Coping when feeling lonely

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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?

Fast facts:

  • 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:

Younger children

  • 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
  • Divorce
  • 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

Source: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

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:

Why are you in a relationship?


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.

https://www.mobieg.co.za/download/


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.

Source: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/back-school


HELPLINE

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.


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