We humans don’t need any excuse to feel lonely, but the pandemic sure has given us one. After years of social distancing and reducing social interaction, young people and older folks alike are all experiencing alarming degrees of loneliness.
Before COVID reared its ugly head, the US Surgeon General had already declared there was an “epidemic of loneliness” going on in the United States. And now things have only escalated.
The pandemic has led to increased social anxiety, drug abuse, mental illness, and divorce, as well as reduced self esteem. And all these have become contributing factors to loneliness spreading through society like wildfire.
So if you’ve been feeling lonely, please know that you’re not alone.
And don’t worry, there are some concrete steps you can take to increase your sense of connection to yourself, others, and the entire world around you.
Read on to learn how to deal with loneliness in some healthy ways that also contribute to your overall well being.
What makes us feel lonely?
Though almost everyone enjoys some alone time here and there, humans are social creatures, and very few of us can be happy if we spend too much time isolated and alone.
If you feel alone, isolated, and down, here are some tips that can help you combat loneliness:
Admit you’re feeling lonely
The first step to improving any negative emotional state is to acknowledge it. So instead of trying to avoid admitting that you feel lonely, just look yourself in the mirror and say, “Ok, I feel down, I feel lonely. And it’s OK.” Once that’s out of the way, you can start taking steps to feel better and improve your own life.
Reach out to your loved ones
Our existing relationships with close friends and family members are some of our greatest resources for dispelling loneliness. If you’re feeling alone, there’s a good chance a family member might feel the same way. So pick up the phone and give them a shout. Make some plans to get together. It will do wonders for you both!
Find your online community
If you live in a remote location or suffer from social anxiety, finding and connecting with like-minded people online can be a great way to get rid of loneliness. Start by googling groups related to some of your favorite pastimes and hobbies, and see what you come up with.
Go for walk in nature
What to do if you’ve made your calls, but can’t get in touch with anyone? Don’t fret. Just step outside and take a walk. If you have a green space like a park or a forest nearby, all the better. The sights and sounds of nature will naturally soothe you, and make you feel connected to the whole of creation. And getting some light cardiovascular exercise couldn’t hurt either.
See a mental health professional
Ok, so you’ve tried some of the steps above, but you’re still feeling overwhelming loneliness (or any other mental health problems). Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional and make an appointment. Forget any stigma you might associate with doing so. Professionals are there for a reason, and they can help you with negative feelings.
A wise man once told me that loneliness is just a state of being out of touch with oneself. And there’s no better way to reconnect with your true self than meditation. When you sit in meditation you stop the constant push and pull of likes and dislikes, and just accept things as they are. And accept yourself as you are. When this happens, a feeling of being complete arises, and loneliness vanishes like mist in the sunshine.
Do some breathing exercises
Negative emotions like loneliness tend to get a hold of us when there is too much stress built up in our systems. And breathing exercises have been proven time and time again to help people of all ages and backgrounds get rid of stress.
This article was originally posted and created by our partners at SKY Breath Mediation.