All of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives, no matter how much we fight to avoid or escape it. Many factors influence this feeling, such as divorce or separation, loss of a loved one, being by yourself during holidays, or loss of a job. Loneliness, however, does not need to be a negative. By developing skills for coping with loneliness, you can turn something that can be painful and terrifying into one of the most productive and joyful experiences you may ever have.
Loneliness is an emotional state more so than an objective fact. It is not good or bad, but our thoughts and emotions can shape the way we experience it. We can feel discomfort, boredom, or sadness, or perhaps feel peaceful and quiet. When you think about your situation, how do you feel?
If you see your loneliness as a negative, there are a variety of ways that you can shift your focus and take loneliness as an opportunity to develop yourself.
- Being comfortable when you are alone takes time, but you can always think of it as being with yourself instead of being without someone. Some ways to accomplish this are to do things that excite or invigorate you. Take time to find a new hobby, listen to your favorite music, paint or exercise. Be patient and you will find that peace will come.
- Self-reflection is a self-care practice that can strengthen our emotional intelligence and improve our ability to cope with challenges. To do this, make some quiet time to reflect and turn inward. In addition, this time can be used to write a gratitude list, meditate or go for a mindful walk.
- Treat yourself to something new from time to time. It may seem materialistic, but buying yourself a gift is a great pick-me-up. Physical reminders of joy can be greatly appreciated, even if they are from yourself. So buy yourself some new clothes or get a new hairstyle. You deserve
- Identify and avoid triggers. Try not to get sucked into watching certain television shows, endlessly scrolling Facebook and Instagram, or forcing yourself into uncomfortable social situations trying to find companionship. All of these activities can elicit sadness and make feelings of loneliness worse.
Acknowledging loneliness is the first step towards achieving peace with it. At the end of the day, if you experience extended loneliness and depression, it is best to contact a mental health professional to help you move forward towards a happier you.
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