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What to do when you are lonely

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How often do you feel lonely? Loneliness can creep up on you whether you're alone or even when you're surrounded by other people. Being single can make you feel lonely, but even if you're in a happy relationship you probably still battle with loneliness from time to time.

Luckily, there are things you can do when you're lonely to feel better. I went to the experts to find out what they suggest to beat that lonely feeling.

Instead of waiting until you get lonely, Lisa Bahara What to do when you are lonely marriage and family therapist, recommended that you make a list ahead of time for things that you can do. She told me, "The first step is to make a list before you get lonely, since it is highly unlikely the inspiration will come when you are lonely. For the activities, she suggested, "Puzzles, running, biking, swimming, going on a whale watching trip, museum event, or a bus trip for a day to a location.

They don't have to be big, perhaps walking a neighbor's dog, offering to help an elderly person that is lonely in some way, or saying hello to the grocery checker.

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The goal is to get you out of your mind. Finally, to lift your emotions, Bahar recommended, "Listen to music that is fulfilling and has a spiritual sense to it, something that stirs a connection to emotions and life. A great way to get out of your own head is to read or listen to stories. Jude Treder-Wolffa licensed clinical social worker and group psychotherapist, recommended, "Listen to storytelling podcasts that feature true stories told by people from all walks of life.

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StoryCorpsand Story Collider are just a few of the many wonderful podcasts and shows that share human experiences from a rich swath of perspectives. Listening to stories also has the added benefit of making you feel connected to others.

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Treder-Wolff told me, "Listening to stories is an emotionally engaging and risk-free way to feel connected to What to do when you are lonely people, take emotional journeys and gain insight and perspective into one's own situation. It is also a highly entertaining. One of the best things you can do to stop feeling lonely is to give back to others. Treder-Wolff said, "Loneliness can turn in on itself, increasing isolation and giving rise to negative thoughts and feelings that increase one's sense of alienation.

It can require an enormous emotional effort, but taking action that is of help to other people in some way reduces the sense of loneliness and breaks the negative cycle that isolation can produce. Research published in the British Medical Journal Online showed that volunteering enhanced emotional well-being, especially among people after 40 and into old age, the years most commonly associated with loneliness.

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Donate your time to being there for others and you will see how fast your discomfort of feeling lonely vanishes. Erica McCurdycertified master coach, added, "Find a way to connect to others and to the world. By helping someone less fortunate, we realize that we have the ability to make a difference.

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Many organizations have service opportunities listed online. If you can't find an opportunity directly, try a website such as volunteermatch. I always feel better after I create something, whether it's a poem or a watercolor painting.

The act of creation can help ease your loneliness, as well. Treder-Wolff shared in our interview, "The most challenging aspect of loneliness can be a sense of emptiness and longing for connection to people or forces outside of us, but some of that can be relieved by bringing out something from within us.

For creative ideas she suggestd, "Any creative activity can help — writing, drawing, pottery, sculpture, poems, singing. When we create we are starting from an empty space, a blank page, an untouched canvas, making small choices about how to fill that empty What to do when you are lonely and exploring where those choices take us.

As you create, you get in touch with your inner self. Treder-Wolff added, "Learning to express our inner life in this way gets more and more rewarding as we gain greater skill that comes through practice, so it is self-reinforcing. And creativity is enormously engaging to our cognitive and emotional brain.

Have you ever meditated? It's not as intimidating as it sounds, and it can really help you if you find yourself getting lonely.

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Matles suggested, "Sit quietly and meditate on where the sensation is showing up in the body… is it in the chest area? Once you scan the body… notice the clinging sensations or however the discomfort of loneliness shows up. Breathe into the area and areas around it and send comforting support to this area. Once you send healing energy to the physical area where you feel lonely, Matles recommended, "Continue to sit.

Know that others are out there feeling the same lonely feeling, so send light to all out there that [are] suffering from this same feeling. Feel like you're bathing them in your heart with healing energy and pure light that shows them that we are all connected.

Include yourself in this too.

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We all feel the same depths of loneliness we just wear it differently. Much like listening to stories will connect you to the emotions of others, this exercise will help you feel connected to and empathize with other lonely people, which will help you feel less alone.

Working out or just moving your body can help your feelings of loneliness dissipate, as well. McCurdy told me, "When we feel lonely, we end up spending a lot of time 'in our head' thinking about how we feel. Lonely times often correlate to isolation and inactivity, so counter those feeling by forcing your body to move. The natural endorphins released through exercise help you feel better, and the concentration required during physical movement helps take your mind off being alone.

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You can go to the gym, dance around your apartment, take your dog What to do when you are lonely a walk, do yoga, or move your body in whatever way feels best to you.

As you move, you'll find the feelings of loneliness lifting. Speaking of yoga and dance, instead of doing it on your own, think about signing up for a class, instead. Classes are great places to meet people with similar interests to yours.

They'll get you out of the house and ease your feelings of loneliness. McCurdy told me, "Sign up for a class — any class. Where are you most likely to meet people who like the same things you do?


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