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10 ways to overcome loneliness

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Being separated from loved ones or colleagues doesn’t have to leave you feeling isolated and alone. Here are 10 scientific and creative ways to feel reconnected.

What does loneliness do to a person?

Aside from affecting your mood and outlook, loneliness can have other impacts on your health and wellbeing, too. 

Research shows it has a role to play in everything from your sleep quality  to your heart health  – and even how well your brain  and immune system function .

So it pays to do what you can to prevent feelings of loneliness creeping in or to fight back if you’re already feeling that way. 

Staying connected to your friends and family using phone and video calls, or even trading emails, text messages and letters , is a great place to start, but there are other things you can do to re-establish a greater sense of connection to others. 

Here are 10 research-approved suggestions:

1. Meditate

Research shows that when you make the effort to do practise regularly, meditation can help to reduce feelings of loneliness in just a few weeks . 

Plus, it can also help relieve stress and deliver a better night’s sleep. Learn how to do a short breathing meditation here.

2. Offer someone your help

It doesn’t matter whether it’s someone you know well, a neighbour or a complete stranger – when you offer your support or practical assistance to another person, you’ll immediately feel more socially connected .  

 

 

3. Daydream

When you imagine spending time with loved ones, studies prove the visualisation can help you feel more connected . 

And getting your mind to wander creatively isn’t as hard as you might rel="noopener noreferrer" think when you know how .

4. Limit how much time you spend on social media

It might seem like an easy way to stay connected, but a 2018 study shows the opposite is true: feelings of loneliness tend to fall the less people use social media. 

The researchers behind the findings say it’s because you’re less likely to compare your life to that of others when you avoid social media  such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. 

5. Take a happy snap

Making the effort to seek out and take a photo of an object in nature that you find beautiful every single day, even if it’s something small, can help you feel closer to other people and the world around you, according to the results of a 2016 study .

6. Start writing a blog

If you’re passionate about something or have a thing to share, research proves that blogging about it is one way to foster a sense of connectedness to others .

7. Practise mindfulness

Results of a 2019 study suggest you’ll feel less lonely when you focus on awareness. Mindfulness is a skill that involves being present and fully engaged with whatever you’re doing in the moment  and there are simple ways you can be more mindful every day.

8. Send photos to your friends

Have a bunch of pictures that you know will bring a smile to people’s faces? Share the love! 

Regularly making the effort to present your pics to others can help you feel more connected to friends and family, even when you can’t catch up in person .

9. Foster a pet

If you’re spending more time at home, it could be the perfect opportunity to introduce a four-legged friend who needs help finding a forever home. 

And having a pooch around is a scientifically proven antidote to loneliness .

10: Spend time with your favourite TV characters

While it’s no substitute for hanging out with your loved ones, data shows that partaking in ‘illusionary relationships’ with characters and personalities on your favourite TV shows really can give you a sense of belonging and help you feel less alone  when you cannot connect with real people. 

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