Many people go through periods in life where they feel lonely, especially after a major life change such as a divorce or moving to a new city where you don't know anyone. When this feeling of loneliness and isolation goes on for months or years, however, it can lead to depression and even have a negative impact on your physical health. Just because you've been lonely for a long time, however, doesn't mean things need to stay that way. Here are a few effective ways to combat chronic loneliness.
See a Therapist
Seeing a therapist when you are experiencing severe loneliness can help in a few different ways. Your therapist can help address any underlying issues that are making it difficult to connect with people, such as low self-esteem, fear of intimacy, or social anxiety. They will give you practical tools you can use to form better relationships.
In addition, just the act of talking to an empathetic and insightful professional each week can alleviate some of your loneliness, especially if you have been lacking the chance to open up and communicate your innermost thoughts.
Join Groups or Classes
Groups and classes are a low-pressure, relaxed way to meet new people, socialize, and participate in activities you enjoy all at the same time. Look online for groups or classes meeting in your area and relating to current interests.
Better yet, use this as an opportunity to try something new that you've been curious about. This would be a great time to volunteer, take a creative writing or art class, learn a martial art, or join a book club. Anyone you meet will automatically share at least one interest with you, making it easy to find things to talk about.
Take a More Active Role
Sometimes when someone is lonely they convince themselves that none of their family members or friends really want to see them, without even trying to make plans. Instead of passively waiting for people to call or text you to catch up or make social plans, make a point of reaching out yourself.
Take an active role in communicating with friends and family so they know you actually want to be sociable. Even just sending a text to say hi to a friend you haven't talked to in a while is a positive step.
By working with a therapist, such as Donald McEachran, PHD, and following these tips in a proactive way, you should soon experience relief from your feelings of chronic loneliness.