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
Advertising

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

Advertising

Reference

More by this author

Melissa Drake

Author | Speaker | Consultant

Feeling All By Yourself? 20 Ways to Deal With Loneliness

Trending in Happiness

1 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 2 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 3 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 4 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People 5 13 Simple Habits of Happiness To Change Your Outlook on Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
Advertising

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next