How to Feel Less Lonely: 17 Practical Tips to Alleviate Loneliness

Before the COVID-19 pandemic exposed many fractures in our social connections, the problem of loneliness had already become prevelant in many communities.

There’s now considerable evidence suggesting that compared with people in previous decades, we spend less time with family and friends. We have fewer close friends and are less involved in our communities. A recent study found that over half of the American population report feeling lonely.

While loneliness is at times a natural human emotion, extreme loneliness and its impact on mental wellbeing cannot be overstated. Loneliness has far-reaching consequences on both our mental and physical health.

This article will explore the mental and physical implications of extreme loneliness, shedding light on the importance of addressing this issue in today's interconnected yet increasingly isolated world.

In addition, we’ll highlight several tips and resources you might be interested in if you’re battling with this challenging emotion.

The Psychological Toll

Loneliness is not just a fleeting emotion; it can become a chronic state of mind.

Prolonged periods of isolation can lead to low mood and anxiety. When we feel disconnected from others, our self-esteem and self-worth can suffer. We may begin to question our social abilities, further isolating ourselves and creating a vicious cycle of social anxiety.

People may avoid social situations altogether to prevent the discomfort loneliness brings, but this avoidance only reinforces their isolation.

Depression, in particular, is strongly linked to loneliness. The feelings of hopelessness and despair that accompany depression can be exacerbated by the perception that no one cares or understands us.

A lonely person may withdraw from social interactions and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, intensifying their sense of isolation.

Moreover, loneliness can hinder emotional regulation. When people lack the support and connection that comes from healthy relationships, they may struggle to manage their emotions effectively. This can lead to emotional instability and an increased vulnerability to mood swings.

The Physical Consequences

It’s not just the mind that bears the brunt of loneliness; the body also suffers.

Chronic loneliness has been linked to a range of physical health issues, including cardiovascular problems, compromised immune function, and even a shorter lifespan. The stress associated with loneliness triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that, when consistently elevated, can lead to various health problems.

Additionally, lonely individuals are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours such as overeating, substance abuse, and inadequate sleep. These behaviours can further exacerbate physical health issues, creating a dangerous synergy between mental and physical wellbeing.

17 Ways to Feel Less Lonely

  1. Take a closer look at the thoughts that run through your mind when you’re feeling lonely. Are there recurring negative thoughts about your self-worth, your ability to connect with others, or your past experiences? Do you have a tendency to ruminate? Noticing and challenging these unhelpful thought patterns can be a very helpful tool for changing your emotional state. The Thinking Slow Method inside The Mental Wellbeing Toolkit is designed to help you with this.
  2. Consider keeping a journal to express your thoughts and feelings. This can help you process your emotions and gain clarity on your feelings of loneliness – here’s a free printable.
  3. Try to be kind to yourself. Loneliness is a common experience (as mentioned, over half of the American population reports feeling this way). Feeling lonely doesn't define your worth as a person.
  4. Pay attention to recurring patterns in your social interactions. Do you tend to feel lonelier after specific types of interactions or with certain individuals? Identifying these patterns can help you understand which social contexts or relationships might contribute to your loneliness.
  5. Assess whether your expectations in social interactions are realistic and healthy. Sometimes, expecting too much from others in terms of their responsiveness or attention can lead to disappointment and feelings of loneliness. Adjusting your expectations to align with the realities of human interactions can help you approach social situations with a more balanced perspective.
  6. Recognize that vulnerability is a fundamental aspect of human connection. Being vulnerable means allowing yourself to be open and honest about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, even if they include insecurities or fears. How much do you lean into vulnerability?
  7. Set realistic goals for social interactions, such as attending one social event per week or reaching out to a friend regularly. The dopamine rush you get from your achievements helps reinforce new behaviour. Acknowledge and celebrate your efforts, even if they result in small steps toward reducing loneliness.
  8. Use practical tools such as The Relationship Challenge and The Social Connection Planner.
  9. Attend social events – even if you feel hesitant. These occasions can lead to unexpected connections and memorable experiences. Taking action despite feelings of low mood and anxiety is essential for escaping the vicious cycle of poor mental wellbeing.
  10. Exploring hobbies or activities you haven't tried before can introduce you to new people and interests. Check out our Indoor and Outdoor Nourishing Activities Lists in our Free Tools Library for inspiration.
  11. Seek out clubs, classes, or organizations that align with your interests. Consider volunteering for a cause you care about. These settings provide opportunities to meet like-minded people and foster new connections.
  12. Explore online forums, social media groups, or virtual events related to your hobbies or interests. Engaging in online communities can help alleviate feelings of loneliness.
  13. Limit screen time. Social media can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Studies have found that Instagram is the worst platform for mental health. Consider setting boundaries on your technology use.
  14. Cultivate gratitude. Focus on the positive aspects of your life. Regularly acknowledging and appreciating the good things you have enhances mental wellbeing.
  15. If circumstances allow, consider traveling or exploring new places. Traveling can provide fresh perspectives and opportunities for meeting new people.
  16. Be open to different types of friendships. Sometimes, connections can form with people you might not have initially expected.
  17. Be patient. Don't be discouraged by setbacks or slow progress. Stay committed to building connections and improving your social life. Overcoming loneliness can take time.


In a world that’s more interconnected than ever, it seems paradoxical that loneliness is on the rise.

Social media and digital communication have made it easier to connect with others, yet true and meaningful connections often elude us.

The impact of loneliness on both mental and physical wellbeing cannot be ignored.

The causes of loneliness are incredibly complex. The good news is that the complexity of the issue means there are a wide range of steps you can take to feel less lonely.

Exploring tips, tools and resources for handling loneliness can help you on your journey to feeling more connected.

Why not print this article and use it to put together your own “Combatting Loneliness Action Plan”?

Interested in a self-guided program? The Mental Wellbeing Toolkit is "like 10 therapy sessions in one."
The Mental Wellbeing Toolkit


About Rebecca

Rebecca is the founder of The Wellness Society and author of two fluff-free books, The Framework and Understanding and Healing Trauma.

She's passionate about creating concise and compassionate mental health and wellbeing tools that address the root causes of distress.

Read more about her views on our About page.