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10 Ways To Beat Loneliness

As a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, Affinity Health understands the importance of mental health and the impact that loneliness can have on overall well-being.

However, by trying new things, connecting with others, and caring for yourself, you can beat loneliness and improve your overall well-being.

What Is Loneliness?

Loneliness is generally considered an emotion, although it can also be described as a “state of mind” or a “subjective experience”.

Emotions are complex psychological responses to external or internal stimuli, and they often involve changes in feelings, thoughts, and physiological responses.

While there is limited data on the prevalence of loneliness in South Africa, studies have suggested that it is a shared experience.

According to the 2021 South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) survey, around 70% of respondents reported feeling lonely, with women more likely to report loneliness than men.

What Causes Loneliness?

Various factors, including the following, can cause loneliness. 

  • Social isolation: When people lack social connections or are physically isolated from others, they may experience loneliness. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns (including remote work environments) contributed to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  •  Loss: The loss of a loved one or a significant change in a person’s life, such as a divorce or a move to a new place, can trigger feelings of loneliness.
  • Mental health conditions: Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can cause a person to feel disconnected from others and isolated.
  • Lack of meaningful relationships: When people feel that their relationships lack depth or meaning, they may experience loneliness.
  • Stigma: Social stigma or discrimination can make it difficult for a person to connect with others and may cause them to feel isolated and alone.
  • Personality traits: Some people may be more prone to loneliness due to personality traits, such as introversion or shyness.

“Loneliness is a common experience that can affect anyone, regardless of age or background. However, it's important to know that there are effective ways to beat loneliness and improve mental health,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

10 Practical Ways to Beat Loneliness

1. Join A Club or Organisation

Joining a club or organisation that aligns with your interests is a great way to meet new people and make friends. It could be a book club, sports team, or volunteer group. Participating in group activities can help you feel connected and engaged, reducing feelings of loneliness.


2. Try New Things

Trying new things can be scary, but it can also be rewarding. When you try something new, you challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new. You could try a new hobby, travel to a new place, or even take a new class.

5. Attend Social Events

Attend social events such as parties, gatherings, or community events. It could be a concert, art exhibit, or cooking class. Social events can help you meet new people and expand your social circle.


6. Exercise

Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it can also be good for your mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can help improve your mood and reduce feelings of loneliness.

3. Connect with Others:

Social media and online communities can be a great way to connect with people with similar interests. You could join an online forum or group, connect with old friends on social media, or even start a blog to share your experiences.


4. Get a Pet

Pets can be great companions and help reduce feelings of loneliness. They offer unconditional love and can be a great source of comfort. Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter if you cannot have a pet.

7. Reach Out to Friends and Family

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for support. Even if they are not physically close, you can still connect with them through phone calls, video chats, or text messages.


8. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and meet new people. You could volunteer at a local shelter, hospital, or charity.


9. Seek Professional Help

If you are struggling with feelings of loneliness or depression, consider seeking professional help. A therapist or counsellor can help you work through your feelings and develop coping strategies.


10. Practice Self-care

Taking care of yourself is essential for mental and physical well-being. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat well, and engage in activities you enjoy. Practising self-care can help you feel more confident and fulfilled, reducing feelings of loneliness.

“Loneliness can be a challenging emotion to face, but it's important to remember that it's a universal experience,” adds Hewlett.

“It’s okay to feel lonely occasionally, and it doesn’t mean you’re alone forever. In fact, loneliness can be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery. It can inspire you to try new things, connect with new people, and ultimately lead you to a more fulfilling life.” 

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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