Being Alone Doesn’t Mean You Have to Be Lonely

Everyone experiences feelings of loneliness at one point or another in their lives. A recent study out of Harvard found that 36 percent of all Americans experience “serious loneliness.” People naturally crave a connection with others. When we can’t find those connections, it can lead to thoughts of hopelessness, isolation, and even stress-related illnesses. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging, research links feelings of isolation and loneliness in seniors with a higher risk for developing multiple harmful health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and more. The good news is that you don’t need a romantic relationship or even a close family to develop strong connections with others.

There are many ways to combat feelings of loneliness. Try looking for opportunities to be with people and join them. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few suggestions that can get you started:

1) Try joining a class or a club
Finding like-minded people who share your hobbies or interests is a great way to form lasting relationships. Local libraries, parks, and recreation departments have many different opportunities to find community.

2) Volunteer
Try finding an organization or cause you support and find ways to volunteer. This could include a local animal shelter, soup kitchen, or even a local clean-up initiative. Not only will this help you build relationships, but volunteering also gives people a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

3) Strengthen Pre-Existing Relationships
Sometimes opportunities to make profound relationships with others are right under our noses. Take time to think about the people in your life that could become good friends. Maybe that means striking up a conversation with a coworker that you haven’t spent much time with or maybe reaching out to a friend with whom you’ve lost contact.

4) Adopt a Pet
Pets provide us with loyal companionship and can reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and loneliness.
Being rooted in the past is often an inhibitor for those seeking more meaningful relationships with others. It’s easy to questions emotionally close relationships for those who have experienced neglect, isolation, physical abuse, chaos, and disappointment. Feeling disconnected as a child can lead to wondering about lovability and our place in the world. Replacing negative attitudes with ones of hope and kindness enriches relationships. Memories of times with good people enrich us as do spending time with pets and nature.

When combating feelings of loneliness, it’s important to remember to be compassionate to yourself by paying attention to your nutrition, sleep, exercise, and recreation. Focus on the good happening in your life and don’t be afraid to find psychological health if you need it.

“Positive connections with people, pets, nature, and the spiritual lead people to relaxation and contentment,” said Christian W. Mosemann, MSW, BCD of TPMG Behavioral Health. Feelings of loneliness can lead to depression and other serious conditions. Sometimes we can’t figure out how to control these feelings on our own. Talking to a mental health professional can help you find ways to get out of the house, readjust your thoughts, and elevate your mood and energy.

It’s important to remember that being alone does not mean you have to be lonely. Staying connected to people takes a lot of effort, but it is definitely worth the work you put in. TPMG Behavioral Health offers support for those who might experience depression or anxiety due to loneliness. Loneliness has a way to make it seem like you are completely isolated, but you have to remember that you’re never alone.

christian mosemann

About Christian W. Mosemann, LCSW, MSW, BCD

Christian W. Mosemann, LCSW, MSW, BCD, is an experienced psychotherapist practicing at TPMG Behavioral Health in Newport News, VA. Mr. Mosemann’s primary professional interest is in couple’s relationships and he enjoys working with couples to help them work towards and, ultimately, maintain a positive, loving relationship. He believes there is nothing finer than coming home to an environment of mutual trust, respect, and genuine enjoyment in your partner’s company.

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