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Feeling lonely? Here's what you can do about it.

You or someone you may know could experience feelings of loneliness at some point in your lifetime.

Loneliness—not a direct result of being alone— is feeling isolated, separated and empty inside.

Here are some tips to help reduce feelings of loneliness:

  1. Recognize and express yourself by writing in a diary or writing a letter to a friend or relative, drawing or painting a picture or making up a song.
  2. Get out of the house to help you feel less alone. Sunlight will give you a dose of vitamin D, which increases levels of "feel-good" chemicals in the brain called dopamine and serotonin.
  3. Keep busy to help take your mind off of feeling lonely.
  4. Socialize with friends or family. This gives you a chance to talk to others about your feelings.
  5. Get moving by walking, gardening, shopping, cleaning, etc. Moving is the best way to increase your brain's production of dopamine.
  6. Choose a hobby you have always wanted to get into and be sure it's something you enjoy.
  7. Get involved at work, in a community club or through volunteering. This is a great opportunity for interaction with others.

Know that you are not alone. There are times in everyone's life when we feel lonely. Knowing how to escape those feelings is key to overcoming feelings of loneliness.

If you persistently feel lonely for no apparent reason, it can also be a sign of depression and something you should talk to your family and healthcare provider about.

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