Beating loneliness is up there as one the biggest battles with face as a nation. In a timely report, the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has found that loneliness affects up to 9 million people in the UK. It’s especially significant that this report has come out a week and a half before Christmas. Christmas is a time of family and friendships, but, if you are dealing with loneliness it can be a particularly hard time. Loneliness can damage mental health and be as bad for health as obesity or smoking. If you are experiencing loneliness, or know someone who is, here are 5 ways to try beating loneliness and improve well-being.
1. Meet the neighbours and make connections
Living in big cities, racing off to jobs and having busy schedules can cause us to lose contact with the people around us. Schemes such as this one in London encourage young professionals and older residents to meet and mingle. Activities like his can help to break the feeling of loneliness for older residents and the sense of rootless-ness for their younger neighbours. It’s a win-win.
2. Join a choir to beat loneliness
It is well know that singing boosts mental health (it releases happy hormones). Joining with others to share a rousing chorus is a great way to feel connected to other people, whilst enjoying those happy hormones. Put that regular signing appointment in the diary is to help combat the blues.
3. Get offline and discover friends IRL
The digital world is great, we can shop, we can plan, we can launch businesses and watch space launches, but sometimes we need to get to people “IRL”. In real life, we have reached a point where what used to be our primary form of interacting with people, has now been shorted to a 3 letter acronym. Stop it, get away from computer and get out there. For your shopping; go to a farmer’s market, for your romance; try speed dating, for your entertainment; explore activities and for your socialising join a group. As far as fitness is concerned, group classes and working out with friends can help motivate you as well as and keeping you accountable.
4. Share your time
Living alone can mean night –after-night of heading home to a meal for one of the sofa. Volunteering will not only break up some of that sofa time, but will also help to create connections with the other volunteers and service users. The altruism of volunteering also triggers the feelings of having a sense of purpose in life. Purpose is one the factors that make us feel like we are leading a good and worthwhile life, recognising that makes us happy. So, what are you waiting for, get off the sofa and go share your free time.
5. Don’t be lonely, be a show off
You are more talented than you know and we are all experts now. So, why not share the things that you know with a group of like-minded individuals. Join the movement; lots of people are now running courses and events teaching what they know and love. Use your skills and knowledge to set up anything from workshops to walking tours. Share your passion and build those that network
Loneliness wellbeing happiness positive psychology