Loneliness comes up quite often for many people. Below is a list of the top 5 recommendations I discuss with my clients who want to address this complicated and difficult to manage feeling.
- Observe the feeling. To work on loneliness, you first have to know that’s the emotion you’re experiencing. When use the observe skill, we’re simply paying attention to the emotion that’s been triggered and not reacting. Just notice loneliness. Notice the urge you feel to be with others. Notice the pain that comes with it. Notice any thoughts, interpretations or perceptions that arise as a result.
- Honor the loneliness. Our emotions are here to tell us something. Loneliness is often here to tell us that we are missing or grieving connection. Connection is an inherent value for humans. It’s a pivotal trait that helped us humans evolve and stay safe. It makes absolute sense that this is one of the ailments after grief and loss of any sort. Pay attention to the loneliness and as if you were a child experiencing this pain, soothe yourself and honor that loneliness is a call for connection.
- Seek healthy connection. Since it’s human need to be connected to others, it’s perfectly ok to seek connection and companionship. My biggest recommendation is that you seek and develop healthy relationships. Focus on friendships and relationships that are healthy and good for you. This can include people with whom you have common interests, those who make your soul feel good, and where power and control are not an issue.
- Tolerate the loneliness. For those who want don’t want to depend on building connections with others just yet, I highly recommend to work on tolerating the loneliness when it comes up. Here you’ll be using skills 1-2 from above and deliberately watching it go up and down. You can use a 1-10 rating scale to check in with how strong the loneliness is. I really like this skill because it forces me to be aware of what’s going on with me physically (aching heart, rapid heartbeat, pain) and with my thoughts (I miss ____, I have no one).
- Nurture the connection with yourself. As you’re tolerating loneliness, you can this time to focus on solitary activities that bring you joy. You can use this skill to help you distract from the loneliness if it gets too high, and you can also use it as a way of building mastery of a certain skill you’d like to learn or develop. This is where a lot of people check out new hobbies and activities. Focus on new activities since the novelty of it can activate ‘feel-good’ brain centers and chemicals.
Check out this infographic with reminders. Feel free to download a free pdf here , pin, link, or share with others!
*Disclosure: This is not meant to replace any professional relationship with a therapist or recommendations from your own therapist or medical professional.