DISCLAIMER: I’m no medical doctor, I’m just your normal Jo Blogs sharing her life experiences and raising awareness for autism and mental health. If you see anything out of the ordinary or feel out of the ordinary for yourself or your loved on, I advise you to seek help and answers with a medical professional as I don’t forever condone self-harm.
Most, if not all, of us feel loneliness at some point in our lives.
Unfortunately, loneliness can become chronic and result in depression if it is not dealt with effectively and professionally.
Therefore, it is crucial to deal with your loneliness in healthy ways in order to reduce the likelihood of developing a longer-term condition.
There are ways to avoid depression from loneliness by using coping skills when you feel lonely, increasing social connection, and exploring your feelings of loneliness
to avoid depressions.
So, here I am today to give you all some advice on these three methods on how to not get depressed by loneliness.
So, as you’re aware basically I’m going to be talking about as I said about a how-to comprehension guide for you guys on dealing with loneliness and hopefully the methods and techniques that will help you.
So, there are three different methods:
Method 1- Reducing Your Loneliness
Method 2 – Increasing Social Connection
Method 3 is Preventing Depression from Loneliness
So, let’s begin this.
METHOD 1: REDUCING LONELINESS
- Change the way you think about being alone
The nature of our thoughts determines the quality of our life whether it is sad, happy or contented.
Also, happy, optimistic, positive thoughts, emotions, and feelings generate a zing in our system which makes the blood flow freely and heartbeat joyously if we’re in that happy state. They create a spring in our feet and spur us to action. Let us remember the age-old saying that the mind- thoughts- can move the mountains. Pessimistic, sad and gloomy thoughts, on the other hand, create inertia and force us to stay bed-bound.
The way we usually think and act upon certain things will determine every outcome or situation that we face in the life of our everyday challenges. Yet, what we do and say etc is up to us and starts with us and ends with us. We can be our own worse enemy when we create some negativity in our lives. Our actions are the practical manifestations of our thoughts.
It is quite clear, therefore, that we must bring about a change in the way we think in order to create happiness and a sense of fulfilment in our life. A good thing about our brain is that it willingly adopts any changes that we bring about in our thinking patterns.
Your thoughts can change your feelings (loneliness, depression) and behaviours (how well we cope and how well we adapt to the changes around us). If you think negatively about being alone, you will most likely have negative feelings about it. However, if you embrace being alone you may be able to better cope with it and reduce your loneliness overall. Use positive self-talk. For example, tell yourself that being alone can be a good thing. Tell yourself, “It’s okay to be alone. I like my own company.” This can help you build up your tolerance for being alone.
When you find yourself thinking negatively about being alone such as, “I hate being alone. I’m so lonely. This is terrible,” think of some alternative thoughts that might be more realistic and helpful. For example, you could think or tell yourself, “I can deal with being alone. I feel lonely but I know I can cope with it. It’s not so bad. Alone time can be a positive thing.”
Note: I’ll share some ways for us to change our thoughts of the negatives in one of my next videos.
- Manage your thoughts about your social interactions.
Again, it’s okay to be lonely for a time if you need it for yourself to better yourself as a person.
Don’t forever feel that you should be socialising all the time in other words too. It’s a given that sometime in our lives that we’ll face loneliness. Yet, the question is as I shared is or can loneliness be a good thing for us?
Loneliness does have its pros and cons along with its benefits and disadvantages. We need to be aware of our feelings and emotions and everything around us to what’s going on and hopefully, to react in the right way when these situations that we come to face, hit us in our face.
People will feel lonely for quite a number of reasons, which may be including something like simple social awkwardness and intentional isolation. Some people may even feel lonely when they are surrounded by people because they lack meaningful connections with those people.
Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes in our lives as I’ve mentioned, but it is never pleasant to any of us. Dealing with loneliness can take many forms, such as
including meeting new people, learning to appreciate your alone time, and reconnecting with your own family and so much more. You can click above me to what I shared about a few tips and advice on how to overcome and deal with loneliness on a daily.
(Video – Dealing with Loneliness [How To Guide] Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPx-BEzDJzg )
Studies show that how you think about yourself in relation to others has an impact on your level of loneliness.
