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You’re Not Alone! Here’s How to Deal with Loneliness After 50

By Margaret Manning October 30, 2015 Health and Fitness

There’s a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Being alone is something we have all experienced in our lives, sometimes by choice, sometimes as the result of circumstances beyond our control. “Being lonely” involves how we interpret our situation.

How to Deal with Loneliness in Your 50s and Beyond

Unfortunately, as our social circumstances shift, more and more baby boomers are finding themselves slipping away from “being alone” and towards “being lonely.”

If left unchecked, our feelings of loneliness can have an impact on every aspect of our life and may even lead to depression. So, if you are feeling lonely, it’s important to take positive steps as soon as possible.

Here are a few suggestions for where to get started.

Start by Understanding Yourself

The first step is to understand what is contributing to your loneliness. Are there certain “triggers” that bring on feelings of loneliness and isolation?

Are you influenced by a somber anniversary? Do you feel worse when the weather is bad? Do you feel trapped in your house? Do you feel anxious when reaching out to others? No two people experience loneliness the same way and before you look for solutions, you need to understand the problem.

In my interview with Susan Piver, we talked about the fact that lasting happiness requires both happy and sad days. I encourage you to watch this video and see if any of the recommendations that Susan makes help you to get closer to your true self.

Get Out and Explore, Even if You Do It Alone

Another way to deal with loneliness and depression is to get out into the world. Even the simple act of going to the grocery store can help you to feel more connected.


Do something simple. Take a walk around the city. Ride the bus to a nearby city. Sit at a café and people-watch. Whatever you do, do something!


Physical activity of any kind will stimulate your brain and body to produce feel-good hormones. You don’t have to join a gym to get healthy. Why not try walking every morning, riding your bike around the park, learning Tai Chi or trying belly dancing?

Don’t stress if it takes a while to see a positive change in your mindset. Remember that small changes add up over time.

How to Deal with Loneliness - Get Out and Explore, Even if You Do It Alone

Focus on Being the Best Person You Can Be

I once read a sign that said, “Don’t be afraid of getting older – be afraid of getting boring!”

Feelings of loneliness often emerge when we lack direction in our lives. So instead of looking at loneliness as a limitation, why not look at it as an opportunity to do anything your heart desires?

Try something new – take a class, learn to play an instrument or take up a new hobby. Do something that challenges and fascinates you. If you learn to find yourself interesting, others will too.

If you doubt that you are an interesting person, start writing your life story. You will quickly discover that you have already lived a fascinating life – and it’s only getting started.

Invest in Your Social Connections, but, Take it Easy on Yourself

Experiencing loneliness after 50 can be a bit overwhelming. When you are feeling a little blue, you may even feel like withdrawing from the world, which only makes things worse.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a friend. Share your thoughts and feelings with someone. You will almost certainly find that your fears of rejection were overblown.

If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to anyone in your current social circle, why not try an online friend-finding service, like Meetup?

Invest in Your Health

As in medicine, one of the most important rules when dealing with loneliness is to “first do no harm.” Many people feel that, by the time they reach their 50s, “the damage has been done.” As a result, they continue to smoke, drink too much and live a sedentary existence. I don’t need to tell you that this is an awful idea. The truth is that there are plenty of bad habits that are still worth kicking in your 50s or older.

Investing in your health is one of the best ways to counter loneliness at any age – and this is especially true for people in their 50s and 60s. Your first order of business should be to address your bad habits. As you do this, you will find that you have more energy to get out into the world.

Then, as your energy increases, look for small ways to get in better shape. Set yourself an egg-timer to remember to get up and stretch every hour. Make walking a daily ritual. Start shopping from a local farmer’s market, or, start growing your own food. As you improve your body, you will heal your mind.

How to Deal with Loneliness - Invest in Your Health

Focus on What You Can Control

Loneliness is often made worse by feelings of helplessness. When we feel out of control, we lack the energy to make positive changes in our lives.

One of the most powerful techniques that you can use to get on the road to positivity is to increase your sense of control over the small things in your life. Instead of focusing on lofty goals like “I’m going to lose 20 pounds by summer,” or “I’m going to get out there and make new friends,” focus on small accomplishments.

Want a place to get started? Find out how the “1-minute technique” can help you to achieve anything in just 60 seconds a day.

Loneliness is a complex problem. Fortunately, some of the best ways to deal with it are simple. Start by identifying your loneliness triggers. Follow your passions and get out into the world. Focus on what you can control.


