You might experience loneliness as a kind of hollowness or emptiness, a vague feeling that something is not right. Or you might feel loneliness as an intense isolation, a feeling of being cut off from those you normally have contact with. Being at Loyola, you might find yourself struggling to find people who have similar values, traditions, or backgrounds, or feeling accepted for who you are. Loneliness might be due to missing someone, because they have died or are so far away, or because a relationship has ended. Or it might reflect your being physically isolated from people—like if you have moved or are living alone off campus, or in a residence hall far from friends. You might even feel lonely when you are surrounded by people but are having difficulty connecting to them.
Being physically alone is not the only reason people feel lonely. There are times when we choose to be alone, or must be alone and are okay with it. Of course, all of us feel lonely some of the time. It is only when we feel trapped in our loneliness that it becomes a real problem.
Ways to Change Feelings of Loneliness
- Recognize and acknowledge the lonely feelings. Sometimes admitting that we’re lonely is difficult, but it is the first step in addressing these feelings.
- Express your feelings of loneliness in some way. This might be through journaling, talking to a friend or relative, or using art or music to express yourself.
- Examine where these feelings might be coming from. Has something happened that’s caused you to feel lonelier (coming to college for the first time, breaking up with a partner, moving in with a new group of people)? Are you going through personal changes that are causing you to feel less connected (getting in touch with different parts of your identity, going through family turmoil, experiencing a trauma)?
- Become more active. Connect with family, friends, a spiritual guide, teacher, or counselor. Talk with someone about what’s going on.
- Get involved in activities or clubs. This may help you take your mind off feeling lonely and change your mood. It can also give you opportunities to meet people with similar interests.