- 25 Creative And Surprising Things To Do When You Feel Lonely
- 1. Just Show Up
- 2. Go On A Solo Date
- 3. Know The Difference Between Loneliness and Isolation
- 4. Attend Meetups
- 5. Watch A Movie
- 6. Volunteer
- 7. Adopt A Cute Pet
- 8. Identify The Cause Of Your Loneliness
- 9. Read Fiction
- 10. Take A Bath
- 11. Take A Random Bus, Train, or Flight Somewhere
- 12. Dance (Naked)
- 13. Go For A Quick Run
- 14. Watch a Funny Show
- 15. Get Coffee
- 16. Practice #JOMO
- 17. Make Your Bed
- 18. Look Through Old photos
- 19. Get A Camera
- 20. Attend Classes For A Fun New Exercise Air Yoga, Pole Dancing, Or Trampoline Jumping
- 21. Start A 5-Minute Gratitude Journal
- 22. Watch Inspiring Ted Talks
- 23. Plan A holiday
- 24. Create Something New
- 25. Do Something Craaazy
- How Do You Deal With Loneliness?
- 17 Easy Things To Do When You’re Feeling Lonely
- 1. Admit you're lonely
- 2. Remind yourself it's not just you.
- 3. Be realistic
- 4. Don't deny or distance
- 5. Write down positive memories.
- 12. Go for a walk
- 13. Pick up the phone.
- 14. Talk to a mental health professional
- 15. Take a social risk
- 16. Turn your loneliness into solitude
- 17. Don't busy yourself
- 10 Things to Try When You’re Feeling Lonely
- 1. Don’t blame yourself in any way, shape, or form
- 2. Seek relief from a non-human “friend.”
- 3. Connect with a human friend if you can
- 4. Do something creative, no matter how simple
- 5. Help someone in need
- 6. Call to mind others who are feeling lonely and send them kind and compassionate thoughts
- 7. Visualize someplace you’d to be—a fun gathering, the seashore, a sporting event—and see if, just for a moment, you can feel happy for those who are there
- 8. Treat loneliness as an old friend who’s dropped in for a visit (despite not having received an invitation)
- 9. Remind yourself that life is not always fun and that tomorrow is a new day
- 10. Sing
25 Creative And Surprising Things To Do When You Feel Lonely
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure for more info.
Did you know that in Korea, people are recording themselves while having dinner? And people are actually paying to watch these videos! Is this another sign of loneliness creeping up on all of us?
According to a study of more than 170,000 people published at the Psychology Bulletin in 2013, the average adult’s network of friends and colleagues have shrunk over the past 3 decades. It’s no wonder many people feel lonelier than ever.
Feeling lonely, however, is not a direct cause of being alone. It’s possible to feel lonely in a crowd.
Loneliness, in fact, is more dangerous than isolation because it increases a person’s mortality rate, according to John Cacioppo, co-author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Needs for Social Connection.
If it’s so dangerous, how do we fight loneliness then?
Wondering What to Do When You Feel Lonely? Here Are 25 Tried and Tested Tips
1. Just Show Up
Get out there talk to others
Familiarity breeds attraction.
A study published at the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that same-sex strangers felt increasing affinity towards each other, after each conversation they had. The same goes for online chat conversations.
Don’t be hesitant to talk to people, even if you feel awkward or don’t them at first. If you’re genuinely interested or curious about others, they’re more ly to reciprocate those feelings.
2. Go On A Solo Date
A solo date can be whatever you make it.
You know the problem with group and couples dates? The annoying “So what do we do?” and “Where do we eat?” questions. When you go on a date with yourself, you’re sure to go somewhere you actually and you don’t have to wait around for others to decide.
3. Know The Difference Between Loneliness and Isolation
Loneliness is an emotion, mostly triggered by a sad memory. Unfortunately the brain loves to overanalyze things, so even momentary loneliness can escalate to longer spells because of thoughts “Why do I feel so alone?” and “Am I a loser no one loves?” When this happens, just acknowledge the feeling and don’t overreact.
