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Let’s face it—at one point or another, we’ve all experienced loneliness and the unsettling feelings that come along with it, like social isolation, separation or emptiness. Many situations in life can naturally lead you to feeling this way, such as losing a loved one, moving to a new place or adjusting to major transitions and changes. However, loneliness can also be felt for no reason at all. It’s not necessarily caused by being physically alone. 

Like any human emotion, feeling alone can be complex and experienced differently from person to person. But rest assured, a common thread remains: Loneliness can be entirely normal and commonly felt by all regardless of life circumstances. 

How to deal with loneliness 

Next time the loneliness blues wash over you, think about the following tips to help you get back to feeling better in no time. 

  1. Acknowledge your feelings and express yourself 

    Try writing in a personal diary or writing a letter to a friend or relative, drawing or painting a picture or making up a song. Getting your feelings out into the open allows you to let go and gives them a place to exist outside of your own head and heart. 

  2. Get out of the house 

    Sunlight will give you a healthy dose of vitamin D, which increases levels of "feel-good" chemicals in the brain like dopamine and serotonin. You could also try walking around your favorite store or grabbing a beverage inside a local coffee shop. These options provide a simple way to physically be amongst other people and offer a positive change of scenery. 

  3. Get moving  

    Move in whatever way brings you joy. It could be walking, gardening, dancing to your favorite tunes, etc. Moving is the best way to increase your brain's production of the “feel-good” chemicals. It can also be a healthy release of any physical stress or tension caused by negative emotions. 

  4. Keep yourself busy 

    Pick up an interesting book that you’ve been meaning to read, try a new hobby you saw on social media or knock a productive task off your to-do list. For example, try tidying up a closet or deep cleaning a bathroom to help take your mind off feeling lonely. Intentionally making your alone time more enjoyable and productive will help you savor the solitude and feel comfortable with being in your own company. Plus, it will feel more rewarding, too. 

  5. Socialize with friends or family 

    Socializing gives you a chance to talk to others about your feelings and be around people who inspire your joy and happiness. Even a short phone call with a loved one can improve your mood and help you feel more connected to your support system. 

  6. Get involved 

    Head up a committee at work, join a community club or volunteer at a non-profit organization. These are great opportunities to contribute to a positive cause and interact with new people who most likely share common interests with you. 

  7. Seek help

    Talk to your primary care provider immediately if your feelings of loneliness become too excessive to manage on your own or lead to serious mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety. There’s no shame in needing to use professional resources, such as Gundersen Behavioral Health, for coping with loneliness, especially if it becomes overwhelming or if it starts to interfere with your daily life. 

  8. Remember: This too shall pass

    Keep in mind that you're not alone or isolated in experiencing occasional loneliness. There are times in every person’s life that will cause them to feel lonely. It’s important to remember that, like all emotions, it’s often a temporary experience. There are plenty of healthy, helpful ways to escape and overcome your unwanted feelings.  

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Your mental health affects how you think, feel, act and handle stress. If you're struggling, take our quick, 4-question emotional and mental well-being assessment. This free self-assessment will help you determine if you should seek professional help.

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