Everybody feels lonely sometimes. However, for some people, prolonged isolation or lack of socialisation can increase the feeling of loneliness to the point that it becomes overwhelming. Humans are social creatures, and we need connections with others. However, sometimes we’re put in situations where loneliness seems inevitable, at least for a while. Feeling lonely can be hard at any age, not least for teens and pre-teens who have enough change and emotional upheaval going on as it is. Here are some tips I’ve put together to help young people cope with loneliness.
Meditation can help combat feelings of loneliness
Meditation is another tool that can help you combat feelings of loneliness. It’s something that you practice on your own. Regular meditation helps us train our minds to focus on what’s around us and be present while teaching us not to ruminate or focus on worrying thoughts. This can help enable us to ‘switch off’ feelings of loneliness. Meditation has plenty of other benefits too, which I discuss in greater detail in this article about meditation.
Join a club or group
Joining a club or group can be quite helpful for people who otherwise feel alone in life. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and become part of a community, giving you a sense of belonging. It’s also helpful for giving you an outlet outside your school and/or work life. This could be a sports club, a musical society, or even a voluntary group in your local community.
Try new hobbies or activities
Taking up a new hobby or activity can be a great way to combat loneliness. As mentioned above, there may be a local club or group in which you can join and take part in a new hobby with like-minded others and get to know new people. Even if you sometimes end up practising it on your own at home, a hobby at least gives you something to occupy your mind with and takes it away from negative or lonely thoughts.
When we don’t have anyone to talk to, it can be difficult to avoid having feelings of loneliness bubble up inside. This is where keeping a journal or diary can help. By writing out (or even drawing) our feelings, thoughts, and emotions, we’re releasing them to an extent. This is a healthy alternative to bottling our feelings of loneliness up inside.
Take regular exercise
Not only is regular exercise important for us physically, but it’s also important for us mentally too. It can be effective in helping us when we are feeling lonely. For instance, while we’re running, it can be hard for us to focus on how lonely we feel because we’re putting our energy and mindset into the actual running. The fresh air helps too. Building exercise into our routine helps break up lonely days too.
Get out in general
If you can, try to get out rather than stay indoors all day; staying inside won’t help when you’re feeling lonely. Even walking along a busy street can allow us to soak in the general buzz and make us feel part of something bigger, even if we’re not actively meeting anyone.
Talk to people when you can and tell them how your loneliness is making you feel
Talking is important, it’s not good to bottle up our feelings. When you do meet people, be it a trusted friend, aunt, uncle, etc, tell them how loneliness is making you feel. Even if you can’t meet physically, in this day and age it’s easy to chat with people over long distances, be it by phone call or perhaps a Skype or Zoom session. Of course, you should always be mindful of talking to strangers online who may not have your best interests at heart, but there’s no reason why you can’t do this with family members and friends.
Remember, there are helplines out there to assist people who are feeling alone. These include:
Aware https://www.aware.ie/ Support line Freephone 1800 80 48 48 (adults)
Pieta https://www.pieta.ie/how-we-can-help/helpline/ Freephone 1800247247