Loneliness is a prevalent human emotion that is unique and complex for each person who experiences it. Not just being physically alone, loneliness is a state of mind that causes an individual to feel alone, unwanted or empty even if there are others around them.
While caregivers and people living with a long-term illness as well as aging seniors are especially susceptible to feelings of isolation and loneliness, anyone at any age can experience loneliness.
A national day to “Cheer Up The Lonely” was created (July 11th), but we don’t need a national day to offer cheer and comfort to anyone feeling lonely. In fact, as per the Golden Rule, we should aim to bring smiles and encouragement each day to those within our influence.
Here are 8 simple ways that we can help bring joy to a person who is lonely.
1. Make the effort for a personal visit
More than just a text or phone call, face-to-face human contact is the best cure for loneliness. Nothing can replace actual eye contact, offering a hug, listening and responding to another human being to ease feelings of loneliness.
Ideas for personal visits include:
- Stop by with some flowers or a treat.
- Be ready to chat and listen.
- Spend time doing something enjoyable together like working on a puzzle or playing a game.
Short visits can have big impacts. The effects of a simple smile can boost a person’s spirit.
2. Bring a pet or child to visit
Animals and children can be great sources of joy to a lot of people, and they serve as a natural focus for a visit. Interacting with a cute fur baby helps individuals relax and can be a great source of cheerfulness to someone who is lonely. Smaller children are usually delighted to have a fresh audience for nearly anything. Older kids typically have fun interests to talk about. Either way, young people have energy that can be joyfully contagious.
3. Have a meal together
Sharing a meal is a natural way to give a lonely soul a delightful boost. Researchers have discovered that the more often people eat with others, the higher their chances are to feel happy and content with their lives. Bring a lunch to a person who is home-bound or invite a lonely neighbor over for to share a treat or coffee.
4. Send a small gift or card
A handwritten note or cheery greeting card lets a person know that you care. Create a genuine connection by including personal details in your note. Including pictures or a small souvenirs can also bring a smile.
5. Call on the phone
When visiting in person isn’t doable, a phone call also works. Be ready with questions about their day and be prepared to listen without distractions. An enjoyable phone conversation can make someone’s day!
6. Take them out
Getting outside for a walk, drive or picnic, especially on a sunny day can boost serotonin and impact our moods. It can even improve sleeping patterns. It is great therapy to be outside. Plan something fun and take your loved one on an adventure, even if it’s just a walk around a park.
7. Give a hug
Nothing beats physical contact and we all need it. You may not even know that giving five individuals a hug each day can lower your own stress level by 25%. Offer a sincere hug and don’t let go until they do. 🙂
8. Send a text or message
If there is no time for anything else, a text message to let someone know you are thinking about them is a thoughtful gesture. Send them a quote, picture, or quick video message to brighten their day. It truly is the thought that counts.