Most of all, remember that you are an amazing person. You deserve all the happiness in the world.


How do you deal with your feelings of loneliness in a positive way? Are there any pleasant rituals or small tasks that help to keep you happy? What advice would you give to a friend who is struggling with loneliness? Please join the conversation.

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Discouraged lonely I feel like giving up

If you truly want to help someone not be lonely you know maybe give ideas on things that a person can do not be lonely because I’ve tried all of everything you’ve said in this article and none of it has worked none of it

Discouraged lonely I feel like giving up

I was married for 30 years and I got two grandkids that I don’t get to see often one doesn’t even talk to me they were stupid stuff after my marriage broke up I ended up in another relationship with a guy that I fell head over heels in love with and he did me too and one day he up and left me for another woman same as my husband did can I tell you between the last guy I was with for six and a half years and my husband I’m 30 they took all all the friends that I had with them the ones I didn’t give up for the second guy the rest of them went with him and most of my friends went with my husband or neither one you know what my mom recently died I live in a camper with a dog not because I want to but because I was forced to be homeless due to the two relationships the two men I love my entire life from the time I was 15 two relationships I put all my trust and faith in the both of these men in the second one he was like a dream come true all the way up until he left me I ended up homeless I ended up in a camper in my dad’s front yard and I work but I can’t seem to get out of this camper no matter what I do can’t be a girl I’m 50 I feel like I’m old I’m lonely my family they look at me like I’m crazy because of it I think they look down on me I can’t make any friends because who wants to come and be friends with somebody that lives in this little tiny camper with a dog I can’t date because I can’t be a girl I can’t for doesn’t even have a bathroom I have to go to the planet fitness to shower and all that you know this article that sounds really good to read and if it was only that easy but it’s not that easy I had a very vibrant life when I was married I had friends I had family I’m the one who had all the family get togethers every year and then when that broke up things change and then when I got with the last guy I was with it was like his family and friends accepted me and things changed and I was finally felt like I fit in and I don’t know where when he left me he left me with nothing you know what alone in this camper with promises of being with him but no it didn’t work out like that I go to work I try to put myself out there but it’s hard to fix my hair and put makeup on and take time to go exercise and make friends and I’m not the most social butterfly anyway this articles of wonderful article if you believe that life is that easy but it’s not I’m so lonely I can’t stand it I don’t want it to be this way but I don’t go to bars I don’t drink it sure you do things that your heart desire I never had a chance to find out what kind of things my heart desired I was too busy being married and raising kids and when I started learning what my heart desire in the six and a half years with the last guy when he left me it was like everything left I have no idea how to even find myself I’m 50 when I was younger I was beautiful but I’m 50 the heads don’t turn the way they used to not that I wouldn’t love for them to do but I don’t think I’m ugly but I’m certainly not as beautiful as I was when I was 29 or 35 I don’t feel beautiful since I’ve been left by two men for other women it’s crazy cuz I never thought I had a problem until this last guy left me and then I realized I really do have a problem I can’t even get a guy to ask me out on a date sure I have been proposition me for sex all the time but I don’t want just sex I’m not saying I want a relationship either I just don’t want to be alone all the time I want to feel attractive I want to feel like somebody see something more and mean than just sex or they don’t look down on me or somebody wants to actually pull into the driveway and knock on my door because they want to visit with me or my phone rings because someone actually wants to talk to me I can get out in the world and I do get out in the world every day but it doesn’t change anything so whoever wrote this article you’re just saying it as I’m sure you’ve learned in books this and that research or whatever you don’t know unless you’ve lived it one day I was young and beautiful and had a life the next day I’m 50 years old and I’m getting older and I have nobody my own children don’t even come around no grandchildren no friends nothing you don’t know what lonely is unless you live it and to change it when you don’t know how when you don’t drink when you don’t you know do all that other stuff go to bars it makes a difference I’m not afraid to try new things I do that all the time but it doesn’t change the fact that I go home alone I am alone people thank God strange I guess or maybe I’m just old and not as attractive I don’t know but it’s not like it was 20 years ago when I had people revolving through my life daily now the most socialization I get are the people I work with and that’s not friendships that are acquaintances that I work with you don’t know what loneliness is unless you live it and it’s not as easy to get out of as articles make it sound cuz I’ve been trying to find a way to not be lonely for a long time now and nothing has helped

qwerty

I have no friends to call. That is the problem.

