What To Do When You Are Feeling Lonely, Lost And Depressed
Everyone gets lonely sometimes, but it’s hard to cope when feelings of worthlessness and loneliness persist. You may begin to lose hope for the future and find it hard to enjoy any aspect of life. Perhaps you’ve tried and failed to find solutions, and you worry that you’ll continue to feel this sad forever. This is a horrible position to be in, but the good news is that it is resolvable.
Overcoming loneliness requires thought and effort, but it is certainly possible. Whether you consistently feel depressed, you’re trying to overcome the loneliness of being single or you don’t quite know why you feel lost at the moment, there are things you can do to improve the situation. This guide could help you understand yourself better and support you in figuring out what to do when you feel lonely.
Symptoms Of Loneliness And Depression
To learn how to stop feeling lonely and depressed, you first need a good grasp of the nature of loneliness. This knowledge can ultimately help you figure out what is making you sad and how to address it.
Going through the following list can function as a kind of “loneliness test.”
You’re still exhausted when you wake up.
… no matter how much you sleep. Research suggests that if you’re lonely, you’re more likely to suffer from fragmented sleep. This means you wake up more often during the night and don’t get enough deep rest.
Your immune system doesn’t seem to be working well.
You catch every virus going, and it’s harder for you to recover from them. This is a response to physical changes caused by the way your stress levels increase when you’re lonely.
You’re tempted to self-medicate.
This may be with food, drugs, alcohol, shopping or anything else that distracts you from feeling low. One massive study on loneliness showed you’re likely to try and fill the void when you’re lonely, hoping that this one little bit of happiness will make up for the sadness you feel.
Little things get you down.
Sources of frustration, irritation, and sadness that once felt tolerable to you are now making you feel dreadful. This is one of the most common symptoms of loneliness and is an indication that your levels of resilience are low.
Your friends complain about being lonely.
You might find this surprising, but the latest science shows that loneliness can be socially contagious. One factor might be that if you and your friends are feeling lonely, you’re obviously not connecting with each other that well.
You have general symptoms of depression.
Depression isn’t always linked to loneliness symptoms. However, when it is, you may notice that you care less about personal maintenance, feel worthless, can’t concentrate, struggle with anxiety and/or no longer feel excited by previous passions.
Why Do I Feel Lonely? The Causes Of Loneliness
There are many reasons you might be feeling lost and lonely. There’s no one answer to the question of what causes loneliness. However, if you’re asking yourself “Why do I feel lonely?”, it might help you to understand some of the evolutionary and biological reasons why you’re having this unpleasant experience.
There are proven connections between your feelings of social isolation and everything from reduced heart health to decreased resistance to disease, so there’s an increasing amount of research on the origins of loneliness. As it turns out, genetic data indicates you can inherit loneliness from a parent. The inheritance rate is estimated at just under 50%. So, if you have a lonely parent, some of your emotional turmoil might have more to do with biology than context.
However, don’t underestimate the significant role that nurture plays in your loneliness. Studies also show that even if you’re genetically identical to another person, you’ll feel lonelier if you have less social support.
There are two key points for you to take away here:
- You might be unlucky enough to have a genetic predisposition to loneliness.
- Controlling factors in your environment can have a powerful impact on whether you remain lonely.
4 Reasons You Feel Lonely Even Though You Have Friends
If you have friends, you might feel perplexed by your own loneliness. However, here are four reasons why you might feel lost and alone in spite of your friends.
- Your social circle is about quantity over quality. Perhaps you have plenty of people who’ll go out with you or have a laugh with you, but very few who feel very close to you.
- You’re naturally introverted. If you’re an introvert, you might not do much to connect with your friends… especially when you’re in a big group. Although sitting quietly is quite natural for an introvert, it can also be lonely.
- You’re highly defended. If you’ve been hurt in the past or just aren’t sure about letting people in, you might not let your friends really know you. And if you don’t show them your authentic self, they can’t give you the validation that can remedy loneliness.
- You spend too much time on social networks. Finally, if you constantly compare your life to those you see online, you’re bound to feel lonely and dissatisfied. Everyone puts an idealized form of themselves on social media, leaving others feeling like they’re not really happy in comparison.
How To Stop Feeling Lonely And Overcome Depression (Steps To Take Right Now)
No matter why you feel lonely, it is possible to feel better. But what should you do, right now, to overcome depression? While you can’t miraculously fix every problem in your life overnight, you can learn to feel better today. Then, you can build on that foundation, gradually creating an everyday reality that actually feels good and right, not inauthentic and sad.
