If you’re feeling lonely, these 7 habits could be why

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The modern era has one of the biggest paradoxes of all time. 

It’s easier than ever before to connect with people, and yet people are feeling more lonely than ever before.

Since you’re here, you may be one of them. If yes, don’t feel bad — though it doesn’t feel like it, you’re certainly not alone. 

I was there too, not so long ago. But now I’m feeling much better and happier.

What made the change? I actually identified 7 habits that contribute to the problem. Once I eliminated them, I saw a huge positive change — and you can do the same.

So let’s have a look at what they are.

1) Working too much

Hustle culture teaches us that if we’re not working, we’re wasting our time.

And so, we work. We pour in hours, even past exhaustion, convincing ourselves that we’re creating a better future. 

And while hard work is indeed important, this overemphasis can cause us to isolate ourselves from our loved ones and our own needs. 

We start sacrificing our social life, hobbies, and time for relaxation to put in extra hours. Over time, this imbalance can lead to feelings of loneliness.

I remember a time at my previous job when I was pulling 60-hour work weeks consistently. Sure, my career was booming, but the rest of my life was empty. 

Weekends felt foreign, and catching up with friends became a distant memory. Despite my professional success, I felt lonely.

To break this habit, we need to strive for a healthier work-life balance. Set boundaries for your work hours and stick to them without exception. Start reconnecting with your friends, and pick up hobbies that you had abandoned. 

2) Using digital communication too much

We all love to use technology. I myself have apps I use religiously, and I would feel rather lost without my phone.

But you definitely should put limits to how you communicate digitally if you’re feeling lonely.

During the period when I was working too much, I realized that most of my conversations were taking place through screens. 

Whether it was catching up with friends on social media or having work discussions over email, the lack of real, human interaction started to wear me down. I missed seeing facial expressions, hearing laughter, and even sharing moments of silence with another human.

The solution is simple. Make communication as face-to-face as possible, whenever you can.

In other words, don’t text a friend or family member if you can call them instead, or even see them in person. 

Also, start engaging in activities that encourage human interaction, like joining a book club, volunteering in your community, or inviting your friend for a coffee. 

3) Suppressing your emotions

This habit is a bit of an evil cycle and a fast track to loneliness.

You don’t express your emotions, which can make you start feeling lonely. And because you feel lonely, you avoid expressing your emotions even more, because you’re afraid of driving people away or don’t feel close enough to them.

There’s actually a good chance that people would actually love to share a deeper connection with you. But they may have gotten used to you not wanting to share and don’t want to push you.

So how do you break down this wall?

I’m not going to lie, it isn’t all that easy. I chipped away at mine for a while until finally the rest of it crumbled easily.

Take small steps and begin by acknowledging your own feelings. You can write a journal and imagine that you’re talking to yourself. And slowly, try sharing even small things with others. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to have private thoughts and emotions. Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to have private thoughts and emotions. But it’s also crucial to have outlets and trusted people with whom you can share your feelings. 

If you find it difficult to start, consider seeking the help of a therapist or a counselor. 

4) Constantly comparing yourself to others

This habit is particularly dangerous because other people can have no idea that you’re doing it — and sometimes you might not even notice that you’re doing it.

In fact, society kind of encourages it with constant highlight reels of others’ lives and advertisements trying to sell you an image of a better life. 

But at the same time, when you let go of this habit, it can make a huge difference to make you stop feeling lonely.

It starts with acknowledging that everyone is on their own journey and that there’s no set timeline for success or happiness.

If you’re traveling from New York to Milan, you wouldn’t compare your journey to someone going from Berlin to Hong Kong, right? It wouldn’t make any sense at all.

Instead, focus on looking at your journey alone, and how far you’ve come on it. It’s not just about paper accomplishments like getting degrees, promotions, or awards.

It’s also the mental and spiritual work you’ve put in, the skills you’ve learned, and the experiences you’ve had. 

5) Neglecting self-care

Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

If you start seeing yourself as a loner, you might start acting and looking like one, and therefore you make yourself into one.

This starts with taking care of yourself and your physical health.

Because imagine a loner or isolated person. What do they look like?

A lot of the time, people think of someone a little disheveled. Perhaps someone who hasn’t shaved in a few days, or is wearing baggy clothes.

But even if you take the appearance out of the picture completely, the more important thing is how you make yourself feel. 

Regular exercise and a balanced diet help regulate your mood and energy levels, which makes you happier already, and also more likely to engage with others.

Any kind of change you want to make in your life has to start from within, so this is one of the most important habits to break.

6) Having a negative mindset

Speaking of starting from within, let’s talk about your mindset.

If you keep a negative outlook on life, you might be making yourself feel more lonely with a vicious cycle that’s hard to escape.

During my darkest periods, I’d convince myself that I was unloved, looking for evidence of that in every interaction, which just confirmed me in my negative thoughts.

This in turn made me start to behave in an isolated way, pushing people away and effectively making it very hard for others to love me. 

How do we stop this?

Start by becoming aware of your thoughts and challenging them. Try reframing negative beliefs into expansive ones, such as “I am an incredible person who has a lot to give to my relationships.”

This can help you start acting according to better beliefs, leading to the reality that you desire. 

7) Not engaging in your hobbies

Lastly, if you’re feeling, consider how often you engage in your hobbies

Personally, I love to dance and read, but when I was struggling with loneliness, I realized that it had been months since I last took out books from the library or attended a dance class.

I didn’t really feel like doing those things when I felt down — so if this is why you’ve stopped your own hobbies, I can completely relate.

And you don’t need to throw yourself back in all at once. But slowly, step by step, try to get back into it

For me, it meant taking out one new book and signing up for a single weekly class. 

This helps you reconnect with things you love doing, so you’re not isolated in your thoughts all the time. 

Interestingly enough, this alone helped me feel much better, even when I wasn’t actually interacting much more with people.

But soon, your hobbies can help you connect with people who you have a lot in common with.

Finding your way out of loneliness

If you’ve been feeling lonely lately, now you know 7 habits that could be the reason why.

I hope this has given you some insight into what could help you start feeling better.

Though this is not a good position to be in, there’s one really positive thing about it: you have control over your situation and the habits you adopt.

Therefore, you have the power to spark change.

It will take some time, and be sure to give yourself grace and patience. Soon enough, I’m confident you’ll find yourself in a better place.

And until then, know that you have at least one great ally on your side. Whenever you’d like to connect with me, feel free to come back to one of my other articles, or even reach out to me directly.

I’d love to connect and help you out in any way I can.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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