Seven Ways to Cope with Loneliness

Woman holding up seven fingersLoneliness has been described as an emotion that is characterized by a feeling of emptiness and solitude. Common words people use to describe loneliness include: lost, afraid, numb, pain, nothingness, overwhelmed, and so on.

Recent studies have revealed that about 25 percent of the American population has not talked to anyone about anything important to them in six months . Also they found that another 19.6 percent of the people surveyed said that they only have one close friend that they can talk to. These numbers show that close to 50 percent of the population has one close friend or none at all. How did we get here?

Today we live in a fast-paced world; we work longer hours or get a second job, we have distractions such as the Internet, social media, and cellphones. It’s becoming more and more difficult to develop and nurture relationships. This lifestyle eventually leads to isolation.

After a while we start to struggle with loneliness according to, as we become more dependent on technology to stay connected to others, the lonelier we become.

Here are a few tips that can help you come out of isolation and live a fulfilled life:

  1. Let go of the past: focus on living the present. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made and make a conscious effort to move forward.
  2. Discover your purpose: stop comparing yourself to others and start defining your own purpose. Ask yourself: “who am I?” and “how am I making a difference in my community?”
  3. Donate your time and talents: give back by helping people that are struggling. You will feel good about yourself and realize that you are not alone and you will start having a sense of gratitude for the life you have.
  4. Get a pet: rescue a dog or a cat. It’s hard to be lonely when you have a pet that constantly wants to play and be around you.
  5. Be more active: join a gym, start practicing yoga or running. Exercise is necessary to maintain good health and the activation of endorphins will make you feel happy.
  6. Rediscover your hobbies and find a social group: think about the things you may have enjoyed doing in the past – singing, dancing, swimming for example, and try doing these activities with other people that share your interests.
  7. Laugh and Be Thankful: watch funny movies and read funny jokes; people say that laughter is the best medicine and it’s true. Find opportunities to be thankful everyday. Try coming up with 5 things that you are thankful for and write them down. This exercise will help shift your focus from the negative to the positive things in your life.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • N Grisham

    N Grisham

    December 21st, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Although there is nothing majorly worrying me right now and the holiday season has had a good beginning,I shall still try and incorporate the things you have mentioned here.After all,who doesn’t want a little extra happiness? :)

  • kim


    December 21st, 2010 at 5:31 AM

    What is so weird is that this is the time of the year when you seem to be surrounded by more people than usual but for many people this is the worst becuse it reminds them not of what they have but of the friends and loved ones that they may instead be missing. I know that this must be such a challenge and something that I have not yet had to face in life and I really feel for those who are having to deal with this kind of sadness during what should be the happiest time of the yesr.

  • DA


    December 21st, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Sometimes looking at pictures of the good old times bring joy and happiness to my mind that help me get over any negative forces that I may have…
    But some other times the same pictures make me feel low and make miss family…

  • alienMaster


    December 23rd, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    there is nothing that can soothe and make me feel good like doing something nice for a complete may be a small thing but if that makes the other person happy I really feel contented :)

  • Samuel


    December 23rd, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    I’ve never felt lonelier than I did one year when I was far from home at Christmas. If you have space at your table and room in your heart, invite someone that would otherwise be alone at Christmas to join you. That’s what the season is all about.

  • Frederick


    December 23rd, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Very good article, Marta! “According to Carlson and Love (2010) as we become more dependent on technology to stay connected to others, the lonelier we become.” I have believed that for a long time. We’re replacing texts with face-to-face conversations and while the net can be a blessing to the housebound who might otherwise talk to no-one all day, for the rest of us we’re giving up those conversations needlessly since we could meet at a coffee shop or go visit friends. That’s why we feel so lonely the more immersed we become. Inside we remember how much higher quality those one to one talks are. The intimacy is lost.

  • Cain


    December 23rd, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Isn’t it ironic that the more time you spend online finding people to “friend” you, the more lonely you’ll be? Thanks for a great article, Marta.

  • Bethany


    December 24th, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    Another thing that creates this loneliness is just how much of a build up there is to Christmas and then it almost feels like a let down when it actually gets here!

  • Jacquie


    December 24th, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    Don’t you think though that it’s the nonverbal conversational facets we yearn for? I don’t like instant messaging nor texting because I can’t see their face or catch any body language. I think that’s why online relationships can’t replace the more rounded real life friendships. You’re not getting the full picture.

  • rupert


    December 24th, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    I find online friendships very shallow. People are lazy about keeping the connection going and quick to discard friendships, mainly because it’s so easy to do. Don’t like what they said to you? Then block them and they are gone for your cyberworld. No wonder so many teens have unresolved issues. They never have to face them and work things out with friends if they are purely online friendships.

  • Davina


    December 24th, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    In this day and age, no one need be lonely. It’s having the courage to make and nurture friendships that helps. Marta’s suggestions are very good, especially #3. You’ll meet new people and be doing a good deed at the same time. Charities are always delighted to have new volunteers.

  • Belle


    December 24th, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Be good to be around, count your blessings and you’ll rarely be lonely. We’re naturally drawn to positive, happy people that do their best to look on the bright side of life. Surrounding yourself with bright, optimistic friends will help you stay “up” as well. It works for me! :)

  • Marcus


    December 26th, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    I agree, Belle! You also need to see the best in people even when they are not at their best. Being lonely isn’t nice and we ultimately are responsible for changing that for ourselves. Decide to do the most good and the least harm in every way possible and you’ll have as many friends as you could ever want.

  • eva


    March 2nd, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Nice post. those great tips helps to those people that usually deals with the past and make them sad. life is beautiful we should learned how to appreciate it. live life to the fullest coz life is too short…

  • David


    April 14th, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Good post. Perfect tips but being lonely is wonderful. I have always been in solitude and I love it.

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