If you are lonely, following these 5 tips can help you feel more connected to others.
Many Americans feel more alone than ever. In fact, research shows there is an epidemic of loneliness in our country that has gotten worse as a result of the global pandemic. Knowing how to overcome loneliness can not only go a long way in improving our mental health, but it can have a big impact on our physical health, too.
Loneliness has been connected to serious health issues, such as higher rates of cardiovascular disease, dementia and early mortality, as well as to an increase in depression and anxiety. That makes finding ways to combat loneliness an important aspect of staying healthier overall.
Here are 5 tips for strengthening your social connections so you don't feel so lonely:
- Put yourself out there. Although more people are back in the groove of socializing now that the pandemic is over, some habits may not have returned to normal. If you are still working remotely, you may be missing out on much-needed human connection. If you have gotten comfortable doing things on your own, you may not be as apt to socialize with old friends or meet new people. Think back to what you were doing when you didn't feel so lonely and give yourself a push to do some of those things again.
- Help others. One great way to feel more connected and valued is to give of ourselves. Whether you join a volunteer organization or help out a neighbor, finding ways to assist others can go a long way in combatting loneliness.
- Reach out to people. Don't wait around for people to contact you. Take the initiative and reach out to people you want to stay connected to. Whether you meet in person, send a text or jump on a FaceTime call, spending even a few minutes communicating with people you love can make you feel more connected and less lonely.
- Be fully present. So many of us have become distracted these days and don't give our full attention to the people we're with. Whether we're scrolling on our phone, listening to something on TV or making a mental to-do list in our head, we diminish the time we spend together. Be fully present and you'll enjoy the time you spend with people more. Ask others to reciprocate by giving you their full attention, too.
- Focus on quality over quantity. You don't need to have relationships with a lot of people to not feel lonely. You just need to find quality people that you enjoy being with and who value you in return. Even one or two important people in your life can make all the difference in the world.
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Date Last Reviewed: June 16, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD