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  • Lyn Reed

How to Combat Loneliness

We hear a lot about loneliness and how devastating it is, yet what is often overlooked is that it is often change which can uproot us from our deep connections.

For example, when going through a divorce people often experience changes in their social lives as friends 'take sides' and married friends distance themselves. Other more significant transitions like retirement, life changing illness/injury, death of a parent/child require a major shift in identity.

The good news is that there are a number of things we can do to combat and dispel these feelings of loneliness:

- find like minded people: this is where social media can be very useful.

- seek out true friends. It is important to find a close friend. When we sense the other person doesn't care about us it lacks closeness. We need to feel close to people and we do this by understanding and valuing the people we meet. It can take one true friend to ease the loneliness of transition

- discover your compassion. Loneliness does have an upside - it is important to care for ourselves and others as we grapple with loneliness. This can help us feel better.

- get outside, go for walks. Mindfulness (or being present) can help us appreciate the beauty around us and be in the present. Nature reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and it is cyclical and ever present.

- feel gratitude. When transition makes you feel sad and alone shift your thinking towards the people in your life. Put some extra energy into caring or nurturing someone. Gratitude teaches you that other people depend on you and help you stay open rather than wallow in negativity.

Above all, it is important to acknowledge that you will feel lonely and sad through any life transitions. These are important for reflection and acts of connectivity. And can even provide a deep sense of fulfilment and contentment.

As ever, it is how we deal with our transition and the mind set we apply which will safely see us through to the other side.

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