Everyone suffers from the occasional bout of loneliness in their life. Sometimes this can occur during a period of change, such as a relationship ending or changing jobs, leaving us feeling increasingly distanced from other people. For some individuals, however, loneliness can be more than just a fleeting sensation.
Consistent loneliness can be signs that you’re struggling in your relationships, friendships, or connections. This may be becoming an even more common problem as well, as the rates of loneliness have been increasing in the United States, with about 40% of Americans reporting being lonely in 2013.
Human beings thrive on relationships and social support, and loneliness itself can lead to sadness and emptiness that could affect mental health. If you feel like you may be struggling with loneliness, consider the following:
Don’t Isolate Yourself
When you are struggling with loneliness, it may feel pointless or difficult to be around other people. But keeping your own company will make your isolation worse. When there is no one around you, there are no people there to help challenge any negative thoughts you may be experiencing. Spend time with those you care about often to keep yourself from feeling lonely.
You may also want to put down the SmartPhone and depend less on social media, as both are known to increase feelings of loneliness.
Stay Mentally or Physically Busy
Often loneliness comes from overthinking about the current quality of your life. As a Long Island psychologist, I see many people that don’t feel lonely until they are left alone with their own thoughts. Make sure you’re keeping yourself busy. Play sports, join active groups, and give yourself tasks to do while at home that either involve others or are more comfortable alone so that your mind isn’t wandering to negative feelings.
Combat Your Self-Esteem
Loneliness is an interesting emotion. Although most picture loneliness as caused by being alone, in some cases it can be caused by not feeling like others want to be with you, or that you’re able to connect well to others. That is a self-esteem issue, and something that can benefit greatly from self-esteem counseling from a Long Island psychologist.
Develop Relationships and Find Contentment
Loneliness can be an overwhelming emotion, and one that often becomes self-sustaining. The more you feel alone, the harder it is to feel a connection with and from others.
If you have been struggling with feelings of loneliness, or you need help developing and maintaining relationships, contact Long Island psychologist and relationship therapist Dr. Marc Shulman today.