Loneliness is the negative emotion associated with feeling isolated. Staring university, a new job, or moving to a new city can be daunting and can leave people feeling like this. There are two ways to tackle this, either reduce the isolation or improve the negative emotion associated with being alone. Here at Caidr we have 4 simple tips for starting to tackle both components. These include joining a community, helping others, building fewer but stronger relationships, and avoiding comparisons.
Sports or physical activity can be a great starting point for growing your local support network. Joining a sports club, team, or activity group can help build a friendship through shared experience. It has also been proven to help decrease loneliness with the added benefit of keeping you fit and healthy. If sport is not for you, then why not start a new hobby or join a group based around an existing hobby such as a book club or arts group.
Not only does helping others boost mental wellbeing and self-esteem, but it is also another way to create shared experiences with others and provide a great place to build friendships. Studies have shown that volunteering can help improve depression, lessen loneliness, and even lower blood pressure. This means it could help you live a more happy, healthy and longer life.
When it comes to friendships it is definitely quality that counts. Loneliness is not actually linked to the number of friends you have but actually the number of meaningful connections you have. Having a large number of friends can actually make it more difficult to create true friendship as your time may be spread more thinly. The other key is to avoid comparisons to other people. Although it’s well known that social media doesn’t tell the whole truth about someone’s life, it can still be tempting to look at and compare to what’s portrayed by others. This can actually cause or exacerbate the feeling of loneliness by creating a high and unrealistic expectation of what life “should be”.
If you are really struggling then you should seek professional help. This can be through your university, college, your workplace, or through your doctor. It is important to know that you are not alone. Studies show that over one in four students report feeling lonely, and at least one-third of adults do worldwide. That is a large number of lonely people who are actually not alone in what they are going through. The negative emotion that comes with it can have a big impact on people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing so if you are struggling it is best to take the step and reach out for help, either to someone you trust or through trusted support services.