Anxiety, loneliness, and depression are all thoroughly intertwined. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your anxious thoughts are causing you to feel lonely, if your loneliness is causing you anxiety, or if your depression is what initiated your anxiety. Regardless of which came first, it’s important to recognize that you’re struggling.
Once you identify the anxious thoughts that are keeping you lonely, you can then begin to focus on how to change them. The following five ways can help you overcome the anxious thoughts that keep you feeling trapped.
Pay attention to the thoughts
As mentioned above, in order to overcome any anxious thoughts, you first need to identify them. During the times you feel loneliest, keep track of the thoughts that are crossing your mind. It might even be helpful to write them down in a journal, planner, or the Notes section of your phone. After a few days, you’ll probably begin to notice that many of your thoughts are reoccurring. Common anxious thoughts that keep people lonely can range anywhere from “I bet they’re glad I said I couldn’t come out tonight” to “Nobody is ever going to want to be friends with me because I’m not a fun person”, and everything in between.
Call yourself out
Once you see your thought patterns written out, you can then start to address them. Ask yourself if there is any validity to the statements that you’re making.
If you really think about it honestly, your anxious thoughts are probably mostly false. What evidence do you have to prove that they’re “glad” you said no to going out? Are you really not a fun person? There’s not even ONE fun thing about you? Highly doubtful. Call yourself out on these falsities and begin turning your negative thoughts into something more positive and realistic.
Act against your thoughts
Let’s say you’ve been invited out with coworkers: what’s your first inclination? If you’re following the lead of your anxious thoughts, you’re probably going to say ‘no’. If you want to overcome your loneliness, however, you’re going to have to put aside these anxious thoughts and step outside of your comfort zone.
Try saying ‘yes’ just this once and see where it leads you; you’ll likely have a better time than you were anticipating. The less often you decline invites, the more positive memories you make. Creating this positive association with other people will leave less room for anxious thoughts.
Respect alone time
Did you know that even the most extroverted people get lonely? This might be because they are so adjusted to having other people in their presence, that they don’t know what to do during any downtime. As humans, it’s natural for us to seek connection, but it’s also natural to recharge alone.
Learn the difference between feeling alone, and feeling lonely. Take advantage of the alone time by realizing that, like being with others, spending time with yourself is equally as important. Instead of feeling self-conscious about seeing a movie alone, for instance, relish the time you have to do something you enjoy on your own.
Think about therapy
While there are countless articles you can research, or self-help books you can purchase, overcoming your anxious thoughts can be difficult to do on your own. Trying to change old patterns and behaviors, especially with regards to anxiety and loneliness, might be too big of a task to tackle by yourself.
Don’t let anxiety and loneliness keep you trapped – start by taking the above five ways into consideration today.
Individual counseling and group therapy are both good options to start overcoming the persistent and anxious thoughts that keep you lonely. Check out my website and we can start making the changes that you’ve always desired.
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