8. Share for real online.
Somewhere along the way, the word “sharing” got co-opted on social media to describe what is really just “humble bragging.” We post about cool things we did, nice meals we ate, or a fun party we went to — all things that we didn’t actually share with the people who are viewing our posts.
Instead of posting about things you did, reclaim the word “share” for what it really means — to give a small or large portion of what is yours to someone else.
You could share advice, words of support, or even empathy, all from your smartphone. As a result, your connections are likely to be more kind and supportive.
9. Stop focusing so much on you.
It’s almost inevitable in our modern technology-crazed world that we start to believe we don’t have enough. Bob got a new car. Sherri got a new house. Sonja got a new job. We also see false or unrealistic images — models photoshopped to have perfect waists and abs — and we feel envious. As a result, we become increasingly focused on how we are not measuring up.
Instead of focusing on what you can get, shift your focus to what you can give. You could sell T-shirts online to raise money for a good cause. You could ask friends to donate to a charity for your birthday.
By giving to others, you take the focus off yourself and do good at the same time, helping you to feel more connected and less lonely.
10. Stop your negative thought cycles.
We might repeatedly think about what we could have done differently to prevent ourselves from feeling so alone. We ruminate on the events or people or causes because we mistakenly believe that thinking about our loneliness over and over again will help us solve it. Unfortunately, it does us no good to get caught up in our thoughts instead of taking the actions we need to feel better.
To put an end to these negative thought cycles, we need to take action — do something different that stops these thoughts and changes our experience of the world.
For example, if I’m feeling lonely, I’ll go to the gym or schedule lunches with friends for the next few days. And it helps.
11. Generate a sense of awe.
Awe (like when we witness the birth of new baby, or a majestic mountain) makes time seem like it’s standing still and helps us be more open to connecting. Something about feeling small in the context of a big world appears to help us see ourselves as part of a whole, which may help us feel less alone.
So expose yourself to something that creates awe — like landscapes, new experiences, or new foods.
12. Spend money on experiences.
If we’re spending all our money on things, we won’t have the cash to spend money on experiences with others. And it turns out that spending money on experiences is way better for our mental health.
So get creative and think about what you want to do with others. For example, I might go on a canoeing trip, go wine tasting, plan a beach party, or host an arts & crafts night.
What group activities might make you feel less lonely?
13. Pay attention to the things that matter.
How do we expect to improve our loneliness when we don’t know what causes it? It’s hard.
So it’s helpful to start paying attention to the present moment.
What are the experiences that make you feel lonely? And what are the experiences that make you feel connected or like you belong? Identifying these moments can help you reduce loneliness, because you can limit your engagement in activities that make you feel lonely and increase your engagement in activities that make you feel connected.