Loneliness is not healthy for anyone and it’s especially not healthy for anyone recovering from addiction or mental illness. Loneliness has been linked to greater risk of health problems, depression, and early death. No one wants to be lonely but it’s not always easy to know what to do about it. Here are some suggestions for overcoming loneliness.
Many people feel lonely simply because they never try to make friends. They may assume people won’t like them or that someone else should make the first move. However, making friends or strengthening existing relationships often means taking a risk and inviting someone for lunch or coffee. Of course, not everyone will want to be your friend. You can’t take hesitation or rejection personally. But if you keep at it, you will make more friends. The trick is not to expect too much too soon. Friendships take time to develop. Many superficial interactions can eventually lead to something more meaningful.
Go somewhere public.
Instead of just sitting in your house feeling lonely, go somewhere public. It doesn’t really matter where. Go get coffee, go to the park, or go to the gym. Superficial interaction with random strangers may not be ideal, but it beats sitting around feeling isolated.
People who volunteer report feeling a greater sense of social connection, happiness, and fulfillment. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to meet people who share your values and want to make a difference. You see these people regularly and get to know them. You also interact with people you’re trying to help. Seeing how your efforts help someone else gives you a deeper sense of connection and meaning.
Join a support group.
If you’re recovering from addiction or another mental health issue, a support group or a therapy group is often a great way to find connection with other people who know exactly what you’re going through. If you’re recovering from addiction, consider joining a 12-step group. It will give you a regular time to interact with others and you will likely make friends there.
Get a dog.
A dog is not like a human friend, but in some ways it’s even better. Dogs are loyal and friendly. They depend on you, so taking care of their needs can distract you from your own problems. They’re always there when you get home. As a bonus, they facilitate interaction with your neighbors. If you walk your dog a few times a day, you meet a lot more of your neighbors and gradually get to know them. Even if you don’t get to be great friends, you still feel less lonely.
At Alta Lama Transformational Services, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms. Alta Lama uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.