Have you ever been around people all day but still felt lonely? I have. I remember when I first moved cross country to study. I moved far away from all my friends and family to a place where nobody knew me. I remember calling my mum crying one day because I felt so alone. This even though I had spent the whole day shopping with some of my new collage friends. 

You see,

being lonely and being alone is two very different things. Loneliness is defined purely subjectively and leaves a big psychological wound. Loneliness has a great impact on your physical and mental health, and needs to be taken seriously. Research has showed that chronic loneliness can be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!

Feeling lonely influences the way we perceive the world and it makes us think the people around us care less, than they actually do. We then get afraid to reach out, because we are afraid of rejection, or because we want to prove to ourselves that people care (or don’t care, depending on how you see it). 

At a point in my life where I felt very lonely, I was waiting for a phone call from someone that is very close to me. I waited for hours getting more and more upset, feeling rejected and deeply hurt. I could have just called myself but I wanted that person to show me that I was a priority, that this person cared.  My fear of rejection and need to be seen prevented me from picking up the phone. If I had, I might have spared myself from several hours of feeling hurt. 

My point is, when you feel lonely your behavior might reinforce your feeling of loneliness, and it can become a vicious cycle. To prevent this here are some tips to help you stop feeling lonely and get back to your normal self.  

5 tips to tackle loneliness;

  1. Identify why you feel lonely; when you know why its easier to do something about it 
  2. Build up your self-esteem, low self-esteem increase the risk of feeling stressed and vulnerable.
  3. Take action and call those close to you, or arrange to see them. It helps to have something to look forward to. 
  4. Do social activities by yourself, if necessary 
  5. When you get intrusive negative thoughts, force yourself to focus on something else until the intrusive thoughts disappear

Most importantly, if you think someone you love is feeling lonely, give them a call and make them know that you care. We rise together!

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