Fear of rejection can discourage social activity and increase feelings of loneliness. As we know that fear of rejection is an emotion and sometimes many of us we feel that kind of feeling based on that if we’re trying to socialise and more.
If you are thinking you are inferior, this may lead to worrying about social interactions. Remind yourself that we are each different but we are equal. We are worthy. Expect positive outcomes instead of negative ones when interacting with others. Think of alternative ways that the situation might pan out for you. For example, perhaps the person will like you! It may not always turn out as badly as you think it will.
3. Surround yourself with animals.
Animals are the next best thing to humans. There is a reason some therapeutic treatments involve therapy dogs or nature-related activities.
Research suggests that being in nature or around animals can give you sense of calm and reduce loneliness. Get a dog, cat, or any other pet (fish, hamster, etc). However, don’t overload yourself with too many pets that are difficult to manage. Make sure you identify first what you are prepared to take care of (a fish vs. a dog can be a big difference). If you’ve never owned a pet before, start small. If you cannot get a pet, go to the pet store and spend some time with the animals. You could also visit a zoo, or offer to watch a friend’s pet for the weekend.
With almost no effort at all, pets manage to bring so much joy into our lives. They make us laugh, comfort us when we’re sick or upset, and are always there for us no matter what. Not everyone understands the bond between human and animal or the beast, though, or even realizes how much pets do for their owners. We will take a quick look at ten of the benefits of having a furry friend.
1) They keep you fit
All breeds of dogs need regular, daily walks in order to stay happy and healthy, and so do we! However, we sometimes have the tendency to get a bit lazy – if that sounds like you, a dog is a perfect cure! They’ll be dragging you out the front door and making you run around the park each and every day. Yes, a dog is possibly the best personal trainer you could ask for.
2) They make sure you’re never lonely
If you live by yourself, or your partner works different shift patterns to you, it can get awfully lonely at home – unless you have a pet, of course! Cats and dogs make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home and they’ll be happy to lend an ear should you want to moan about the awful day you’ve had and won’t answer you back if you did have a bad day. Plus, most of the time, they’re up for a snuggle on the sofa.
3) They lower your stress levels
Modern life is stressful and high levels of anxiety can lead to numerous health problems. Luckily, pets can really help us relax –stroking your cat or simply watching fish swim around in a tank can make your worries melt away. Previous studies have proven that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people who don’t own a pet. That means having a furry pal can decrease the chances of suffering a heart attack later in life.
4) They can help you make friends
The pet owner community is an incredibly friendly one – you’ll often find that people will stop to talk to you about your dog in the park. Having a pet is a great way to meet new people and create bonds quickly, especially if you’re not too good at small talk. You never know, owning a dog may help you meet the love of your life!
5) They can improve your immune system
Pets spend a lot of their time outside and therefore bring all sorts of dirt and germs into your home.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – the additional germs can help improve your immunity to colds and other mild illnesses. In fact, previous studies have shown that babies who live with a dog tend to experience fewer infections and are generally healthier than those who don’t.
6) They can stop your children from developing allergies
While it’s no guarantee that owning a pet will stop your children from developing certain allergies, the evidence suggests the dander in their fur may help. However, it’s worth noting that you should never own a cat or dog if you are allergic to them – you won’t suddenly become immune!
7) They can catch cancer early
It’s no secret that a dogs’ sense of smell is incredible, but did you know that some canines are capable of detecting cancer? Several pet owners have reported that their dog saved their lives after they noticed they were constantly pawing at, sniffing or even licking a tumour hidden underneath the skin.
8) They can teach kids responsibility
Every parent has heard the question ‘Can I have a pony/puppy/hamster?’ at some point in their child’s life. It’s no secret that kids love animals, and if they’re old enough, having one as a pet can actually teach them a lot of important skills. Not only will they learn the practical skills required to own a pet, such as cleaning out the cage, grooming and teaching tricks; they’ll also develop their nurturing and empathy skills, which are vital in later life.
9) They make you feel safe
Not everyone likes being home alone, but having a cat or dog there can make you feel a lot safer. Plus, burglars are less likely to target a house that’s clearly home to a dog. Some breeds make excellent guard dogs and will even protect you when you’re out for a run or walk.
