Health

The Very Real Side Effects of Being Lonely

3. Discover A Place To Volunteer. Many lonely people feel unrecognized, unnoticed, and altogether unimportant. They may have exceptional skills that their bosses do not seem… Trista - November 15, 2021
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3. Discover A Place To Volunteer.

Many lonely people feel unrecognized, unnoticed, and altogether unimportant. They may have exceptional skills that their bosses do not seem interested in learning about or using. They are often very kind and caring, especially because they know the feeling of being left out. Volunteering is a great way to use your skills and time in a way that matters and helps other people. In the process, you will connect with people who benefit from your services and experience increased self-esteem from knowing that you did something that did help another person. 

There are so many different options for volunteering, so start by thinking about something that you care about particularly and what skills you have that you could use. Are you especially concerned about the environment? About hunger or homelessness in your community? What about the public schools in your local area? Maybe some children need tutoring, or the school administration has some odd jobs that a volunteer could help out with. And if you are feeling particularly lonely, think about who else feels lonely: animals living in a shelter, waiting to be adopted. Spending one-on-one time with dogs and cats in a shelter helps socialize them so that when they get adopted, they are better able to bond with their new family. 

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2. Find People With Similar Interests.

Making new friends can be challenging, especially if you are struggling with loneliness and have grown to appreciate the isolation. But getting out and building new connections with other people is essential to overcoming loneliness and the negative health consequences. Finding people who have similar interests can be a great way to create new friendships. Besides, experiencing the human connection that is the essence of life. Before you can do that, you need to think about what your interests are! If you have been experiencing loneliness or depression, you may have forgotten what you enjoy or otherwise lost interest in them. Take a few minutes to make a list of the things that interest you, be they growing plants, buying organic food, reading mystery novels, going hiking, walking along the beach, whatever the case may be.

There are plenty of ways to find people who have similar interests. One is through social media, which can be an excellent resource for finding people who have the same hobbies. There are Facebook groups for people who enjoy growing plants or readings. Groups for athletes or students to connect, and so much more. Sure, connecting virtually is less ideal than in-person. However, people who are severely depressed may be more comfortable with a virtual connection. That is, until they feel more comfortable with the idea of meeting people in person. To find in-person groups, your local library can be an excellent resource. You can learn about things going on in the community, including interest groups. Also, try to look for hobby stores; for example, if you appreciate art and there is an art store nearby, go there! You can check in and see if there are any groups for people who enjoy art.

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1. Let Other People Know You Care.

What is at the heart of loneliness? It is often the belief that no one cares. And the funny thing is that many people who are struggling with loneliness think they are the only person in the world that feels that way when the opposite is true. Before the covid pandemic began, a study found that 61% of people feel lonely; that number indeed went even higher once everyone had to go into lockdown. The reality is that the person whom you think may not be interested in connecting with you may be desperate for someone to give a call and say that they care.  

Yes, loneliness can easily make you feel isolated. It may seem as if you are the only person in the world who does not belong or have meaningful connections. However, you could very well be someone else’s lifeline. So pick up the phone. Send a text or make a call. Don’t focus on saying that you are sad and want the other person to cheer you up. Instead, say that you wanted to let that person know that you were thinking of them. That you wanted to check in and see how things are going. Everyone needs to know that someone cares. When you realize that you have made a difference in someone else’s life, you will feel much less lonely.

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