Take it slow
If you've felt lonely for a long time, even if you already know lots of people, it can be terrifying to think about trying to meet new people or opening up to people for the first time. But you don't need to rush into anything.
For example, you could try doing an online activity where other people attend but you're not expected to interact with them, such as a drawing lesson. Or if you're interested in joining a new group or class, you could ask whoever runs the sessions if you can just watch at first, rather than taking part.
Simply knowing that other people are there may be enough to help with some feelings of loneliness.
If you are feeling lonely because of a lack of satisfying social contact in your life, you could try to meet more, or different people.
Try to join a class or group based on your hobbies or interests.
This could include online groups if you can't attend things in person.
· If you are able to, volunteering is a good way of meeting people. Helping others can also really help improve your mental health. It is also a good idea to check that you will receive adequate support from the organisation you are volunteering at.
· "Be brave and reach out to someone. It doesn't have to be face-to-face; you could share a post on social media."
In this situation it might help to open up about how you feel to friends and family.
If you don't feel comfortable opening up to the people you know, you could try speaking with a therapist or a using a peer support service.
"I never feel lonely when I'm in nature. I feel more connected than ever when I'm walking alone through a wood or by a river."
Talking therapies allow you to explore and understand your feelings of loneliness and can help you develop positive ways of dealing with them. For example, therapy can provide a space for you to discuss the emotional problems that make it hard for you to form satisfying relationships.
If anxiety about social situations has made you feel isolated, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may help. This focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
It is very hard to stop comparing ourselves to others. We all do it, but it can help to just be aware that things are not always what they seem from the outside.
For example on social media, we very often only see what other people want to share about their lives, and this can make us feel like we are the only ones feeling lonely.
It's important to remind yourself that you don't know how other people feel when they are alone, or when their social media feeds are turned off.
And if you have a lack of confidence in yourself or your life when compared to others, and you think that this might be contributing to your feelings of loneliness, you need think a bout your self-steam.
"I sometimes feel lonely when I am overwhelmed by human information – the news, social media, TV, negative gossip etc. – I feel so separate and different to most people."