10) They can provide companionship to children with learning difficulties
Children with autism and similar learning disorders often find it difficult talking to fellow human beings, but they have no problem at all with chatting away to friendly animals. After all, your pets can’t answer back and will always keep your secrets!
Looking after a pet is a big responsibility, but when you consider all the benefits above, they make all that hard work worthwhile. Whether you choose to keep a cat, dog, horse or hamster, they’ll make a great companion.
When alone, reading can give you a sense of social connection and help combat loneliness. You can connect with the author or characters in the book. Reading can also transport you to another place and distract you momentarily from feeling lonely. Read as much as possible, because reading not only calms you but also helps keep your mind fresh and active. Pick a novel that you can read for pleasure. Choose a genre that you enjoy such as adventure, fantasy, or sci-fi. You can even read a magazine. Many books are available online as well.
METHOD 2: INCREASING SOCIAL CONNECTION
1. Develop healthy relationships.
Individuals who have satisfying interpersonal relationships and friendships show reduced depression, a more positive outlook, and a better ability to deal with challenging situations and feelings overall. Social support can help reduce the stress that is associated with feeling lonely. Going to therapy and going to family therapy are good ways to work on your relationships with whoever it may be. Focus on engaging in social activities that can lead to friendships.
Keep away from cynical and negative people if they bring you down. It’s okay to cut people out of your family, friends or whoever they are that are negative because we shouldn’t have to deal with negativity on a daily. Ask for help when you need it. Again asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and courage. It’s a sign of you accepting and coming to terms as an acknowledgement in yourself that there’s something not quite right for yous.
2. Have realistic expectations when you socialize.
Rejection can be more of a worry when you feel lonely. Remember that rejection is another feeling/emotion that we feel. After all, we are humans and we are meant to feel things Try not to put pressure on yourself to make a new best friend or a fantastic conversation with each social interaction that you get involved with. Instead, try to enjoy the feeling of connecting in the moment. Social networking can be an option. Social networking allows you to connect with other people without having to worry too much about rejection. Try leaving a comment on someone’s post, or sending someone a short message.
When you’re socializing in person however on the other hand, whether with someone you know or a stranger, try making small talk. You can start with the friendly question, “How is your day going?”. Asking someone how their day is going may not seem like the start of a profound conversation, but it allows you to make a small connection with anyone you meet, and again in saying this that it may also lead to another conversation in depth later on. If it doesn’t lead you to a deeper conversation that’s fine. If not, you’ve still shared a moment with another person and that you’re showing that other person also that you’re showing some interest with that person or vice versa they’re showing interest in you while you’re being open.
3. Be open to meeting new people.
Yes, it can be hard for us coming down to being lonely, being socially awkward or whatever it may be in this day and age. I will admit that I am still a little bit socially awkward, shy and all that in myself but then again it’s just me. Signing up for a dating website, joining a group or club, volunteering, or taking a class are just a few ways to put yourself in situations where you’ll meet new people who share common interests with you.
If you are interested in and connect with someone, a great way to follow up is by adding him or her on a social networking site (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or what have you) or even on your cellphone, if you want to have the courage to phone them or text them. Remember that the relationships you form may not grow deeper right away, and that’s OK. For now, focus on how it feels to connect with people again at that moment.
- Be proud of yourself when you make progress.
It can be tough to get out there and socialize with people. Each time you make a connection, whether it’s making small talk with a stranger or asking someone in your class out for coffee, be proud of yourself for reaching out. Feeling positive about your social achievements will help you continue making an effort to connect with people. As your social needs are increasingly met, you’ll begin to feel less lonely.
METHOD 3: PREVENTING DEPRESSION FROM LONELINESS
- Engage in positive activities.
Doing positive activities may help reduce the risk of depression, and it’s an effective strategy for regulating emotions.
Research shows that focusing on positive activities can shift attention away from distressing thoughts that are on our mind. On the other hand, focusing on something negative can cause increased distress and other negative stuff.
Go for a light walk in the park or some calming place. Watch a funny movie. Laughter really can be the best medicine after all. Laughter can also be your best friend. Laughter has been shown to increase overall health and happiness. Social support is a crucial component of preventing depression. If you can, try to spend time with or talk to others in order to prevent depression. Call up a friend, coworker, or family member so that you can therefore talk to them.
