ve always wanted to learn. Local adult education classes are full of opportunities to learn something new. The courses are as varied as belly dancing, cake decorating, scuba diving, computer programming, and basic homeowner repairs. Taking these classes helps you explore your purpose while being in the company of others with similar interests.

16. Invest in Personal or Professional Development

Some of my most beloved supports I call on during times of loneliness were acquired through personal and professional development programs. Enrolling in a coaching or other significant training program is a great way to expand your skills and surround yourself with like-minded people who will support you on your journey.

Connect With Others

I saved the direct connection with others for last for a reason. Many people deal with loneliness by going straight to dating or intimacy. I know I’ve certainly been guilty of doing that. However, I’ve found that going straight for connection and bypassing the internal connection leaves intimate, and even professional, collaborative connections flat.

Gretchen Rubin reminds us that a life that’s completely devoid of loneliness is one that’s full and includes intimacy.

“Keep in mind that to avoid loneliness, many people need both a social circle and an intimate attachment. Having just one of two may still leave you feeling lonely.” —Gretchen Rubin

To help you create a full life, here are some suggestions on how to deal with loneliness:

17. Join a Support Group

This is one of the most direct ways to address your loneliness. It’s also an effective way to find purpose and help others. Support groups happen in person and online.

To this day, I spend a significant amount of time supporting others through social media and closed Facebook groups. For me, these connections reach far beyond the computer. I’ve met my Facebook friends in person. I’ve had meals with them, eye-to-eye conversations with them, traveled with them, attended their weddings, celebrated the holidays with them, done business with them, and helped them with emotional and financial support.

Advertising

18. Enjoy an Interesting Meet-Up or Event

I love to dance. There’s nothing like the energy on the dance floor. Even when you’re dancing alone, being among a crowd of people with the same interests as you is life-giving.

I’ve met some incredible connections and had tons of fun exploring MeetUp, Eventbrite, and Facebook events. My favorite event experiences include ecstatic dance, adult summer camp, sunset silent disco, full moon gatherings, women’s circles, and sailing adventures. In all cases, I showed up alone but left with new contacts and friends.

19. Network With Others

Building your network with others is a great way to deal with loneliness. Consider joining an app like Shapr a try. It’s an app designed to connect professionals. I like to think of this app as a mix between a dating app and LinkedIn. It gives a dopamine hit when both parties agree to meet and the animated message, “It’s a Match!” appears.

Most people are using this application to advance their careers and sell services. Others use it to find friends, collaborators, and co-conspirators. I’ve connected with great people through Shapr which invited new energy into my life.

20. Try Online Dating

I saved the best for last. Intimate connections add to the fullness of life. However, when we approach intimacy without first addressing our own mind, spirit, environment, and purpose, it can come from a place of wanting to fill a void rather than connecting from a place of wholeness. Connecting intimately with others is a gift that’s best unwrapped after wholeness is achieved.

The Beauty and Irony of Loneliness

Author Douglas Coupland reminds us of why it’s so important to be intentional on how to deal with loneliness.

“Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.” —Douglas Coupland

After spending nearly all of 2020 alone and ridiculously lonely, the cruel irony is that it was the best thing for me. It forced me to confront my demons. Being alone offered me the time and space to do the shadow work necessary to have a more stable personal foundation.

Because of the extensive work that I did to develop wholeness and safety within my own experience, I’m now in a better position to connect with others with clean energy, no expectations, and a greater chance of experiencing a better result. Following these 20 tips can help you deal with loneliness and live a fuller life.

More Tips on How to Deal With Loneliness

Featured photo credit: Timur Romanov via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Melissa Drake

Author | Speaker | Consultant

Feeling All By Yourself? 20 Ways to Deal With Loneliness

Trending in Happiness

1 11 Facts About Volunteering That Will Surely Impress You 2 14 Things That Make You Happy and Enjoy Life More 3 Focus On Yourself, Because Most Of The Time No One Really Cares 4 How to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward for a Happier Life 5 13 Simple Ways To Express Gratitude Daily

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

Advertising

It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

Advertising

Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

Advertising

1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

Advertising

6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next