If you’re feeling lonely in life start saying “yes” to these things

by Tina Fey | February 3, 2024, 5:35 pm

Loneliness sucks. 

But if it makes you feel better, most of us experience it at some point in our lives. I’ve been through it for the best part of my adolescence and early adulthood. 

And while it does take time to build a healthy support network and good habits, there’s no time to start like the present.

So, if you’re feeling lonely in life, start saying yes to these 8 things and watch how your emotional and mental wellbeing improves: 

1) Say “yes” to new experiences

Sometimes, loneliness can stem from a life that has become too predictable, too routine.

You know what each day holds before it even begins – the same people, the same activities, the same conversations.

It’s as if you’re stuck in a perpetual loop of familiarity, and while comfort can be found in the known, it can also foster a sense of isolation.

So, start saying “yes” to new experiences.

This doesn’t mean you have to skydive from a plane or bungee jump off a bridge (unless that’s what you want to do).

It could simply mean trying a new cuisine, joining a book club, learning a new language or taking up a hobby you’ve always been curious about.

The truth is, that embracing new experiences opens the door to meeting new people and learning new things about yourself and the world around you.

It broadens your horizons and takes you out of your comfort zone. And that’s exactly what you need right now.

2) Say “yes” to self-care

In our relentless pursuit to fit in, to be seen, and to feel connected, we often neglect the most essential relationship – the one with ourselves.

I know how tough that can be. I spent the best part of 10 years ignoring myself.

Loneliness can sometimes be a signal that we are not giving ourselves the care and attention we need.

That’s why you need to start saying “yes” to self-care.

But don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean indulging in expensive spa treatments or luxury vacations. I mean treating yourself with kindness and compassion, just as you would a dear friend.

Whether it’s setting aside quiet time for reflection, taking a long walk in nature, reading a book you love, or simply ensuring you get enough sleep – self-care can take many forms. 

By taking care of yourself, you create a healthy relationship with your own being.

This internal connection often alleviates feelings of loneliness because when you’re comfortable in your own company, solitude morphs into peacefulness.

And that’s pretty priceless. 

3) Say “yes” to helping others

One of the most profound ways I found to combat my own feelings of loneliness was by turning my attention to others.

In a strange twist of fate, it seemed that the more I focused on helping others, the less isolated I felt.

Look for opportunities where you can lend a hand.

Perhaps you can say “yes” to helping a neighbor with their groceries, volunteering at a local shelter, or even just being there for a friend who needs a listening ear.

When I moved to a new city and knew virtually no one, the loneliness was almost suffocating at times.

One day, I saw an advertisement for volunteers at a local animal shelter. I decided to say “yes” and give it a try.

Not only did I find joy in caring for the animals, but I also began to meet other volunteers – people who shared similar interests and values.

This simple act of saying “yes” to helping others opened up a new community for me and eased my feelings of loneliness significantly.

It’ll probably help you, too. 

4) Say “yes” to learning

Did you know that loneliness can sometimes be a product of feeling stagnant or stuck?

One effective way to combat this is by embracing the process of lifelong learning.

That’s where saying “yes” to expanding your knowledge and skills comes in.

From reading, attending workshops, taking online courses, or even just listening to informative podcasts, the options are unlimited these days.

And ultimately, learning not only keeps the mind active but also provides a sense of accomplishment and progress.

This will boost your self-esteem and confidence, but could also put you in touch with others who you have something in common with.

For example, when I started learning Spanish, I met a few cool people on my course.

My loneliness levels dropped because we started hanging out, at first to practice our lingo skills, but later just to enjoy each other’s company.

5) Say “yes” to vulnerability

One of the most challenging things I’ve ever done to counteract feelings of loneliness was to embrace vulnerability.

I know it’s scary to open up, to show our true selves, especially when we feel disconnected or isolated.

But it’s in this raw honesty that we often find the most profound connections.

So, say “yes” to being vulnerable. Consider reaching out to someone and sharing how you’re truly feeling, admitting you’re not okay, or expressing fear or insecurity.

Allow yourself to cry in front of someone else, or to ask for help when you need it.

When I was going through a rough patch and felt incredibly lonely, I put on a brave face, pretending everything was fine, but inside I was falling apart.

One day, I decided to pick up the phone and call a friend, admitting for the first time just how lost and lonely I was feeling.

To my surprise, instead of driving her away, my vulnerability brought us closer.

She shared some of her own struggles, and we found comfort in our shared experiences.

This moment of openness paved the way for a deeper friendship and helped alleviate my feelings of loneliness.

Give it a go, you might be surprised at what happens. 

6) Say “yes” to gratitude

In the midst of feeling lonely, it can be easy to overlook the positive aspects of our lives.

I know I’ve been guilty of this. 

But the truth is, embracing gratitude can shift our focus from what’s missing to what’s present, creating a sense of contentment that can ease feelings of loneliness.

One thing that helped me was keeping a gratitude journal. 

All you have to do is write down 3 things you’re grateful for every day (morning or evening).

I’ve found that on the days when I’m feeling a bit down for whatever reason, reading through my journal helps immensely. 

7) Say “yes” to healthy relationships

Loneliness doesn’t always mean being alone; it can often be the result of being surrounded by the wrong people.

Most of us learn this the hard way. 

However cultivating healthy, meaningful relationships is vital in combating feelings of loneliness.

So, start saying “yes” to healthy relationships.

This could mean setting boundaries with people who drain you, seeking out relationships that enrich you, or investing more time and energy in existing relationships that make you feel seen and valued.

I recently had this conversation with a friend – her circle was incredibly toxic.

Thankfully, she took my advice on board and has limited the time she spends with them.

Since hanging out with me and other people who have her best interests at heart, she said she feels so much better about life. Less lonely and negative, more loved and cared for. 

8) Say “yes” to nature

Ah, one of my favorite cures for loneliness.

You see, nature has an innate ability to soothe our souls and connect us with something greater than ourselves.

Spending time in nature can provide a sense of peace and belonging that eases feelings of loneliness.

So, as soon as you’re done with this article, get out and into nature. Go to your local park or drive to your nearest beach or lake. 

Even if you can only access a garden, lie on the grass and spend some time cloudwatching or listening to the sound of the birds. 

Your mental and emotional health will thank you for it, and trust me, the feelings of loneliness will decrease the more you do this. 

We’ve come to the end of our list now. Hopefully the above will help you feel better, but remember, you need to be proactive.

The world is a busy place, and many of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives.

But rather than wallow in misery, we need to actively say “yes” to new things and put ourselves out there.

If I could do it, I’m sure you can too! 

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