What to do for depression and how you can you overcome the feelings of loneliness that come with it? 6 ways Humanists overcome depression.
According to experts, loneliness is not about being alone, it is about the perception that you are alone or isolated and the feelings of depression that accompany this perception. . This is why there are people who are happy being alone and others who feel lonely in a crowd.
My approach to the universal of problem of loneliness and the depression that comes with it to be both analytic and proactive about my feelings and the conditions that are making me feel this way. I am a Humanist and if you’ve been a fan for a while, you know I talk and teach how compassion for others helps cure that feeling of loneliness because instead of being stuck inside your head where you are effectively isolated, you reach out and consider other people which has the benefit of getting you out of your head. To me, loneliness is a sign of depression. I am not an expert, I am a philosopher, but I do think that these conditions are linked and so I approach loneliness in the same way I tackle feelings of depression.
But to be more specific, let’s consider some more practical ways you can combat loneliness and start feeling better.
1) When I am depressed or feeling lonely, I like to go out and be around people. I know for some people it makes them feel more lonely. I always figure, when I am depressed, I need to fight the urge to stay home and wallow and get out among the living and life and remind myself, yup, I’m alive. Might suck right now, but it’s better than the alternative. It feels uncomfortable to feel alone and to be around people who clearly feel connected to others, but I turn that feeling around by acknowledging it. I use that feeling of being uncomfortable to remind myself – that’s what I’m shooting for. This is my goal. To be happy I’m alive. Then, I start working towards that goal. Without a goal, I am likely to wallow.
2) I also make sure that I am taking vitamins. It doesn’t hurt to take vitamins but there is always a possibility that my mood is caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain. We are, after all big bags of chemicals. Making sure my body has the basic nutrients it needs is basic body maintenance.
3) Another way to approach feeling less lonely is to volunteer somewhere. Be useful to someone and help other people. It will help you make friends with new people with similar interests and you will be doing something good for other people and that always feels good. Plus, when you stop thinking about yourself and how pathetic you are, you stop feeling lonely. Fill up your brain with thoughts of how you can help others and you won’t have much time to feel that you don’t matter to others. When you volunteer, you do matter.
4) When I am feeling lonely I make a concerted effort to reach out to the folks I know and with friends and make arrangements to do things with them. As adults, our lives get busy and it’s harder to find time for friends and for friends to find time for us. If I reach out and someone can’t do something with me, I reach out again and again and again until I find someone who has the time. In other words, I am proactive about coping with my loneliness. I don’t wait for a miracle. I go out and find people to be around. If a friend isn’t available for one get together, I suggest another. And I make myself flexible and available to meet on their schedule. And I’m ok with the fact that I might not be as attuned or relaxed and that I might be a bit distant because of my depression. The more I go out with people, the less alone I feel and I know that for me, it is necessary to get back into balance emotionally. Plus, I have found that if I am honest with my friends about how I am feeling and why I am asking them for help, most are more than eager to be there to comfort and assist just by being present. You may be surprised at just how much people care about you. Again, feeling lonely is mostly a problem of perception.
5) If the loneliness is romance related, I think to myself, it’s ok that I am alone romantically and I focus instead on making friends. My goal is to be happy by myself. Be proactive about that. When you stop looking for love, and start looking for friends, you greatly open up your romantic possibilities. It’s really hard to stop looking for love because it’s always in the back of your head. But what happens is that when you are looking for friends, not love, you meet people of different genders for friendship and that helps ease the loneliness. It also makes you a better romantic partner because you won’t be looking to your partner to fill the emptiness inside you, which they can’t do anyway. You have to fill it with yourself. You do that by focusing outward on the needs of others instead of yourself. This is again, a lesson in the benefits of compassion. You learn to love yourself by loving others first. Not in a selfish, what can they do to help me feel better way, but on their terms for them sort of way. It really does work. Then, when you do meet people of your preferred gender and you find someone you are compatible with this approach translates into romance better than just viewing everyone you meet through the lens of whether they will go out with you or not. It’s stifling to the people you meet to be only considered valuable if they are available. It’s also demeaning and dehumanizing. People want to be liked for who they are. Not just because of their gender and their availability. Plus, considering people you meet as humans and not as potential partners is a much more humanistic way to approach romance and friendship.
6) Finally, if I find I can’t shake the ennui I go to a professional for help. My first stop is my doctor. I have blood work done and see if there is something off balance in my chemistry. If not and everything is fine, I seek out a psychologist. Acknowledging you are feeling bad enough to need help is empowering. It’s kind of strange that it is, but it is. So if you are feeling that bad, go seek a professional.
How do you cure your loneliness?