I Feel So Alone: 10 Ways To Lift Your Spirits When Feeling Down

Loneliness is part of our human journey but it doesn’t have to dominate our lives. There are many ways to define what happiness means for you and not feel so alone.
Photograph Of Happy Woman Jumping Up And Down On Her Bed, Lifting Her Spirits When Feeling Alone

What makes loneliness such a powerful emotion is that it doesn’t discriminate based on who you are or how many people you know —and it takes many forms.

If you feel alone right now, there are ways to cope and the first one involves recognizing that you are, in fact, lonely.

Key Takeaways:

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Loneliness doesn’t care how much money you have (or don’t have), your lifestyle, or where you live.

The most popular and well-loved people can be struck by feelings of loneliness just as easily as those who are without any friends at all.

I interact with people constantly and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a crowded room and still felt as if I was the only person there.

I’ve lost count of the number of times when I’ve needed to talk to someone about what I was feeling but convinced myself not to, for reasons I can’t recall now, and it only made me feel more alone.

If you can relate to that experience yourself, take comfort in knowing you’re far from alone.

I’ve found that there are many ways to combat those feelings and return to a good place where negative vibes are kept at bay.

How To Stop Feeling So Alone

If you’re asking yourself, “Why do I feel so alone?”, the first step to finding the answer begins with gaining deeper insight into this complex emotion.

Although there are 100+ types of loneliness we might experience during our lifetime, for simplicity’s sake, all of them are rooted in three particular categories:

  • Situational Loneliness: This type of loneliness typically relates to your lifestyle, family or career situation, or socio-economic standing. Essentially, you might be feeling lonely due to where things are currently at with your life.
  • Developmental Loneliness: Being unable to establish an intimate and social connection with others can negatively impact our ability to grow and develop into happy, healthy, and thriving individuals who can adequately balance the various demands life often requires.
  • Internal Loneliness: Perhaps one of the most damaging forms of loneliness, possessing internal feelings of insecurity, worthlessness, and low self-esteem are just a few common culprits that can lead a person’s mind and emotions to enhance how lonely and isolated they feel from the rest of the world.

Although there isn’t a magical solution to suddenly stop feeling alone, there are plenty of ways to tackle these emotions head-on.

With practice and over time, you can turn to these approaches to stop feeling lonely and get back on track:

Admit To Yourself That You’re Lonely

In one of my earliest therapy sessions, I was feeling “off” and couldn’t pinpoint the reason why.

After several questions and some gentle prodding from my therapist, I suddenly burst into tears and blurted out, “I’m so lonely!”

I shocked myself with that startling admission.

I was living at home at the time, happily dating someone, had friends, and always enjoyed an active social life.

How could I possibly feel lonely?

But I’d said it out loud — I’d made it real, tangible — and that gave me the freedom and ability to explore this emotion further.

You’d be surprised at how powerful uttering those words can be — even if you say them alone in the privacy of your own home.

But you have to say it.

Verbalizing an admission of loneliness is cathartic and it’s an important first step toward the process of addressing it.

Identify Your “Whys” — Honestly

If you’re experiencing signs of loneliness and feeling alone, it’s time to have a moment of truth with yourself.

Refer back to the three types of loneliness we described above as a starting point.

What are the things that are currently causing you to be unhappy and/or dissatisfied right now?

You can’t remedy an issue if you don’t know what it is, and that’s bigger than simply saying, “I feel alone.”

If it helps, write down that statement but finish the rest of the sentence: “I feel alone because…” and see what comes out.

The answer may surprise you, but it will also help you to understand why you feel this way.

Remind Yourself Of What Makes You Happy

As simple as it seems on the surface, we all have certain things that bring us to our happy place.

A favorite meal we looked forward to the most as children.

A beloved hobby that we used to enjoy — until adult responsibilities placed it on the back burner indefinitely.

Life’s daily grind is a busy one.

It’s easy to fall into a rut where we’re just going, going, going like little machines — never stopping to seek out the things that bring us enjoyment because we simply “don’t have time.”

The less time we spend in our happy place, however, the easier it is to forget about what truly makes us happy, to begin with.

As a reminder to yourself, craft a list of the things, people, or places that have always brought you the most joy.

Next, evaluate how many of those things have been absent — and why.

Finally, make a concentrated effort to integrate at least some of those things back into your daily routine.

This will not only boost your mood and bring a greater sense of contentment, but it will also allow you to bounce back more quickly whenever your feelings of loneliness start to creep back in.

Socialize And Reconnect With Others

Whether this involves reaching out to your friends, family, and loved ones or hopping onto social media to engage with others, it’s vital to connect when you’re feeling alone.

I can tell you from firsthand experience that sitting with your feelings of loneliness will only lead to isolation and further despair.

Share your thoughts and feelings with others if you can, but if you’d rather keep them private, focus on reestablishing connections by making plans with others or striking up a conversation with a trusted friend.

Break Free From Your Familiar Surroundings

When you’re stuck inside the same four walls, day after day, it can be difficult to feel like positive change is even possible.

If you feel alone right now, your familiar environment might be contributing to your current state of emotions — even if it feels like a “safe and secure” place to remain.

An activity as simple as planning a local day trip, going camping over the weekend, visiting and staying with a friend you haven’t seen in forever, or attending a barbeque are all wonderful ways to remind yourself of how much there is to get involved in.

New sights, smells, conversations, experiences, and connections are a surefire way to chase away your loneliness.

Our editor-in-chief, Alison Huff, explained that her husband became a bikepacker as a means of getting out into the world and connecting with others.