4. Attend Meetups
Go to meetup.com and find a group in your city. There are tons of meetup groups catering to every interest, job, city and hobby, so it’s impossible not to find a group to your liking. People who join meetup.com are eager to meet new people, and are incredibly friendly so it’s a nice way to make new friends.
5. Watch A Movie
Watch a movie alone or call some friends to go with you—it doesn’t matter. What’s important is you immerse yourself in an interesting story that’ll erase your gloomy thoughts. Watch a chick-flick, or a super hero movie—anything but a tear jerker, really —and grab lots of candy and popcorn.
Focusing on the needs of others steers your mind away from sad thoughts. It’s impossible to feel lonely when you’re feeding the homeless, reading to kids at an orphanage, or dancing with grandmas at a salsa class. Helping the less fortunate will also fill you with immense gratitude.
7. Adopt A Cute Pet
A furry cat or dog will cheer you up. The playfulness of pets, plus the troubles (and fun) you’ll experience while training them will make you forget about your troubles. Even a goldfish or pretty parrot can do wonders for your mood. Read more about the amazing health benefits of pets and make a new pet friend soon.
8. Identify The Cause Of Your Loneliness
“What to do when you feel lonely?”
I can’t imagine how many people have Googled that phrase when they felt the pangs of loneliness. Unfortunately, it’s not the best question to ask. Would you ask a doctor for a prescription before they check your symptoms?
Instead of trying things randomly, hoping one solution will do the trick—losing hope and feeling worse when it doesn’t—it’s better to identify the cause of your loneliness first. If you were previously happy in your own company, what could’ve caused you to feel lonely this time?
Do your friends make you feel lonely? Is it your work or surroundings, perhaps? The cause of your loneliness will clue you in on the appropriate solution.
9. Read Fiction
Please don’t pick a Dummies book on how to stop feeling lonely. Reading self-help when you’re feeling miserable will make just you feel worse. Read a good novel instead. Losing yourself in a good story or identifying with a powerful character will boost your confidence and fill you with a sense of adventure.
10. Take A Bath
Where do good ideas come from? In the shower, right? Taking a nice, long, and relaxing bath is a great way to be bask in your alone time, instead of drowning in self-pity. Ladies, prepare a glass of red, chocolates and magazines. Gents, take a bubble bath ala Chandler by taking a manly boat with you!
11. Take A Random Bus, Train, or Flight Somewhere
Taking public transportation to a random location forces you to do two things—be in the company of strangers, and change your environment. Doing this will ward off loneliness and cure your wanderlust as well.
12. Dance (Naked)
Sometimes, we feel lonely because we’re actually alone. So take this chance to do the things you can only do when you’re alone, dancing naked or jumping on the bed with your shoes on. Doing crazy stuff alone will give you a good laugh.
13. Go For A Quick Run
Running is scientifically proven to make you happier. Even 30 minutes of walking can instantly lift your mood, according to a 2006 study published at Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
14. Watch a Funny Show
There was a reason shows Friends and Seinfeld were popular. They make people laugh! Sometimes they even make people laugh when they don’t want to, or when a situation they’ve been in appears in the script. Check out the Friends episodes “The One with the Unagi,” and “The One With the Embryos” if you’re feeling lonely and need a good laugh.
15. Get Coffee
Go to a coffee shop far from your apartment or office. Then order coffee and sit on the bar, or that big table on the center where you can talk to people. Compliment someone on their tie, shoes or bag. Start a conversation. Don’t worry if you’re bad at small talk, because chances are you won’t see that person again.
16. Practice #JOMO
Social media is helpful, but it can be detrimental depending on how you use it. Consider giving it up for a while.
When your default behavior is to keep scrolling instead of talking to whoever’s with you, or taking a picture of everything you eat instead of eating it, then it’s time to experience the joy of missing out (JOMO) – a practice promoted by Randi Zuckerberg. Yes, she’s Mark Zuckerberg’s sister.