When I try to meet friends and they find out I have none, they leave. It takes friends to make friends.

That is what gets me about these articles. You assume loneliness is temporary. You think you are helping but you are causing harm.

James

I have friends but as a male I am reluctant to share how I feel with my male friends. I just spent a week with my buddies and it was great. We were at my friends hunting camp and it’s so quiet and dark at night. It’s peaceful and relaxing. Now that I’m home I feel all alone. I’m self employed and really should go do some work. Lacking motivation comes with the loneliness.

Discouraged lonely I feel like giving up

I feel you on that one day you have them they’re everywhere then you turn around and it’s like there’s none and when you do think you make one you find out they’re not really so much a friend so I feel you I’m alone all the time too this has been the hardest transition in my life the longest time I’ve been alone longest time I’ve been single and the longest time I haven’t had sex all of it together just makes it miserable so I understand

Mr alone

says it all that whoever wrote this post hasn’t a clue “get out and explore even if it’s on your own” if I had someone to go and explore with I wouldn’t be alone

Suzanne

Yes I found this article fairly useless as well. Call a friend when I’m lonely? If I had friends who understood loneliness or who were available to socialize I wouldn’t be lonely.

Marci

Very true ☺️

Alex

I think shyness can be a problem especially if your family have died. My family are all dead. It is hard to just get out. I suppose I feel ashamed that I am lonely when I see others with partners and children. I have a dog who gets me out,but other than that,I am often alone. Have joined some classes in the past,but most folk went home afterwards. It is hard to make friends although I am a friendly person.

Last edited 3 months ago by Alex
Samantha

I’m so sorry to hear this. I am in Plymouth and desperately lonely at 56, even though I am young creative & fun I am becoming desperately depressed and long for company especially in the evenings.
If your in Plymouth let me know or get in touch.
Sammy
We all deserve a hug & not to be in pain with lonliness x

Dax

Hello…. Long time listener first time buyer.. I start like that tell myself a joke. Or something funny that you know at least I can get a smirk out of myself. I know this tall dark demon loneliness I visit his neighbor named depression. So… As I was perusing through a dab in the loneliness myself as I came home I wanted to see what people were talking about this evening… It really is a tough one it’s a battle some days you win some days you lose and you focus on it too much you just focus on it too much you know and nothing else is accomplished in a day two three can go away see that’s where he’s turned to dabble into the depression so I think it’s awesome to see you guys are talking to each other for us it’s not like I’m a different person but like I said long time stalker first time contributor LOL.. maybe that’s the problem here I tend to take the long way around the barn so I’m going to get to the point it starts with the breath hold on I need to notify you all that I am a professional at this shadow I’m just going to use that that’s a nice umbrella term it’s not threatening. Loneliness is threatening because you get too used to it you wind up in depression. And there’s something about depression that’s addictive once you’ve had that too long so it’s really really it’s great that you’re staying in the shallow end of the pool and working your way out so you can get in the jacuzzi. That’s a good call I’m seeing some progress in my own battle if I change my verbiage. And you know you do what you can do but if you can listen to yourself speak and say alone not lonely change your verbage to start that simple hell talk to yourself there’s nobody around that’s going to ease drop your alone so make a game of it. I once went four days not using my voice. And then some poor soul came to the door to make it delivery and you know the Walmart Walmart Walmart… I’m fairly certain I scared the crap can I say that? Out of that poor guy. I know I scared myself. And so I started a conversation with me myself and I. So there’s three of us we came to an agreement that those pronouns are achievable and since it’s done mostly alone you’re not embarrassing yourself too much unless there’s like a camera catch but you know mind your own business people I’m not yeah I’m not saying they’re really like conversations it’s a title and given talking to myself crazy people talk to themselves.. yeah that’s a sensitive word for people but you know what you get creative with it and it’s just another word for not boring. Entertain yourself. Laugh at yourself. And above all else if you only get one thing right love yourself just a little bit more everyday. The easy ones brush your teeth and change your verbage when where did the time and build upon that okay well that’s my two cents if I had two cents you you’d get my shiny pennies. That was fun I’m going to listen some more now thank you let me for letting me play you’re all too kind..p not talk amongst yourselves I got to go do some dishes well yeah we have to me myself and I cuz you’re all there there’s not like one pronoun better than another okay there is a debate we’ll do that we’ll cover that on Monday next week okay pencils down papers that make sure your names on the top of the paper. Indeed

The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at margaret@sixtyandme.com

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