How to deal with loneliness

Have you ever felt intensely alone – even in a crowded room, or sitting among your friends? Many people experience loneliness, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to go through. You may even turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol to deal with these intense feelings.

By learning how to address loneliness in a healthier way, you can begin to improve your mood and your mind. Learn more about the causes of loneliness, strategies to combat it, and other affordable substance abuse treatment tips.

The main cause of loneliness

If you’re feeling alone or isolated, know that you’re not alone. In fact, one Harvard study estimated that 40% of people in the U.S. feel extremely lonely right now, with that number likely increasing due to the pandemic.

The main cause of loneliness? Studies show there’s not just one thing that can cause loneliness and it depends on the person. Limited social interaction with people, events, or activities that really spark your interest can certainly have an impact. Lack of romantic or emotional intimacy with a partner or in your other relationships is also a factor. Where you live, who you live with, your mental and physical health, and your social connections can also all cause loneliness.

Essentially, anything that causes us to not feel or be seen as our authentic selves without our communities. When we feel rejected or forgotten by those we love, it can cause some intense negative feelings of worthlessness, depression, and sadness. These feelings all lead to what we understand as loneliness.

Can loneliness be cured?

While feeling lonely is a universal emotion, there’s not one simple rule for curing it. However, strategies do exist to help combat the feelings of loneliness while connecting more to the world around us. These strategies often require us to dive into the root issue of why we’re lonely – feeling uncared for, unloved, helpless, worthless, or misunderstood.

It’s not always easy, but addressing these thought processes can eventually help heal intense feelings of loneliness.

Strategies to combat loneliness

If you’re currently struggling with feelings of loneliness, try these simple strategies to get started.

  • Make plans with friends or family members you haven’t seen in awhile
  • Connect with others in online or in-person spaces who you share common interests with – community or volunteer centers, local support groups, mental wellness centers, or places that provide classes for art, physical fitness, sports, crafting, video games, etc.
  • Deepen connections with people outside your usual social circle that you have been wanting to get to know better
  • Perform acts of self-care like meditation, a new fitness routine, or enjoying your favorite activity with a friend
  • Give yourself additional responsibility and reduce feelings of isolation by adopting a pet

 

If loneliness has driven you to unhealthy coping mechanisms like overuse of alcohol or drugs, you may need to seek help through rehab services. These types of services can help you build better practices of dealing with feelings of loneliness through therapy, counseling, and other resources. Contact Stout Street Foundation for more information on rehabilitation programs.