Wednesday, 13 March 2019

How to keep the loneliness at bay and be happy by yourself

There’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely. In today’s digital world, it’s easy for people to feel alone – with friends and acquaintances constantly posting updates of their full social lives and all the fun they’re having.

It’s important for us to get used to being alone from time to time for our own personal growth, as this Psychology Today article outlines - however being alone too often, especially when it’s not done out of choice, can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness

Loneliness is the feeling of sadness that arises when we feel we have no friends or company to interact with. It’s not just about being alone either. It is possible to feel lonely in a room full of people, if we feel that the people we’re with do not care about us, value our input or understand how we’re feeling.

It’s natural to feel lonely from time to time. This is absolutely normal. It can happen when we move house, change jobs or schools, or have to attend events or functions where we do not know anyone. These temporary feelings of loneliness only become an issue when they’re accompanied by a more persistent feeling of isolation, which can lead to depression and anxiety.

When we are lonely, we tend to put the needs of others before ourselves. And that’s not OK. We put up with bad behaviour, as the fear of being alone is greater than the reality of what we’re putting up with. We go out of our way to make other people happy so they will stay with us, rather than focus on our own expectations and desires. Unfortunately all that this serves to do is make us feel more resentful and dissatisfied, which in turn only exacerbates our feelings of loneliness.

The key is to learn how to put a value on our own company. How we choose to spend the time that we have on our own plays a large role in our sense of personal fulfilment. Some people choose to create specific goals to help keep focused, some prefer to find an activity they enjoy and spend as much time as they can perfecting their skills. Try doing these three things to help to keep the loneliness at bay:

Practise self-love

Spend some time thinking about what your mind and body needs to feel fulfilled. This article from Psychology Today offers some great advice on how to do this.

Keep yourself occupied

Loneliness manifests itself often when we have too much time to dwell on our situation. By keeping busy, we can use the time we have alone productively, which helps the time to pass quicker.

Be grateful

Rather than focus on what is missing from your life, use some of your alone time to take stock of what you do have and the elements of your life that you are grateful for – maybe you love your job or where you live – this practice can help to keep the loneliness you’re feeling in perspective.

The mental health charity, Mind, offers some great advice on how to make new connections, as well as information on how to seek help if you feel your loneliness may be as a result of an underlying mental health issue. Read more here.

We’d love to know what you do to help keep the loneliness at bay, leave your comments below…

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