Seven Tips To Thinking Your Way Out Of Loneliness


A study released last month suggests the best remedy for alleviating loneliness is changing one’s perception.

While loneliness can affect everyone, singles are particularly susceptible. Typical strategies usually center around improving social skills or increasing social interactions. Other more unhealthy coping behaviors include alcohol or substance abuse, pornography and other distractions.

While deliberate socializing can be beneficial, research shows changing our attitude is more effective.

Cognitive therapy, a well-known and effective treatment for various disorders, emphasizes replacing negative or incorrect thoughts with more rational ones. If one experiences loneliness, the sense of sadness from the longing for intimacy or friendship,
particular negative thoughts often compound the problem to create a snowball effect. (“I am feeling lonely.” “Nobody wants to be around me.” “There must be something wrong with me.” “I am flawed,” etc.)

To stop this cycle in its tracks, I offer some basic cognitive strategies.

When you are feeling lonely:

1) Remind yourself are not alone and that while it isn’t what you ideally want, you are OK being alone. Remember being alone doesn’t have to be awful.

2) If tempted to blame yourself, recognize there are numerous reasons for the situation and counter any self-critical thoughts with positive attributes. (Jot them down if it helps.)

3) When tempted to blame others, again look at all the other factors and avoid unduly attributing your circumstances to specific persons.

4) If tempted, don’t give in to call a friend. Doing so, you miss an opportunity to comes to terms with the loneliness yourself.

5) Avoid bad habits at this time, reminding yourself it only adds to a negative cycle and leads to guilt and shame.

6) Look at the problem squarely, without avoidance or distraction. Briefly counter each negative or exaggerated thought with something more reasonable – and then move on.

7) Take the opportunity to talk with God. Your loneliness can be an invitation to draw to our Lord, who will always cherish your company.



  1. Tracy C. November 20, 2013 Reply

    I wish I had friends to call.

  2. Ajeer-592775 September 30, 2013 Reply

    I agree, thanks Mark.

  3. Cristine-646277 November 4, 2010 Reply

    #7 makes a great point!

  4. Anna-635092 November 4, 2010 Reply

    Dear Mark, Your article was well written & evidenced a great deal of research behind your suggestions and insites. I enjoyed reading it very much. One solution came to mind which (may surprise many) – is to suggest doing volunteer work w/ a local hospital or nursing home. ” It is in giving that we truly receive”. – & “He” speaks to our hearts while we’re helping others. With “His Presence” we cannot be lonely.
    Again, enjoyed your writing. Irishanna.

  5. Matthew-643657 November 2, 2010 Reply

    I have to agree fully with this article. I used much of the same methods while in basic training to stay positive and focused. Being in the service can get lonley but we aren’t really allowed to feel lonely or sorry for ourselves.

    • Fran P. April 1, 2014 Reply

      I can only speak for me and my experiences. The dating sites opened up a new way to meet people. Once I realized that I am going to enjoy the ADNENTURE of finding out who God has waiting for me, it calmed down that lonely feeling and took away that feeling of urgency!!!!
      I enjoy listening to the life stories each person brings, and I grow stronger thru each disappointment. I look at it this way, if I find that love connection, then great!!! In the meantime it doesn’t hurt making new friends. Since I know I am human and I will make decisions that will send me straight to Reconciliation, I praise God Reconciliation exists. I’ve learned how to forgive myself and others so I’m not always walking around feeling guilty. I don’t have too, that’s another reason Reconciliation is so wonderful. Looking for ways to volunteer my time helping others and FORCING MYSELF outside of my comfort zones makes a full day, a full week, and before I know it months have rolled by. God knows who I am looking for, He’s just getting us prepped. And what if I look up and realize I was never meant to have a Mr. Charm in my life??? Look at all the fun and the good people I met. Evangelizing by word and deed all the way.

  6. Brian-278516 November 1, 2010 Reply

    @Carlos The title of the story was “Thinking” Your Way Out Of Loneliness. Just because we are “social” beings does that mean we ALWAYS have to socialize. If you read the lives of the saints you will see alone and contemplative time is held in high regard. As to the marital status of the author, simply because he is married (formerly single) does that on it’s face negate the validity of his advice? Does that mean a former alcoholic can no longer advise alcoholics on getting sober? Should a priest not give advice to a married couple because he himself is not married?

  7. John-629395 November 1, 2010 Reply

    5) Avoid bad habits at this time, reminding yourself it only adds to a negative cycle and leads to guilt and shame.

  8. Lucy-41785 October 31, 2010 Reply

    Excellent article. I think the point of not calling a friend is to work through the loneliness rather than just relying on a friend to get you out of the situation. If you use that crutch, you’ll never understand that you ALONE are valuable and worthy of God’s love.

  9. Vladimir-644188 October 31, 2010 Reply

    I agree with this article, only God can help is the fact!

  10. Candace-587406 October 30, 2010 Reply

    I agree to call on the Lord, but not calling a friend? Hmmm…I don’t know if I agree with that. Friends provide so much social support.

    • Carlos-167015 October 31, 2010 Reply

      I agree with Candance. I felt like a robot reading this article. WE humans are social beings. That would be more suitable for being a hermit for dummies.

      • Carlos-167015 October 31, 2010 Reply

        and also comming from someone who is already married with kids is not very sincere. Of course therapy is good but I’ve found out is a one way thing for the only beneficiary is the therapist in economical terms.

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