17. Make Your Bed
Making your bed in the morning, and doing a quick two-minute wipe down in your kitchen at night, will make you feel better and in control of your life. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, says her research for the book revealed that bed-making is one of the keystone habits of happy people.
18. Look Through Old photos
Prepare some snacks or some tea and canapés ala afternoon high-tea, if you’re feeling fancy. Reminisce the good old days with a friend, your mom or sis. Remembering your crazy antics, and most embarrassing moments caught on camera will fill you with nostalgic memories and drive away loneliness.
19. Get A Camera
Get a camera, then go out and start taking beautiful pictures of things around you. A sunset, a barking dog, or a laughing baby—filling your life with beautiful things can take your mind off of loneliness.
20. Attend Classes For A Fun New Exercise Air Yoga, Pole Dancing, Or Trampoline Jumping
The exact exercise doesn’t matter. The point is to get yourself moving, while trying something new in the supportive environment of a group class.
21. Start A 5-Minute Gratitude Journal
It’s hard to feel down when you know that you have a lot to be thankful for. When you don’t know what to be thankful for, just write what you feel. Sometimes, it can help you identify why you feel lonely in the first place.
22. Watch Inspiring Ted Talks
Ted Talks are inspiring and informative. I don’t know why, but watching a few Ted Talks really help when I feel lonely and helpless. Some of my favorites are: “Connected, but alone?” by Sherry Turkle, and “Success, failure and the drive to keep creating” by Elizabeth Glibert.
23. Plan A holiday
Nothing beats loneliness and overwhelm planning a great holiday vacation. Looking up flights, hotel deals and stuff to do on a random faraway location will boost your spirits and steer your mind off your negative thoughts. You don’t really need to book a trip, sometimes the act of planning for one is enough.
24. Create Something New
Wondering how to not feel lonely, when you actually prefer to be alone? Getting bored is a prerequisite of feeling lonely. And what’s one of the main causes of getting bored? Having nothing to do. So keep yourself occupied! Try a new recipe. Create a scrapbook. Finish that DIY project you’ve been postponing for so long.
25. Do Something Craaazy
Dress up a tourist, and do all the cheesy touristy things in your city. Eat the local delicacy, tour the crowded tourist spots and explore new locations you’ve never heard of.
How Do You Deal With Loneliness?
Do you have other tips on fighting loneliness? Share them with us below.
17 Easy Things To Do When You’re Feeling Lonely
Whether you're feeling down about the number of comments on your latest Instagram post, or just have that sense that no one else really gets you, you've experienced it. Feeling lonely is, perhaps ironically, universal.
But, what is loneliness, exactly? Simply put, «it's the discrepancy between what you have and what you want from your relationships,» says Stephanie Cacioppo, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, who specializes in the study of loneliness and social cognition.
It’s not necessarily about being physically surrounded by people—because you might feel especially lonely in a crowd—but about your mentality.
When you feel lonely, it’s usually because you aren’t quite satisfied with what you have, whether it’s in that moment or throughout your life, Cacioppo explains.
And until you're able to pinpoint and then address what you're dissatisfied with, you'll feel isolated, left out, and in need of companionship.
The upside: Feeling lonely isn't necessarily a bad thing, Cacioppo notes. It's a reminder that something's off about your social environment and that you need to prioritize your happiness.
Chances are, though, you're not too grateful for loneliness while you're experiencing it. In fact, the feeling makes you more ly to interpret reality negatively, which can bring on a ton of self-loathing and self-criticism, she says. The key to turning your mood around? Adjusting your social lens to one that’s more positive.
Easier said than done, right? Thought you might say that. But here are 17 things you can actually do to feel a little less lonely, a little more confident, and way more connected.
1. Admit you're lonely
As with a lot of things, the first step to moving forward is getting real about what you're going through.
Most people try to deny they're lonely, or they assume they must just be anxious or depressed.
