Even with people around us, we can all feel lonely at times. Loneliness and being physically alone are two very different things. You can be alone without feeling lonely and you can feel lonely even though you aren’t alone. How? Even if you aren’t physically alone, research has found that perceived isolation can lead to you feeling lonely. Any circumstance in which your social needs aren’t being met can lead to loneliness. You may be feeling disconnected from others due to life changes, lacking intimacy or trust in your current relationships, or not feeling fully supported by your social circle.
When this happens, persistent feelings of loneliness may trigger your emotional eating. This is because emotional eating is a coping mechanism to meet your emotional needs with a physical solution. The problem is this is only a temporary solution. Along with a vicious cycle of turning to food when you’re feeling lonely or sad, you may face health challenges like weight gain or body image issues as a result.
If you struggle with emotional eating, you may not have even realized that you’re lonely. If you have any type of perceived social isolation, it may be triggering your emotional eating. Perceived isolation is different from being physically alone. It could be a result of comparing yourself to others, not being your authentic self when you’re around others, or constantly trying to seek approval from others. In order to heal your emotional eating, you need to address the reason(s) for your loneliness.
So how do you resolve loneliness? Here are 4 ways that can help.
1. Live with Authenticity
Authenticity creates healthy intimacy with others which helps to satisfy your craving to feel accepted and feel like you belong. When you’re being your true authentic self, you can engage in meaningful social interactions rather than feeling lonely despite being around people. To learn more about living with authenticity, read my blog all about it here: (add link).
2. Improve Your Social Skills
Many individuals struggle with social anxiety and as a result, may refrain from creating strong relationships. By improving your interpersonal skills, it will help you communicate with others which is fundamental in building and maintaining close friendships and relationships. You can start by trying to attend more social engagements but if you need more assistance, consider speaking with a qualified practitioner who can support you and give you practical advice for overcoming your anxiety.
3. Join a Support Group
You may feel socially isolated if you’ve gone through something that you feel like others can’t or won’t understand. Whether you have a debilitating chronic illness, are grieving the loss of a loved one, have been abused or are going through a divorce, a support group can help you meet others who share a common experience with you. Meeting others who share similar experiences with you can provide social support and resolve loneliness.
4. Break Negative Thinking
Social isolation may be made worse with negative thought patterns. Projecting negativity can create a self-fulfilling prophesy in which your behaviour may push others away even further making it challenging for you to establish new social connections. If you struggle with poor self-esteem or depression, your negative thinking may be getting in the way of your social life. Realizing negative thoughts are just thoughts and not necessarily a reality can help you over negative thought patterns.
Having a strong social support and healthy social life is essential for managing emotional eating. Make sure to nourish your relationships with your time and attention. Spend some time today considering your current social life and ways to deal with loneliness.