5 Ways To Feel More Connected When You're Overwhelmed By Loneliness

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lonely woman

Nowadays where we're always connected through our phones and computers, it's weird that we can still feel lonely.

To feel emotionally connected to those around us we need to have 'emotionally connective' interactions — conversations or experiences that reinforce our bond and/or rekindle the closeness we once shared.

5 Ways To Feel More Connected When You're Lonely

1. Have meaningful conversations.

When we're feeling lonely and hesitant we tend to default to small talk, which is emotionally safe but not connective at all. Connection only happens when we share feelings, reminisce about shared memories, or discuss the relationship itself.



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2. Share an experience (and discuss it).

You can also connect via 'doing' instead of talking as long as you discuss it or acknowledge the shared aspect (e.g., that was an intense movie, wasn't it? Or it's fun watching the game together).

3. Use physical touch.

An affectionate shoulder squeeze to a friend or taking your partner's hand on a walk or on the couch can create a mutual sense of connection.

RELATED: If You Feel Lonely Or Isolated, You Need A "Third Place" In Your Life

4. Take these steps.

To break free of loneliness you have to get serious because it will require emotional discomfort and a sustained effort.

  • Make a list of people to whom you once felt connected or with whom you'd like to deepen your connection.
  • Reach out to 1 person a day (e.g., It's been a while — let's catch up).
  • Electronic communications do not convey tone so make sure your message is inviting. Adding a smiley face can help.
  • Your goal is to have one 15-minute meaningful conversation each day.
  • Don't forget to inquire about the other person. If you know the facts, ask about their feelings.

5. Reach out to others.

Reaching out when you're lonely requires a leap of faith. When you're lonely, your gut will tell you not to reach out, that the other person isn't interested, and that it won't be worth it anyway, but those are perceptual distortions talking.

You need to correct those inaccurate readings by acting despite the emotional discomfort involved.

It takes courage to reach out when you're hurting.

Emotional health doesn't come easily. People might disappoint you and your feelings might get hurt again--but remember, your 'risk-estimation' is calibrated incorrectly and it's probably less risky to reach out to certain people than it feels.

Still, it takes courage to risk further emotional pain so I, for one, will be proud of you for taking these steps and fighting for your emotional health.

RELATED: How To Be OK With Being Alone

Guy Winch is a distinguished psychologist and acclaimed author. His work has been featured in The New York Times and Psychology Today.

This article was originally published at Dr. Guy Winch's Newsletter. Reprinted with permission from the author.