2. Use mindfulness.
If you have been depressed previously due to loneliness or any other reason behind it,
because as I said before that loneliness can be a profactor that interlaps with mental health; be it depression, anxiety and everything else. But in saying this, mindfulness can help reduce the likelihood that you will get depressed again.
Benefits of Mindfulness
There are many benefits for Mindfulness and The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of prayer or meditation technique that helps shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life.
Professor emeritus Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine and demonstrated that practising mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health, attitudes, and behaviours.
- Mindfulness improves well-being.
Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfying life.
Being mindful makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events of the here and now. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practise mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem issues and are better able to form deep connections with others.
- Mindfulness improves physical health.
If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
3. Mindfulness improves mental health.
In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder
How does mindfulness work?
Some experts believe that mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance.
It’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive-behavioural therapy. This development makes good sense since both meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, however, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation.
- Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.
- Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.
- Sensory – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without judgment and let them go.
- Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.
- Urge surfing – Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviors) and allow them to pass. Notice how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.
Mindfulness has also been shown to help individuals who feel lonely. Mindfulness is about giving your full attention to what you are currently doing and experiencing. Often we are distracted from the present moment by thoughts about the past (regrets) or future (worry about what might happen). Practice mindfulness as often as you can, especially when you start to become lonely or depressed.
Try a mindfulness walk. Simply take a walk down the street and focus solely on your walk. Notice the sounds you hear, the things you see, the smells, and how you feel. Is it hot or cold out? Is there a breeze or is the air still? Do you see any birds in the sky? Is it cloudy or sunny out? Another mindfulness exercise is mindfulness-based meditation and guided imagery. Close your eyes and imagine you are in a safe place.
This can be a beach, your bedroom, or sitting under your favourite tree at a local park. Imagine that you are there. Experience your safe place in its entirety including what it feels like (i.e. the sand beneath your toes), smells like (salty air, fish), looks like (notice the whole environment), tastes like (if you eat something or drink something), as well as what you hear (the waves crashing). When you have spent sufficient time in your safe space and feel relaxed you can open your eyes.
You can practice mindfulness easily at home, by paying close attention to whatever you are currently doing.
For example, if you are washing the dishes – focus your attention solely on this experience. Notice how it feels on your hands, the temperature of the water, as well as what you see. Often our minds will wander when we do these types of mundane activities.
Observe any thoughts that come into your mind, and without judgment, let them pass. Accept your thoughts and then re-direct your attention back to what you are doing. You can research and find many more mindfulness exercises by conducting a quick google search or using some of the other apps and techniques from your cellphone.
- Take care of your health.
Depression poses a significant health risk because it can negatively affect medical afflictions.
Overall health is positively related to mental health and well-being.
Health issues can also contribute to feelings of depression. In order to effectively prevent depression due to loneliness, you will need to focus on maintaining your physical health.
Improving your nutrition by eating healthier can help prevent and decrease mental health problems.
Your body needs proper nutrients to function optimally. Ditch the junk food and focus on eating plenty of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Make sure you get adequate rest.
This means at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Maintain a sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time each night
and waking up at the same time each morning (even on weekends).
Aerobic exercise has been linked to reductions in depression. Walk, run, hike, do anything that gets you moving.
If you have any current medical conditions (especially those that affect depression) make sure you have regular visits to your doctor.
- Consider getting treatment.
If you think you are already doing all that you can and still feel lonely, or your loneliness is growing into depression, it may be wise to seek expert help from your professionals. Therapists and psychologists can assist you in developing a clinical and research-based plan to reduce your depression or loneliness.
Therapies such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as I said before and Interpersonal Therapy have been shown to reduce and prevent repeated depression. Contact your medical insurance provider to inquire about obtaining therapeutic services such as therapy or psychotropic medication (antidepressants, etc).
If you lack in medical insurance, you can conduct a local search of low-cost mental health services. Many government agencies also provide low-cost health insurance. Psychiatrists can prescribe you medication if you are open to that. Ask your primary care doctor or therapist for a referral.