Why? «Because there's a lot of stigma surrounding loneliness,» says Ami Rokach, PhD, clinical psychologist, course director at York University, and author of Loneliness, Love And All That’s Between.
Many people are ashamed to admit they feel lonely because they associate the experience with social isolation and otherness, he adds. But refusing to come to terms with your loneliness means putting off your chance to do something about it.
2. Remind yourself it's not just you.
«We're not alone in our loneliness,» Rokach explains.
Now, this doesn't mean you should necessarily lean into the loneliness simply because others are dealing with it, too, Rokach warns. It's a great opportunity to remember that, just anyone else, you have the power to get yourself this situation.
3. Be realistic
Though there are things you can do to help yourself feel less lonely, they're not all foolproof. «Sometimes you won't succeed,» says Rokach. People won't want to make connections with you, they'll be too busy, or you'll still end up feeling lonely—it happens.
Those moments will be tough, he explains, but the key is to persevere anyway. You won't want to at the time, but if you set out to tackle your loneliness knowing it's a win-some-lose-some game, you won't be so quick to give up.
4. Don't deny or distance
Because of all the shameful and self-critical feelings that accompany loneliness, a common reaction is to kid yourself into thinking you don't actually need anyone, things are better this way, and you'll do just fine on your own, Rokach explains. You might actually believe that for a while, too.
Down the line, however, this response will be harmful—to your mental and physical health. People need people, and everyone needs to feel loved. So, as soon as you can put a label to your loneliness, it's time to try and do something about it.
5. Write down positive memories.
One Line A Day Five-Year Memory Book
This is one of those pieces of advice you've surely been given before, but never actually committed to. Now's the time to give it a real shot.
Just dedicating 15 minutes per day to jotting down special moments you've shared with friends and family can be enough to overcome negative feelings, Cacioppo explains.
(Don't have 15 minutes? You can still cherish your most special memories with a One Line A Day journal.) The process will remind you you're not alone, and the memories are bound to improve your mood.
Smiling at yourself in the mirror is an unusual ask—Cacioppo gets it. So, she recommends closing your eyes and thinking of the last time you made someone smile or laugh and let your body do the rest. Will it feel strange? Yes. But, will it help? Also yes.
Just thinking of a time when you were feeling giddy will automatically bring a smile to your face—a move that will set off all those feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain and trick you into feeling happier than you were just a few secs before. Once you're feeling a little better, hold onto that feeling by leaning into something that makes you feel really good, such as cracking open your favorite book or going for a run.
7. Take note of all the things you're grateful for.
How Gratitude Journaling Helps Me Stay Productive
When you're lonely, you'll bury yourself in your thoughts—usually bummer ones—but, as they say, «gratitude turns what we have into enough.
» To get yourself that headspace, write down a few things you're grateful for (think: your job, a roof over your head, and a supportive family).
Doing this will shift your thoughts from ones about you and your slump, to those about other people you care about and positive factors in your life.
«Loneliness isn't dangerous by itself, it's what we do with it and how we recover that can be dangerous for our physical and mental health,» says Cacioppo. To make sure you're letting loneliness drive you toward the right thing, consider signing up to volunteer.
Dedicating a day to working with the elderly or making meals at a soup kitchen will fulfill your desire to feel needed and draw you away from the self-centered mindset that loneliness brings on. Plus, the time you spend getting to know the people you're serving will bring out some of the intimacy and connection you've been craving.
9. Get a pet, or spend time with someone else's.
These Dog Makeovers Are Amazing
This one's great for a ton of reasons.
But when it comes to loneliness, interacting with animals has the power to release dopamine in the brain, which is a biggie since the chemical is associated with pleasure and rewards.
More than that, walking your dog or taking your cat to the vet for a checkup is an opportunity to start up conversations with other pet owners and maybe even make a new friend, says Cacioppo.
10. Join a club or take a class.
It might make you uncomfortable at first, but it might also be totally worth it. Sign up for a pottery class or a club for fellow true crime documentary lovers, for example.
Oh, the club you want doesn't exist? Start one.
