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 their friends have boys- 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.