All of us experience occasional bouts of loneliness when, due to one reason or another, we are not able to connect to our loved ones due to physical or emotional distance. Nonetheless, being a common experience doesn’t make loneliness any easier to deal with. If anything, most people are increasingly finding it hard to handle loneliness, which in turn leave them susceptible to emotional and mental breakdowns and even depression.

Learning how to cope with loneliness can greatly help you improve the quality of both your life and those of people close to you. Here are 5 practical ways of dealing with loneliness and lead a more wholesome and fulfilled life:

Avoid Thoughts of Loneliness

Loneliness, like most mental health issues, is more of a state of mind than a physical condition. As such, the first step towards recovery is to consciously change your state of mind. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy process – it’s extremely hard to not feel a strong sense of loneliness after being alone for long periods.

The key is to take note of any creeping thoughts of loneliness and combat them with positive thoughts and aspirations. Remind yourself that the despondency you are feeling is just a temporary situation and things will get better. Easier said than done, I know – but practicing mindfulness mediation will greatly help you with that.

Remember You Are Not Alone

Feeling lonely is an experience shared by many people, especially during these lockdown times. So, whenever you feel alone, remind yourself that millions of other people are in the same situation as you. Further, keep in mind that rejection or isolation is not the end of the world  and that many people have been through the same thing and came out victorious.

Reach Out to Others

A major challenge that people dealing with loneliness face is feeling hopeless and somewhat guilty for not having someone to connect to. If you find yourself in that spot, try to reach out to someone and get to share a moment or two with them, even if you don’t plan to talk about your situation.

Ideally though, it’s advisable to speak your truth to close family members and friends as walking alone in your recovery journey can be quite hectic. You don’t even have to sugar coat it – just be outrightly honest with them, and you may be surprised by their helpful reactions 

Learn The Difference Between Loneliness and Clinical Depression

While most people will experience loneliness without any additional problems, extreme loneliness can trigger depression in others. Knowing how to differentiate the two is key to having timely and more effective interventions.

From a medical perspective, loneliness is a natural reaction to feeling isolated, rejected, or not cared for, and its effects are often temporary. Depression, on the other hand, is a strong sense. of hopelessness, sadness, despondency and/or anger that affects all aspects of your life. Note that it is possible to be both lonely and depressed at the same time.

Contact a Professional

If all the steps above don’t seem to work, the next logical step is to seek professional help. See, despite being a common problem, unchecked loneliness may significantly hamper your day to day life and destroy your relationship with close family and friends. Having a trained professional to guide you through the recovery process means you heal sooner and stop further disintegration of your mental faculties.