Being alone shouldn’t have to mean that you’re feeling alone. It could be a chance to discover yourself better, enhance your mental wellbeing, and do things you like.
“People are social beings who are hardwired to connect with others. At the same time, it’s critical to learn to handle and even enjoy extended periods of solitude, according to Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, psychologist and owner of Baltimore Therapy Group in Baltimore, Maryland., psychologist and the owner of Baltimore Therapy Group in Baltimore, Maryland.
The treatment of loneliness
Naturally, we often feel lonely. It’s normal to be lonely, and that’s fine.
Psychologist Ashley Hampton says to combat loneliness, first figures out why you feel lonely.
“Doing the work to uncover why you experience loneliness and where those feelings come from will help reshape those experiences and feelings from negative – being lonely – to positive – feeling grateful for the quiet, for example.”
If you’re feeling lonely, Headlee suggests you connect with friends.
“Tell someone you’re in a bind. … Strangers will be willing to talk when you say you’re not alone. The study’s author Nicholas Epley said nobody does, but most people wave back. We’re all afraid to make contact with other people, but there’s evidence-based research that proves our fears aren’t true. People love us more than we imagine and are more friendly and likeable in conversation than we think.”
Hampton states that the most important thing to do when combating loneliness is to be in touch with yourself.
“Are you telling yourself that you’re not worthy because you’re alone? Have you constructed a narrative in your head than solitude is better than experiencing loneliness? Do these stories hold, or are they safeguarding you? Finding out the factors contributing to depression is crucial since actions, feelings and thoughts are all interconnected.”
It doesn’t matter if it’s voluntary or required. There are seven ways to feel more content in your own space:
- Create a connection with yourself
Being on your own allows you to strengthen your connection with yourself. But, it’s not always simple to build a relationship.
“Alone time may be challenging for people for various reasons,” Lyons adds. “Dig into your discomfort to understand more about yourself. Consider what arises for you when you are alone.”
Think or write about your values, hobbies, dislikes, and true feelings, for example.
In a considerable study scheduled for 2020 that the United Kingdom conducted, participants completed surveys every two years about their overall health and volunteer habits between 1996 and 2014. Volunteers who had volunteered at least once per month had better mental health than those who did not volunteer at all or never.
It is also possible to do this without having to leave your home. “You can volunteer to tutor students via video or donate to a food bank,” says Tina B. Tessina, doctoral student, LMFT, a psychotherapist in Long Beach, California.
3. Discover something completely new
Be proactive and learn and absorb new information or practice a skill at home. “This might include engaging in activities that require executive functioning skills like focus such as reading or creating,” she says. Lyons.
“Consider doing something different than usual: this is a great time to try something new or take a class via video,” advises Tessina.
Being active is an excellent way to go toward happiness. “Partaking in a daily, mindful walk or engaging in some form of physical activity could alleviate anxiety,” suggests Leela of R. Magavi, MD, a psychiatrist and medical director of the regional office of Community Psychiatry in Newport Beach California.
In an extensive 2017 study, the researchers discovered that those who exercised frequently had 43.2 per cent fewer days of bad mental health during the previous month than those who were not active.
5. Take time to be in nature.
A massive study in 2019 found that those who spent 2 hours outdoors during a week were more likely to report higher overall health and wellbeing than those who did not spend any time outdoors.
The amount of time spent outdoors in smaller portions or large chunks of time did not alter the results. The benefits were most significant, between 200 and 300 minutes of outdoor time per week. Walk for a long time or sit in a park to read or sit out in the open.
6. Practice gratitude
It’s easy to become distracted by the things you do not have.
“I recommend my patients list things they are thankful for physically, emotionally, and spiritually every morning and evening, especially when lonely during the holidays,” Magali says. “Furthermore, creating gratitude lists and reading these aloud in front of the mirror could help target multiple sensory centres in the brain to maximize the benefits of this activity.”
7. Refrain from using social media
Although social media might seem like a great way to meet new people, it could trigger more splendid isolation.
A massive investigation in 2019 of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 discovered a link between social media usage and feelings of isolation. For every 10 per cent more negative experiences they had on the social network, people experienced an increase of 13% in feelings of loneliness.