How to cope when you are feeling lonely
Did you know that left unaddressed, chronic loneliness can cause the same amount of damage to your lifespan as smoking 15 cigarettes a day?
- Nearly half of adults say they often feel alone (46%). Children are no exception.
- In a recent survey, 2/3 of 11-17-year-old teens indicated they felt stressed out by loneliness.
Signs of loneliness:
- They create imaginary friends.
- They seem clingy/ ask you to play with them more than usual.
- They seek your attention by misbehaving.
- They act timid or unsure of themselves.
- They cry more often than other children of their age
Adolescents and teens:
- Retreat to their rooms for long periods.
- Seem sad
- Start talking to you more than usual
- Appear not to have friends to hang out with
- No longer hang out with friends outside of school
- Talk negatively about themselves
Common causes of loneliness
Certain life circumstances may cause children and teens to feel lonely:
- Moving to a new neighbourhood
- Changing schools
- An older sibling leaving home
- They are single while all the friends have boy- or girlfriends.
- Fights with friends
- Being bullied
- Death in the family
How to combat loneliness?
Help others – volunteering is a great way to form meaningful connections with others. It is also a natural way to add some purpose to your life. Do you have causes you feel passionate about?
Reconnect with old friends – Have you lost touch with a good friend from elementary school? A friend in a town that you lived in before? Just because you don’t see someone, it doesn’t mean they can’t be a valuable friend every day.
Try something new – Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but never have? A hobby or activity that you want to try out? Sign up or join.
Figure out if something is missing from your life – There are many different ways to feel lonely. Maybe you have a group of friends, but wish you had someone special. Perhaps you would like to be part of a group. The following article might be helpful:
Make time for extended family – If you have cousins or other relatives around your age within a reasonable distance, make a plan to get together.
Watch something that makes you laugh – Put on your favourite funny show or movie and smile. Guaranteed, you will feel better in no time.
Turn activities you do alone into group activities – Invite friends over for board games or an art class. Go with a group of friends to watch a sports match.
Spend time with animals– Hanging out with pets, especially cats and dogs, is a great way to feel less lonely.
Try an app – download the MOBIEG app on your cell phone. We have counsellors that love to talk to you. You can talk about anything: struggles, something good that has happened or being alone. Our app also has more than 30 self-test quizzes you can do to learn more about yourself.
Write down five things you love about yourself – Part of the pain of loneliness is to start feeling negative about yourself. Boost your self-esteem by writing down five things you love about yourself or five things you are good at. It helps to counter negative thoughts from taking over.
If you would like to talk to someone about being lonely, click on LIVE CHAT.
It connects you to a counsellor. The service is text-based, and you may remain anonymous.