Here are some of the best ways to cope with loneliness and find a new sense of happiness.
Step 1: Accept It As A Feeling
Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of believing that loneliness is forever. You might feel lonely today, this week, or even this month, but it doesn’t mean you are alone or that you have no one who cares for you.
Like all feelings, loneliness is impermanent and it does not define who you are. Accept that you feel lonely, then focus on moving forward.
Step 2: Maintain And Enhance Relationships
If there are people in your life that you wish you were closer to, take steps to make that happen. Suggest plans, make contact, and stick to the arrangements you make.
This applies just as much to family members and friends of many years as it does to new people in your life. Do you know someone you’d like to has a friend? Be brave enough to reach out. Often, they’ll be very glad you did.
Step 3: Disconnect From Social Media
As noted above, social media breeds loneliness by giving you false perceptions. Instead of scrolling through images of everyone’s best selves and happiest times, take a step back from your online life for a while.
Choose to only look at social networks once a day, or perhaps not at all for a month. See if this makes any difference to your loneliness, and ask yourself what you can learn from this.
Step 4: Refocus Your Attention
If you think about sadness and loneliness all the time, you will be sadder and lonelier. Do things that gently nudge your perspective towards the positive.
A gratitude journal is a great example. You can write in it every morning, setting you up for a more optimistic day ahead. Simply write down 5 things that make you feel grateful each day. This process challenges you to find and foster the good in your life.
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Step 5: Learn To Enjoy Your Own Company
Sometimes, you might trick yourself into feeling lonely because you’ve internalized the message that you can only be happy if you’re with others. This isn’t true… there’s a lot of worth to enjoying your own company.
Experiment with ways of having a good time alone. Take a walk in nature (studies show this boosts mood and self-esteem), create something, exercise, plan a day-trip or treat yourself to your favorite meal. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.
Step 6: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Finally, some of the best ways to combat loneliness involve deliberate trying brand new things. Whether you join a book group, learn a new skill at a class or go to a club dedicated to one of your major passions, you’re opening yourself up to the chance of new social connections. What do you have to lose? At worst, you’ll grow as a person and have new experiences under your belt.
Feeling Lonely In A Marriage? How To Deal With Loneliness In A Relationship
You might expect to find yourself feeling lonely after a breakup, but what about when you’re still with someone?
Feeling alone or feeling lonely in a relationship is more common than you’d think. Over time, people can drift apart or take each other for granted, and you might feel like your spouse just doesn’t “get you” anymore.
Here are four tips on how to deal with loneliness in a relationship:
- Be the one to instigate change. If you’re feeling lonely, your partner is probably lonely too. Don’t get trapped in a stalemate where both of you are too afraid or resentful to make the first move. Instead, reach out, show interest and share feelings. If you keep doing this, your partner will likely return the goodwill.
- Reconnect over good memories. No matter what things are like now, there was a time when you and your spouse were happy. You can heal some of the loneliness in a marriage by revisiting those better times. Trade favorite stories, look through photo albums or listen to the songs from your early dates.
- Empathize. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. How is your spouse feeling, and why? How might they see your situation and any points of contention? You can close some of the distance between you simply through this exercise of perspective-taking. And you can take your empathetic attitude into conversation with your spouse.
- Suggest small things. You don’t need to go on grand vacations or move house to make your marriage better. Suggesting simple, manageable dates is a much more effective strategy for treating your loneliness. For example, cook a meal together, go for a walk or see a movie.
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Powerful Daily Affirmations For Enjoying Your Own Company And Combatting Loneliness
Finally, if you’re feeling lonely or lost, try affirmations for loneliness:
- “I am at peace when I’m on my own.”
- “I can appreciate myself for everything that I am.”
- “Only I am responsible for my happiness.”
- “I am learning to love myself and my own company.”
- “I will trust my intuition.”
- “Being alone is rejuvenating me.”
- “I am finding myself by being on my own.”
- “I am creative, happy and at peace when I am on my own.”
- “We all learn new things about ourselves every day.”
- “I will take the time to truly understand myself.”
Feeling Lonely? Overcome Loneliness Today Using The Law Of Attraction
On one final note: It's important to take every opportunity you can to help yourself get closer to ultimate self-love and acceptance.
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