Make friends with yourself; then you will never have to be lonely!

Sometimes it really is that simple. We do need people in our lives. But being alone does not have to mean feeling lonely. Your personality has a lot to say about your emotional state when you are by yourself. But it’s still your choice about how you deal with loneliness.

When I was a young woman I struggled with feeling terribly lonely. I could feel lonely even in a crowd. I felt like I didn’t have any friends, and was rarely invited to join others. Sometimes I would find a school or church event to go to just so I wouldn’t have to be alone. And yet being around people didn’t make me feel any better.

Changing my emotional habits took effort, but I learned that it IS possible. When you feel lonely, taking some specific action can change your whole emotional state. You DO have a choice in the matter! Over time, those actions may create new emotional habits, and you will feel entirely different about the times when you are alone.

Here are some things you can do when you feel lonely.

  1. Take a walk. Physical activity itself can make you feel happier. Fresh air, sunshine, and a change of scenery does your mind and body good.
  2. Clean house. OK, that may not work for everyone. But doing something physical, where you can see the visible benefits of your activity, can be therapeutic.
  3. Volunteer. One of the best ideas ever! Doing something for someone else is guaranteed to lift your spirits. And you may well make a new friend as well.
  4. Read a book. Go to the library if you need to. A book can transport you into another world, widen your understanding of others, educate you – and change your emotional state.
  5. Learn something. A mind engaged in new activity will not have time to feel lonely. Learn a new language, a musical instrument, gourmet cooking, how to write computer code, or woodworking.
  6. Help a child. The affection of children can warm your soul. Volunteer to babysit for a friend, become a big brother or big sister, or teach Sunday School.
  7. Get a pet. Caring for an animal takes your mind off yourself. And you feel so loved when your furry friend licks your face, rubs up against you, or curls up in your lap.
  8. Join a group. Consciously choose a group to spend time with: a gym class, volunteer choir or band, 12-step group, political action committee, or Sunday School class. Choose the people you spend time with. Step out of yourself and make the effort.
  9. Listen to music. If you naturally feel down, make sure the music you listen to lifts your spirits instead of brings you down. Sing or play along if you can.
  10. Pray. God understands loneliness better than you may think. His shoulders are big enough to carry your heaviness. He sees you. He hears you. Open your soul to Him.

Notice a few things that are NOT on this list. Don’t “veg out” in front of the TV, eat junk food, and feel sorry for yourself. You can do better than that.

I don’t feel lonely any longer. Now I even look forward to the times I may have alone.

Ninety percent of loneliness is a choice. Will you choose something better?

Your turn: What do you do when you feel lonely? What helps you even enjoy the times you are alone? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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