Interacting with people with whom you share a common interest makes for a better chance at forming meaningful connections, Cacioppo says, which is usually what lonely people are missing from life.
11. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
Yeah, you probably already have waking up, working, eating, and exercising down pat, but maybe your life's in need of a little more structure, suggests Cacioppo.
Feelings of loneliness often feel they'll last forever and there's nothing you can do to escape the dark cloud hanging over your head, but that's not true.
It can be hard to remind yourself that loneliness is usually temporary, so Cacioppo recommends a strict schedule.
It's harder to feel alone when you «have a plan and a purpose,» she explains. So, set alarms for an early-morning meditation, a phone call with your sister, and an evening face mask.
Pre-planning them will instill you with a sense of control, too. Once you've come up with a schedule, stick to it as much as you can.
It'll be tough sometimes, but as long as you take it one day at a time, the structured routine will feel more and more natural, she adds.
12. Go for a walk
It gets your body moving, gives you a chance to clear your mind, and even offers opportunities to run into a neighbor for a quick chat—all reasons why Rokach is a big fan.
Even if you don't interact with anyone, studies show walks have significant effects on mood.
Just a few minutes outside can stop your mood from worsening and can help combat feelings of dread that loneliness brings on.
13. Pick up the phone.
The Art of Listening
Call someone you love and who cares about you. Rather than exchanging the same old how are yous and fines, actively listen to and really engage with the person on the other line. When they mention something about their lives, ask them for the backstory and let them talk. (Need some inspo? These 200 questions can help spark a meaningful conversation.)
«People are thirsty for this kind of interaction,» Rokach says. Everyone wants to be heard, so give someone in your life the gift of really listening to them, and let their stories take you your lonely headspace for a while.
14. Talk to a mental health professional
A psychologist won't be able to bring you your loneliness—only you can do that—but «they can help you come to terms with the situation,» explains Rokach.
They'll remind you of how much power you have to move forward from this by helping you pinpoint what in your life might be off-kilter and contributing to your loneliness.
Once you isolate the cause, a therapist will help you come up with a game plan to address it.
15. Take a social risk
If you're feeling lonely because you don't believe any of your relationships are substantive, now's your chance to do something about it. Yeah, you might get rejected, but eventually you'll find a someone or even a whole tribe who ~gets~ you.
Start off somewhere you feel comfortable. Take your workout class, for example: Approach the person who high fives you after each segment or notices when you miss a class. Strike up a conversation as best you can, and you may just hit it off. (Yes, new friends!) Stuck at home? Try reaching out to an old friend via Instagram DM to see what's new with them.
16. Turn your loneliness into solitude
While they might sound the same, solitude is different because it's a choice, explains Rokach. You could let your loneliness consume you (let's face it, sometimes you can't help it), or you can turn your loneliness into solitude—time spent alone doing something that's meaningful to you.
Maybe you express how you're feeling by painting, writing a short story, doing a puzzle, learning a dance routine, or recording a cover of that song you can't get your head. Since loneliness can stick around for a while, it helps to have an outlet.
Btw, at-home workouts are a totally WH-approved outlet for solitude, too.
17. Don't busy yourself
«Many people try to run away from loneliness,» says Rokach. «They'll busy themselves with needless things second jobs or extra hours at work when they don't need the money as a way to stifle loneliness.» That's not the right move. It might help you forget you're lonely for a bit, but you'll only end up feeling worse in the end.
The key is to slow down for a bit and focus on something you really love or something you've always wanted to do but never did because sticking to the mundane won't help much.
ARYELLE SICLAIT Assistant EditorAryelle Siclait is an assistant editor at Women's Health where she writes about relationship trends, sexual health, pop-culture news, food, and physical health for verticals across WomensHealthMag.com and the print magazine.
10 Things to Try When You’re Feeling Lonely
- One can disarm the sting of loneliness by not resisting it.
- Having patience with loneliness will reveal its transitory nature. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “No feeling is final.
- It’s almost impossible to feel lonely when you’re singing.
