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Increase meaningful social contact

Increase meaningful social contact

Some research suggests that who you spend your time with matters, too. 

One study in 2011 found that elderly people who spent time with family were less lonely than those attending social groups with strangers. 

Recognize the impact of loneliness

Recognize the impact of loneliness

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, loneliness can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is also associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and blood pressure, as well as dementia 

Having healthy social networks can decrease the risk of mortality and of developing diseases, as well as helping people recover when they are ill. 

Recognizing the impact loneliness could have on you is the first step to tackling it.

Get online

Spending time online obviously cannot replace all your real-life interactions, but it can help.

However, the research found a link between loneliness and time spent online, so it is important to supplement online chats with actual meetups, too.

Work out exactly why you are lonely

The mental health charity Mind cites two main factors that can cause loneliness: 

  • someone either not having enough basic social contact or, 
  • despite being surrounded by people, not feeling understood, listened to or cared for. 
Working out which profile fits you best could give you a better idea of how to work through your feelings of loneliness.

Speak to someone

  • Talk to friends and family.
  • Join a club or socialize through hobbies or interests. It is a good way to meet new people and increase social interactions. 
  • Do voluntary work. It forges connections as well as makes you feel worthwhile.

Change your thinking

One 2010 study found that approaches designed to change "maladaptive thinking” – such as negative beliefs or black and white thinking – were, on average, four times more effective than any other kind of approach. 

Attending CBT might be a good start, the study authors suggest, so perhaps consider speaking with a therapist.

Learn to be OK in your own company

Learning to enjoy time on your own can be just as important as a good social life. 

Fill your time with hobbies that interest you and appreciate the pleasure that these things give you. 

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