How to treat feeling of loneliness in the early stages

How to treat feeling of loneliness in the early stages
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 18-03-2023

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Being alone and being lonely are two different concepts that are usually mistaken to be the same. Loneliness is a mental state where the expectations from a relationship are not met. It is not associated with being physically alone. One can feel lonely even when surrounded by colleagues or friends, or even family.

Feelings of loneliness are often experienced by late adolescents and young adults when they move to different cities for further studies. People may also experience loneliness even in situations that seem to alleviate it, like getting married or having a child. This can occur if these relationship changes are unstable and disruptive. Moreover, loneliness can be caused due to already-existing mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression.

Every person may encounter feelings of loneliness at some point in life. This feeling is usually for a brief period; however, if such emotions do worsen over time, it can lead to chronic loneliness. This condition may make an individual irritated and selfish, and there is an increase of 26% in the odds of premature death.

Loneliness can disrupt sleep, and people who reported being lonely had more fragmented sleep. A study showed that loneliness could be contagious; interestingly, you are 50% more likely to feel lonely if a person in your close connections is experiencing loneliness. If not managed on time, loneliness can increase your risks of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, substance abuse issues as well as depression. Moreover, studies have pointed to a linear relation between loneliness and developing memory disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

How to treat feelings of loneliness in the early stages:


Engaging yourself in activities that give you pleasure and contentment can help you distract yourself from loneliness. Surrounding yourself with people to eliminate loneliness will only work for a short duration. Therefore, making a list of activities you enjoy by yourself will divert your attention to something productive.

During this time with yourself, there is a high chance you get to discover a side of yourself that was hidden; you may want to take this as an opportunity to find and know yourself in a better way.

Spend time with People like you

Find like-minded people like you. There are various means now to connect with people with similar interests as yours, and it is an excellent way to make new relationships. For example, if you enjoy mountain climbing or baking, or reading, you may want to look out for where people with these interests gather and socialize. This will allow us to form friendships on the basis of common interests.

Helpfulness and kindness

Volunteering towards your society/community can do wonders. It is a two one thing where you help people by providing homeless people with food or caring for or spending time with the elderly in old age homes can eliminate feelings of loneliness as well as produce positive feelings within you.

Social media detox

Research has pointed out that using social media is associated with developing feelings of loneliness and depression. Ironically, social media usage can make people experience the feeling of missing out (FOMO) or feel lonely. Thus, if you find yourself feeling lonely after a brief social media usage, you may want to do a social media detox by unfollowing people who make you feel in such a way or delete applications that do not leave you with healthy emotions after its usage.

Exercise/ outdoor activities

Plenty of scientific experiments have reported the benefits of exercise on your mental health. Exercising helps produce happy hormones such as serotonin and endorphins, which help relieve stress and bring about mental well-being.

If you still feel lonely and think you are suffering from loneliness, you should highly consider seeing a therapist. Do remember these feelings are not permanent, and if determined, you will find yourself around people with meaningful connections.



Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Loneliness, March (2019),

Sutin, A. R., Stephan, Y., Luchetti, M., & Terracciano, A. (2020). Loneliness and risk of dementia. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B75(7), 1414-1422.

Cacioppo, J. T., Fowler, J. H., & Christakis, N. A. (2009). Alone in the crowd: the structure and spread of loneliness in a large social network. Journal of personality and social psychology97(6), 977.

Kornienko, O., Schaefer, D. R., Ha, T., & Granger, D. A. (2020). Loneliness and cortisol are associated with social network regulation. Social Neuroscience, 1-13.

Hunt, M. G., Marx, R., Lipson, C., & Young, J. (2018). No more FOMO: Limiting social media decreases loneliness and depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 37(10), 751-768.

Beller, J., & Wagner, A. (2018). Loneliness, social isolation, their synergistic interaction, and mortality. Health Psychology, 37(9), 808.

Pels, F., & Kleinert, J. (2016). Loneliness and physical activity: A systematic review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology9(1), 231-260.

Kenaley, B., Gellis, Z., Kim, E., & mcclive-Reed, K. (2018). The influence of loneliness and volunteering on the well-being in ‘successfully aging’older adults. Innovation in Aging2(1), 122-122.


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