Source: Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock
Although my writing often focuses on chronic illness, anyone can feel the pain of loneliness.
I hope the tips in this post will be helpful for everyone:
1. Don’t blame yourself in any way, shape, or form
Trust me, it will only make you feel worse. Blaming yourself for how you feel is never skillful, productive, or kind. A host of causes and conditions have come together in your life to create this painful feeling. It’s not your fault.
2. Seek relief from a non-human “friend.”
There are lots of possibilities—a pet, comfort food, a favorite book or a nature show on TV, or even just sitting outside for a while. We can find solace in many things that ease the pain of loneliness. Experiment and see what helps you feel better.
3. Connect with a human friend if you can
Think of someone who is always supportive or who simply makes you laugh, and give that person a call or send them an email. You may resist doing this at first because it can be hard to reach out to others when you’re feeling lonely. In my experience, however, it’s worth giving myself the little extra push that’s needed to contact someone I can count on.
4. Do something creative, no matter how simple
It need not be earth-shatteringly creative. Try a coloring book or a jigsaw puzzle, make a collage, or experiment with needlework of some kind. Or think outside the box and come up with something that is fun and soothing for you to do.
5. Help someone in need
Helping others eases loneliness because it makes us be less self-focused. It could be an elderly neighbor or someone on a social media site who might benefit from a supportive comment.
6. Call to mind others who are feeling lonely and send them kind and compassionate thoughts
Wishing well to others who are lonely creates a special connection between the two of you. Even more, when you realize that you’re not alone in your loneliness, you’ll feel less lonely. At least, that’s how this little practice works for me.
7. Visualize someplace you’d to be—a fun gathering, the seashore, a sporting event—and see if, just for a moment, you can feel happy for those who are there
Feeling happy for others even when they’re doing what you wish you could do can make you feel as if you’re there with them, and that eases the pain of loneliness.
Even if feeling happy for others only lasts a short time, it’s soothing and healing—and amazingly, it can even make you feel happy! (For a more detailed explanation of this practice, see «Feeling Happy for Others Can Make You Happy.»)
8. Treat loneliness as an old friend who’s dropped in for a visit (despite not having received an invitation)
This is a way of not resisting how you’re feeling; resisting only makes you feel worse. Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh asks us to take care of our anger and other painful emotions. Making friends with how we feel is self-compassion in action.
So take care of your loneliness as if it’s an old friend. Sometimes I say, “Hello, loneliness. I see you’ve come to visit again for a while.” When you let painful emotions into your heart with compassion, it disarms them and that takes away their sting.
This eases your pain.
9. Remind yourself that life is not always fun and that tomorrow is a new day
Nobody gets their way all the time and, let’s face it, life isn’t always fun. This is true for everyone. The bottom line is that loneliness is one of those unpleasant moments in your life. That’s all it is.
In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “No feeling is final.” If you can be patient with your loneliness, it’s ly that by tomorrow, it will have eased a bit. Then, the next day, it’s ly to have eased even more. All emotions are impermanent.
They arise and pass, arise and pass.
- Understanding Loneliness
- Find a therapist near me
It’s almost impossible to feel lonely when you’re singing. I’ve tried it, and it works. Sing solo or let your favorite singer keep you company as you sing together.
I know from personal experience that loneliness can be hard to bear. I hope this piece has given you some useful ideas to try.
© 2016 Toni Bernhard
Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Baltimore, MD
- Boston, MA
- Brooklyn, NY
- Charlotte, NC
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Detroit, MI
- Houston, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Jacksonville, FL
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- Louisville, KY
- Memphis, TN
- Miami, FL
- Milwaukee, WI
- Minneapolis, MN
- Nashville, TN
- New York, NY
- Oakland, CA
- Omaha, NE
- Philadelphia, PA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Portland, OR
- Raleigh, NC
- Sacramento, CA
- Saint Louis, MO
- San Antonio, TX
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- San Jose, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Tucson, AZ
- Washington, DC