Everyone gets lonely sometimes, but it’s hard to cope when feelings of worthlessness and loneliness persist.
You may begin to lose hope for the future and find it hard to enjoy any aspect of life. Perhaps you’ve tried and failed to find solutions, and you worry that you’ll continue to feel this sad forever.
This is a horrible position to be in, but the good news is that it is resolvable.
Overcoming loneliness requires thought and effort, but it is certainly possible.
Whether you consistently feel depressed, you’re trying to overcome the loneliness of being single or you don’t quite know why you feel lost at the moment, there are things you can do to improve the situation.
This guide could help you understand yourself better and support you in figuring out what to do when you feel lonely.
To learn how to stop feeling lonely and depressed, you first need a good grasp of the nature of loneliness.
This knowledge can ultimately help you figure out what is making you sad and how to address it.
Going through the following list can function as a kind of “loneliness test.”
… no matter how much you sleep. Research suggests that if you’re lonely, you’re more likely to suffer from fragmented sleep.
This means you wake up more often during the night and don’t get enough deep rest.
You catch every virus going, and it’s harder for you to recover from them.
This is a response to physical changes caused by the way your stress levels increase when you’re lonely.
This may be with food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, or anything else that distracts you from feeling low.
One massive study on loneliness showed you’re likely to try and fill the void when you’re lonely, hoping that this one little bit of happiness will make up for the sadness you feel.
Sources of frustration, irritation, and sadness that once felt tolerable to you are now making you feel dreadful.
This is one of the most common symptoms of loneliness and is an indication that your levels of resilience are low.
You might find this surprising, but the latest science shows that loneliness can be socially contagious.
One factor might be that if you and your friends are feeling lonely, you’re obviously not connecting with each other that well.
Depression isn’t always linked to loneliness symptoms.
However, when it is, you may notice that you care less about personal maintenance, feel worthless, can’t concentrate, struggle with anxiety, and/or no longer feel excited by previous passions.
There are many reasons you might be feeling lost and lonely. There’s no one answer to the question of what causes loneliness.
However, if you’re asking yourself “Why do I feel lonely?”, it might help you to understand some of the evolutionary and biological reasons why you’re having this unpleasant experience.
There are proven connections between your feelings of social isolation and everything from reduced heart health to decreased resistance to disease, so there’s an increasing amount of research on the origins of loneliness.
As it turns out, genetic data indicates you can inherit loneliness from a parent.
The inheritance rate is estimated at just under 50%. So, if you have a lonely parent, some of your emotional turmoil might have more to do with biology than context.
However, don’t underestimate the significant role that nurture plays in your loneliness. Studies also show that even if you’re genetically identical to another person, you’ll feel lonelier if you have less social support.
If you have friends, you might feel perplexed by your own loneliness.
However, here are four reasons why you might feel lost and alone in spite of your friends.
No matter why you feel lonely, it is possible to feel better. But what should you do, right now, to overcome depression? While you can’t miraculously fix every problem in your life overnight, you can learn to feel better today.
Then, you can build on that foundation, gradually creating an everyday reality that actually feels good and right, not inauthentic and sad.
Here are some of the best ways to cope with loneliness and find a new sense of happiness.
Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of believing that loneliness is forever. You might feel lonely today, this week, or even this month, but it doesn’t mean you are alone or that you have no one who cares for you.
Like all feelings, loneliness is impermanent and it does not define who you are.
Accept that you feel lonely, then focus on moving forward.
If there are people in your life that you wish you were closer to, take steps to make that happen. Suggest plans, make contact, and stick to the arrangements you make.
This applies just as much to family members and friends of many years as it does to new people in your life. Do you know someone you’d like to has a friend? Be brave enough to reach out. Often, they’ll be very glad you did.
As noted above, social media breeds loneliness by giving you false perceptions. Instead of scrolling through images of everyone’s best selves and happiest times, take a step back from your online life for a while.
Choose to only look at social networks once a day, or perhaps not at all for a month.
See if this makes any difference to your loneliness, and ask yourself what you can learn from this.
If you think about sadness and loneliness all the time, you will be sadder and lonelier. Do things that gently nudge your perspective towards the positive.
A gratitude journal is a great example. You can write in it every morning, setting you up for a more optimistic day ahead. Simply write down 5 things that make you feel grateful each day.
This process challenges you to find and foster the good in your life.
Sometimes, you might trick yourself into feeling lonely because you’ve internalized the message that you can only be happy if you’re with others. This isn’t true… there’s a lot of worth to enjoying your own company.
Experiment with ways of having a good time alone. Take a walk in nature (studies show this boosts mood and self-esteem), create something, exercise, plan a day trip or treat yourself to your favorite meal. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.
Finally, some of the best ways to combat loneliness involve deliberately trying brand new things.
Whether you join a book group, learn a new skill at a class or go to a club dedicated to one of your major passions, you’re opening yourself up to the chance of new social connections.
What do you have to lose?
At worst, you’ll grow as a person and have new experiences under your belt.
You might expect to find yourself feeling lonely after a breakup, but what about when you’re still with someone?
Feeling alone or feeling lonely in a relationship is more common than you’d think.
Over time, people can drift apart or take each other for granted, and you might feel like your spouse just doesn’t “get you” anymore.
Finally, if you’re feeling lonely or lost, try affirmations for loneliness: