A sad new study says that long-term, chronic loneliness is worse for your physical health than obesity. Researchers say that loneliness is linked to higher levels of stress, high blood pressure, and a weaker immune system… all things that can seriously mess up your health.
Don’t get too freaked out if you’ve been feeling a little lonely for the past few months. I think this study is referring to people who have been feeling miserably lonely for years of their lives. We all get a little down in the dumps about feeling lonely once in a while – sometimes it lasts a few days, sometimes a few months. Whether you’re lonely because you just went through a breakup, you’re sick of being single, or you don’t have many friends, one thing is for sure: it’s not a great feeling at all.
Speaking from my own experience, I know how much loneliness can get to you. As a 14-year-old freshman in high school, I felt a loneliness that I can’t quite explain, even now. It didn’t make sense – I had a loving family, a decent amount of friends, and I was involved in a lot of different after-school activities. But at the same time, I was falling out with a lot of my oldest friends, and it was making me feel completely alone in the world. I felt this way a second time in college, after breaking up with my boyfriend of five years. Both times, I learned how to snap myself out of it, and now I’d love to help anyone else feeling that way.
So, if you feel like you have no one to turn to, and you’re sick of being alone in your room all day, here are 10 tips on how to stop feeling lonely. Good luck, girls.
Force Yourself To Get OutWhen you're lonely, you get stuck in this rut where all you want to do is lay in bed and feel miserable. But doing that is definitely only going to make things worse. You have to force yourself to go out, even if you really don't feel like it. I'm not saying you need to do force yourself to do something big, like attend a party with people you're not friends with. Just get out! Start taking hour-long walks each day. Join a gym so that you can feel a sense of community (plus, exercise gives you endorphins, which make you happy). Take your friend up on that offer to hang out that you always deny. Just get out there and do something. Source: ShutterStock
Join An ActivityStill in school? Great! Get involved with an after-school activity. Even if it takes only a half hour of your time at the end of the day, it's better than nothing. Joining some kind of after-school activity will not only give you something to do, but it will also help you meet new people who share your interests... and it doesn't hurt that it will look good on a college application/resume. If you like sports, pick a team to join. Want to take charge? Think about student council. If you're into reading/writing, join the newspaper or literary magazine. There are probably a lot of options, so pick one and try it out. Source: ShutterStock
Consider Getting A PetIf you're feeling like you have no one to turn to, consider getting a pet like a puppy or a kitten. Animals really can make you feel less lonely, and cuddling with one will probably cheer you up. A more complicated pet like a dog or a cat will also keep you busy, because you need time to take care of them. Obviously talk to your parents about it, but it might be a good idea. When I was feeling really lonely about being single, I got a cat. She cheered me up immediately and is now basically my little baby. Source: ShutterStock
Reach Out To Old FriendsIf you're feeling lonely because you feel like you have no friends, or you lost touch with all of your friends, reach out to some old ones. Social media is perfect for this kind of thing. Send them a message saying what's up, then take the initiative and ask them if they want to hang out. When my BF and I broke up, I felt like I had no friends because I had ditched them all while I was with him. After the breakup, I got back in touch with all of my old friends and apologized and told them how much I missed them. We all became so close, and they really helped me feel better. It's worth a shot! Source; ShutterStock
Put Your Energy Into Something You EnjoyOne way to deal with loneliness is to figure out how to enjoy being alone. There's a big difference between being on your own and being lonely, and you need to learn it. When I was single, at first I was freaked out because I had no idea how to fill my time that used to be spent with my BF. I learned to do the things that I enjoy. Soon, having alone time was something I looked forward to, and not something I dreaded. Source: ShutterStock
Get A Part-Time JobIf you're currently unemployed, go out and get yourself a part-time job. If you already have a job and you hate it, look for a new one. When I was newly single, I got a new job as a waitress at a big restaurant. I met SO many friends and started going out all the time. My job basically became my social life. And I got to make money! Source: ShutterStock
Get Your Emotions OutIf you really feel like you have no one to talk to, learn to let your emotions out in some way... keeping everything bottled up is never a good idea. Start keeping a diary or a journal where you can write down all of your feelings. Let yourself cry when you're feeling especially miserable. Scream into a pillow when you feel super frustrated. Stuff like that. Source: ShutterStock
Get Closer To Your FamilyEven though it might not seem like it sometimes, family can be the best people in your life. If you're feeling lonely, learn to lean on your family members. Spend more time with your parents or siblings. If you have cousins your age, get in touch with them to hang out - they're like built in friends! When I felt like I had no friends, I got closer to my cousins, and it really made me feel less alone. Source: ShutterStock
Try VolunteeringIt's a fact that helping others can make you feel happy and better about yourself. Volunteering will also give you something to do, allow you to feel a sense of community, and help you meet new people. Find out what you can do in your area, whether it's helping at a hospital, nursing home, or doing a sort of Habitat for Humanity type of thing. Source: ShutterStock
Consider Seeing A TherapistIf things get really bad, and you feel like you can't take it anymore, you should seriously consider seeing a therapist. There is no shame in talking to a professional and trying to get help for yourself. I've done it, and I'm not afraid to talk about it. Seeing a therapist helped me tremendously. Sometimes, it's just nice to have someone to talk to who isn't going to judge you, and who will give you advice you can trust. Source: ShutterStock
Do you ever feel lonely? How do you deal with it? Why do you feel lonely? Tell me in the comments.