person sitting in a chair alone facing windowPhoto by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

You're not alone when it comes to feelings of loneliness.

Up to 40% of people will feel lonely at some point in their lives.

Explore what you can do to reflect on these feelings and manage them.

Why Do I Feel Lonely When I’m Not Alone?

Loneliness is a feeling, not necessarily a state of being. It's possible to feel lonely even when you're not alone.

This can be a result of:

  • Feeling like you don’t quite fit in

  • Not receiving the kind of connection you're looking for

  • Loss of a loved one

  • Change in circumstances like moving to a new city or going to a new school

Why Does It Matter?

Man sitting alone on sidewalk cradling his forehead in his hand.Photo by Jonathan Rados on Unsplash

Loneliness can be a difficult feeling, especially if prolonged. According to research, feelings of loneliness can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health.

Potential mental health associations:

  • depression

  • antisocial behavior

  • decreased memory and learning

  • increased stress levels

Potential physical associations:

  • increased experience of physical pain

  • increased use of drugs and/or alcohol

  • cardiovascular disease and stroke

What To Do About It? Part 1

Ask yourself why you feel this way.

  • Do you no longer feel connected to the people in your life?

  • Have you recently moved and need to create a new social circle?

  • Have you started to withdraw from your friends and family?

Understanding your current situation will help you find helpful steps to take.

Make the best of it.

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Use this time to reconnect with yourself. This could be a great distraction-free time to focus on goals you’ve been meaning to accomplish.

Practice self-care like treating yourself to a solo-date at the movies.

It may take time to start feeling confident and comfortable spending time on your own but could be a great time for self-reflection.

What To Do About It? Part 2

Adopt a pet

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Although animals can't fully replace human connections, they can provide a great sense of companionship.  Dogs, for example, can connect us to other pet owners, and provide a motivation to get out and meet new people.

Strengthen existing relationships

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Have great relationships in your life started to wane? If these connections are still important to you, reach out to family members or friends more frequently. Try to connect on deeper levels. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can help create deeper bonds with others in your life.

Find new connections

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If you're feeling lonely due to a lack of connections in your life, you might benefit from new friendships. There are a number of ways to meet new people:

  • Volunteer

  • Join a club

  • Take a course

  • Pick up a new hobby

Just remember, it can take time to build meaningful connections. Keep at it until you feel fulfilled with strong personal relationships that enrich your life.

Take Action

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Remember, feelings of loneliness are often temporary. Guide yourself through these feelings with the help of a trusted counsellor.

Check out these Bytes for more help in forging meaningful connections and meeting new friends:

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This Byte has been authored by

RH

Robin H

Volunteer Learning Designer