Scientists say that loneliness is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, as dangerous as obesity and increases the likelihood of an early death by 26%.
If you are lonely this is the last thing you want to hear, but I'm not saying this to alarm you. If you are experiencing loneliness it is important to start taking steps towards feeling better and I will share with you some simple tips to get you started.
People tend to think that if you are lonely it is because you are either single or old. But loneliness isn't fussy, it picks on people of all ages, and it could be for any number of reasons.
The thing about loneliness is that very often the people it affects feel too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. If you are feeling lonely don't underestimate it or beat yourself up. Start with these simple steps and see how your life improves.
1. Say yes to everything
Moya Sarna wrote an article about loneliness for the Guardian and in it she talks about Steve, who overcame his battle with it. Here he describes how he changed his life and beat loneliness by saying yes to everything. These are his own words;
“It was horrible to start with, especially the garden parties for their kids’ birthdays – I’d think, what am I gonna do? Look at the state of me – I’m a socially incapable freak. I was terrified. But I’d force myself to go. I was the weird guy sitting in the corner making eye contact with nobody. But I stuck with it because I knew that nothing would change without it. It was a slow and painful process, but each time it got a little bit easier,”
Moya explains that within a couple of years, Steve felt human again.
2. Do some voluntary work.
This could be anything; conservation work, working with the elderly, kids or animals, helping out at a homeless shelter, community centre, and even a loneliness charity. But make sure it is something where you have connection with other people.
Here are a few suggestions that may inspire you;
https://marmaladetrust.org/ A charity dedicated to tackling loneliness across society.
https://www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk/ Tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people through face to face contact.
https://www.tcv.org.uk/ Supporting people to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing, by being outdoors, active and connected with others.
https://centrepoint.org.uk/ Supporting young homeless people.
3. Read the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
Yes I know I keep banging on about this book but it can help you in so many ways. I mention it in this article because if you feel stuck in a rut the 5 Second Rule is a great tool that can help you get out of it. You can get it on audio too.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, you can start to make changes to your life. Remember, go easy on yourself and start by saying yes, you will soon start to feel more connected. Here are some helpful links in case you need to reach out.
So I really hope you found this article useful. Do let me know what you think by leaving a comment or share with your friends. And you can catch my latest blog here.
Go well :)