Are you feeling lonely? Here are six things that can help

 In Articles, Happy Life, Relationships

In a time when there are more ways than ever for us to connect with others, it may seem surprising that people are reporting feeling more lonely. That’s because so many of the ways we “connect” with others can easily become superficial, and our need for intimacy can’t be satisfied by the superficial.

We were created for communion—for an exchange with God and others on a much more personal level. True intimacy comes from being known and understood and knowing others on that same level. That doesn’t come easy in a fast-paced, competitive world where it’s hard to know who to trust or to find time to invest. Close relationships have become harder and harder to build in the midst of our super busy lifestyles.

So, what can you do if you’re experiencing feelings of loneliness right now?

  • Connect with God.

Get in the Word and pray. Don’t pull away from God. No one knows you better than He does or understands loneliness more. Jesus experienced the ultimate loneliness of the cross, but His sacrifice cleared the way so you can go to God and experience His presence when you feel lonely. Jesus is a dear friend who will never leave you or forsake you.

  • Don’t withdraw.

We have a tendency to isolate ourselves more when we’re feeling lonely, but avoiding social gatherings when you’re feeling down will only make you feel more alone. Don’t be afraid to initiate contact with people. Reach out to others no matter how difficult it may seem, and go out!

  • Practice thankfulness.

It’s harder to think about how lonely you’re feeling when you’re focusing on things you’re thankful for. Think of the things you value in your life and are thankful for, and write them down in a “gratitude journal.” Read through it when you’re feeling down.

  • Take care of yourself.

A healthy diet, a regular sleep pattern, and exercise can all help improve your perspective. Be sure you’re eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. That can be as simple as taking a walk.

  • Take a hard look at your expectations.

Are you expecting an invite to something every weekend? Are you looking at social media often and feeling envious of what everyone else appears to be doing? Are you expecting your life to look like something from the movies? Our culture and social media have helped many of us set unrealistic expectations for our lives and our relationships. Examine yours. Don’t fall into the traps of comparison or setting your expectations too high. Make sure you’re being realistic.

  • Volunteer.

Get your mind off of yourself by getting it on others. Work at a soup kitchen, organize a food or clothing drive, or help an elderly neighbor. Find a cause you believe in and give your time.

Please note: Sometimes, loneliness is a symptom of a greater problem. If you have ongoing feelings of loneliness or depression, it may be time to seek the professional help of a pastor, Christian counselor, or medical professional.

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