Lonely like the rest of us? 3 out of 5, man…
That’s according to NPR’s Health Shots. In that article, Bert Uchino (a pysch professor at the University of Utah) says pervasive loneliness is “strongly linked to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.” And we’ve discussed on this here blog before that, although it feels like it sometimes, you’re not the only person going through mental health woes!
So let’s talk about…
It’s a real thing. One study shows that 1 in 5 millennials don’t have a single person they call a friend, and there’s an interesting survey indicates that “71 percent of millennials and almost 79 percent of Gen Z respondents report feeling lonely—a significantly greater proportion than other generations.” Possibly due to those generations being heavy social media users, which also shows a correlation to poorer mental health. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Fine. I’m getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s take look at some non-medication related ways to feel better about being alone.
I’m not going to sit here and say, “You shouldn’t take meds for your mental health.” I know that there are most definitely situations where medications are crucial for an individual’s treatment plan.
But, as it pertains to being lonely, there’s lots of things anyone can do that’s naturally good for your brain. Before we get to those, here’s a few links to articles I’ll going to pull from may come in handy:
- “17 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Lonely” – The University of Chicago Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
- “10 Things to Try When You’re Feeling Lonely” – Psychology Today
- “12 Things to Do When You Feel Lonely” – healthline
- Admit you’re lonely
- Don’t blame yourself for it
- Reframe how you feel
- Think of the feeling as a different person
- Separate how you feel and your reaction to how you feel
- Listen to music
- Sing along!
- Go outside
- Take a social media break
- Do something that you enjoy
- Be creative
- Draw, write, scrapbook, knit, play guitar, something
Oh yeah. Duh…
One other thing you can do to combat loneliness is…
Find a Community
I know–easier said than done, right? I’ve been there. But if you find a community, physical or online, you won’t feel so alone. I found a community through writing and podcasting that has been invaluable to me since the pandemic began. You can to. (It doesn’t have to be through the same passions I have.) Even if you’re a bit of a introverted, awkward, weirdo. (I use those terms lovingly, folks.)
Find Your Community
There are lots of ways to find a community. And it doesn’t have to be a big community. Thrive Global says start small: one person at a time. If you find one person you connect with, you’ll naturally find opportunities to grow that network. Here’s a few ways, from Real Simple and Introvert, Dear, to help you find a community near you:
- Join a support group
- Join a club or class
- Check your library for community events
- Volunteer for a cause you believe in
- Reach out to people you know more often than you normally would
- Find a Facebook group for something you like (there’s a bajillion of em out there!)
If all else fails you can leave a comment below, or reach out to me and say hi. (My info is at the bottom.)
For more ways to naturally improve your mental health you may want to read The Importance of Sleep And How to Get More of It) and 4 Mental Health Hormones and How to Boost Them Naturally. A little midnfulness goes a long way, too. Ah heck, just subscribe to the Threads Podcast Blog!
And of course, listen to Threads Podcast: Life Unfiltered for real talk about real stuff: uncomfortable conversations, mental health, and more!
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five! Follow me: