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How to Overcome Loneliness As a Single Woman

by Dawn Williams

Whether alone by choice or circumstance, everyone experiences periods of loneliness. Hara Estroff Marano, writing for Psychology Today, said loneliness and solitude are both perspectives of the same state of being. Where loneliness is a negative state characterized by a sense of isolation, solitude is the antipodal condition. In solitude, we experience a sense of fullness and satisfaction with our own company. To overcome loneliness as a single woman, you must first develop an appreciation for your own company.

Change your attitude. Consider your attitude toward being alone. "Aloneness is the same whether we are lonely or enjoying solitude," said life coach Jackie Black, Ph.D. Feeling lonely stems from a belief that no one wants to be with us. Black said solitude can be enriching and refreshing. Choose to make the time spent alone a refuge in which you can explore your interests, connect with your deeper thoughts and feelings and experience a sense of inner fullness.

Challenge yourself. Motivational writer Scott H. Young recommends using your time alone to challenge yourself. Start new projects when you anticipate having extended periods of time alone so your time is productive and rewarding. Experiment with new recipes, read or explore a latent area of interest. Keeping your mind engaged will help you experience the fullness of solitude, rather than the emptiness of loneliness.

Build a social network. Humans are social creatures. We need connection with others in order to thrive emotionally. Attend lectures or community gatherings that center around your interests. Start conversations with other attendees as a way to build friendships with like-minded people. Join a religious group or volunteer to help a cause about which you feel strongly. Find classes or clubs in which people engage in activities you enjoy. Most important is that you spend time doing things you enjoy while developing interpersonal connections.

Avoid negative thinking. Psychologist Aaron Beck's findings on the relationship between negative thought patterns and emotions led to the development of cognitive therapy, now considered one of the most effective treatments available for depression. Avoid thought patterns that show negative bias ("I'm lonely because I'm unlikable"), that over-generalize ('I'm lonely without a partner, therefore my whole life is miserable') or that exaggerate ("I'm lonely now, therefore I will always be lonely"). Instead, accept the fact that you feel lonely in this moment, that you will not always feel like this, and that there are steps you can take to change it.

Be happy with or without a partner. Even in long-term relationships, everyone endures periods of loneliness. It is the right and responsibility of each person to create their own happiness, according to Tom G. Stevens, Ph.D. Happiness is a choice, he said, that is grounded in an individual's decision not to be controlled by external sources. Total immersion in your own life, whether or not you choose to share that life with another, leads to meaning, fulfillment and harmony for yourself and in all your interactions with others.

Items you will need
  • Materials used in your preferred hobbies
  • List of local activities

Tip

  • Use social networking sites on the Internet to find like-minded groups and individuals in your area.

Warning

  • Loneliness is sometimes a symptom of depression. Consult a mental health professional is you are unable to improve your mood on your own.

About the Author

Writing since 1981, Dawn Williams is managing editor and columnist for "Chicagoland Senior News." Her work has appeared in the "Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine," "Country Sampler," "Your Next Step Magazine," "Life Newspapers," the "Kane County Chronicle," and websites focusing on health and fitness, parenting and senior issues.