“At first, his goal was exercise and exploration,” she explained. “He wanted to enjoy some fresh, open air and a sense of freedom and adventure.” She continued:

“What he found, however, was a greater sense of connection with other people — and humanity, in general. 

He enjoyed countless conversations with random strangers as he biked — for days at a time — and whenever we’d catch up with one another on the phone, he didn’t say much about where he was or what he’d seen, he mostly shared stories of the people he’d met along the way.”

You don’t necessarily have to pack your bike with all of your belongings and trek out into the world to feel less alone, but leaving your most familiar surroundings can help to reestablish a sense of connection with others.

Find Your Passion And Purpose 

Anytime I feel lonely and alone, I turn to creative pursuits like writing or painting to reignite my sense of passion and purpose.

Not only am I keeping my thoughts from running away with me through these creative outlets, but these are also things I’m really good at — and enjoy.

With that comes a confidence boost, and it serves as a great reminder of my self-worth and how fortunate I am.

Need help figuring out what your passion or purpose is?

Give volunteering a shot.

Find a cause that really means something to you and discover how you can take part in making a positive change in your community.

If creativity is a source of passion but you don’t feel like you’ve got enough skill to explore it, take an art or writing class at the local community college.

Even hopping onto platforms like TikTok to learn a new DIY crafty skill is a fun way to break out of a monotonous routine and find a new passion you didn’t even know existed.

Keep A Morning Gratitude List

As soon as you wake up in the morning, writing one thing you’re grateful for in a journal not only starts your day on a positive note, but over time, you’ll wind up with an incredible list that will serve as proof of how much zest for life you have.

You don’t need to list deep thoughts here — especially when you’re just starting out.

You might be grateful for the morning coffee you’re about to enjoy, or the soft, warm bedding you woke up in.

Those things are small joys, but they’re still a source of gratitude, yes?

Write them down.

If you’re doing something exciting or fun later that day and you’re grateful for the opportunity, add it to your list.

The more you practice gratitude each and every morning, the more you’ll discover how much there is to be grateful for.

The bonus is that it only takes a moment to write something down each morning — yet the list will remain a constant daily reminder of all the good things in your life.

Create A Wish-List Of Things You Have Never Done

We all have a “bucket list” of things we’d like to do someday, but as I mentioned before, life gets busy and such activities tend to fall to the wayside in favor of our daily grind, “must-do” tasks.

Create a new to-do list for yourself — one that’s filled with things you’ve never done, but would like to.

Your wish-list activities don’t have to be as big as swimming with sharks or skydiving out of a helicopter, either.

Examples might include getting a professional massage, going wine tasting, riding a rollercoaster, taking a road trip, or watching a foreign film with subtitles if you’ve never done that before.

We tend to limit ourselves in our day-to-day lives and it can be exhilarating to give yourself the freedom to step outside of your comfort zone and open up to new experiences — and the connections that tend to come with them.

You can also go “off-list” whenever inspiration strikes, too.

For instance, when walking through the grocery store, take a look at the fruit selection for something you’ve never tried before.

“Dragon fruit? What’s that?” 

Good question.

Buy one, take it home, and find out.

A sense of adventure doesn’t have to be limited to “big” goals — it can be found in the most seemingly inconsequential, mundane moments, too.

Understand The Difference Between Loneliness And Solitude

Loneliness and solitude are not the same.

Although solitude is defined as “the state or situation of being alone,” in practice, this has been embraced as the ability to basically enjoy your own company.

During solitude, you are alone but you’re not lonely.

Individuals who incorporate solitude into their lives show an increase in happiness, self-motivation, creativity, and an improvement in their interpersonal relationships with others.

It’s okay to spend time alone — and mindful solitude can be beneficial because it allows you to spend time with someone important to you: Yourself.

Talk To A Professional

I’ll be honest — therapy isn’t for everyone but it can benefit anyone who understands how to use this resource.

Speaking to a mental health professional — namely, one that specializes in loneliness and related conditions — is an excellent way to voice your thoughts and feelings to someone who can provide useful insight and helpful recommendations within a safe environment.

Professional therapy can take place in-person as well as virtually, so if you’re not comfortable going into an office to meet with someone face-to-face, online sessions are an option that can be just as effective.

Not everyone handles loneliness the same way so it is important to choose approaches that speak to you and the way you operate.

There is no right or wrong answer here.

If you think therapy might be worth a try, book an appointment with someone.

And if the thought of going to therapy makes you want to run for the hills, don’t go.

At the end of the day, what works for one person doesn’t always work for another.

Is It Normal To Feel Alone?

The easy answer to whether it is normal to feel alone is: yes.

In the US alone, a recent study has shown that 52% of Americans reported feeling lonely. 

Ironically, you’re not alone in feeling alone.

Although we tend to put a negative connotation on emotions like loneliness, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The very existence of the Roots of Loneliness Project is proof that loneliness isn’t only common, but it’s a normal part of being human.

Closing Thoughts

Loneliness happens to the best of us — it is part of our human journey, but it does not have to run our lives.

Thankfully, more people are identifying and expressing their need for connection, inspiration, and empowerment and there are more resources than ever for achieving all of those things.

It also means that there are plenty of opportunities to get back to basics and define what happiness means for you.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of The Roots Of Loneliness Project, the first-of-its-kind resource that comprehensively explores the phenomenon of loneliness and over 100 types we might experience during our lives.

Find Help Now

If you’re struggling with loneliness, we’ve put together resources to meet you wherever you are — whether you want someone to talk to right now, or are looking for longer-term ways to help ease your loneliness.