Everyone feels lonely from time to time. It’s a normal part of the human experience. But some people are more vulnerable to slipping from loneliness into depression. Or there can be hard times in your life when feeling lonely is only one step away from isolation and depression.
People who are at risk of depression typically feel isolated and lonely; they have low self-esteem that can easily tip into more extreme feelings of self-blame and guilt, even self-disgust. And these negative thought patterns can lead to full-blown depression. If you’re having bad feelings about yourself, feeling lonely and worthless, here are some things you can do to head off the risk of depression.
1. Boost Your Social Support Network
Isolation increases the tendency to self-blame. Connection and social contact can go a long way to helping you alleviate your loneliness and get a different perspective on the world. Reach out to friends, colleagues, and family to increase the positive connections in your life.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness helps you deal with what is in front of you right now. Developing a mindfulness practice can help you accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Simply by observing what is happening around you, focusing on what you can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste will help you break out of your negative thought patterns.
3. Practice Self-compassion
People who are caught up in feelings of negative self-worth are often extremely hard on themselves. Allow yourself a little imperfection. Be kind and change that internal monologue to one less punitive.
4. Change Your Self-talk
Have a look at your internal soundtrack. Are you full of self-recrimination? Do you magnify your flaws and faults? Now, would you talk to a friend like that? Rewrite that script into something more positive and self-affirming. If that is too hard to think about right now, try some of the books, apps, or websites that offer affirmations.
5. Use Emotional Reappraisal to Boost Your Self-esteem
With a little practice, you can learn techniques to regulate your feelings and turn your self-esteem around. Depression often manifests in ruminating on the negatives in your life. You can use this focus to your advantage when you practice reappraisal.
Reappraisal is a cognitive-behavioural technique that allows you to reframe negative thoughts, flipping them to a more positive view. Instead of feeling paralyzed and crushed by life, you can take back control and develop more resilience.