One of the most unexpected findings was that young people felt much lonelier than the older generation, with 40% 16-24 year olds saying that they were lonely, compared with just 27% of those aged over 75.
Loneliness affects people of all ages though – 33% of those who completed the survey said that they were lonely.
Are you lonely? Take our loneliness personality test to find out how lonely you really are
9 ways to to cope with loneliness
Find out how to deal with loneliness and connect with others.
Make new connections
If you’re not getting enough contact with other people, it might be a good idea to make some new friends or find new ways to meet people. Why not join an evening class, start volunteering or find a new community to join online.
Tell your friends and family how you’re feeling
It can be hard to admit that you’re lonely, but once you open up you’ll start to receive the support you need – and you’ll find that many of them feel the same!
Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much at once – take small steps. Start by meeting one or two people in a relaxed location and go from there.
If you’re trying a new class or workshop, why not ask a friend to accompany you to the first one? That way, you won’t need to worry about not knowing anyone there and it’ll take some of the stress out of the situation.
Social media can skew how you see others – it might look as though all of your friends are living it up, but are they really? You’re only seeing the image that they want you to see.
Check your health
Sometimes you need to check in and think about how you’re doing – both physically and mentally. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you feeling stressed? Are you eating properly? Addressing these issues can have a real impact on your sense of wellbeing.
Make a plan
Keep a diary and make a note of times when you feel particularly lonely, then try to plan something to do in advance. Arrange to see your family, go for a walk or catch up with a friend on the phone. If you’re not able to see anyone, catch up on Skype or find an activity to keep your mind busy, such as painting or crafting.
Loneliness can make you feel as though you’re missing out on life, so treating yourself kindly becomes increasingly important. Go to the cinema, make yourself a nice meal (or eat out!), or start going to a yoga session.
Visualise your plan
Imagining yourself going out and enjoying it can help you to make it a reality. If you’re feeling nervous, simply picture yourself going to an event, having a good time and striking up a conversation with a new friend. Visualisation can empower you to actually go out and do something.
Ok, so this one isn’t strictly about loneliness, but it is a great read! Eleanor Oliphant knows how to survive on her own, but not how to live. She struggles to navigate a world that she often finds confusing, but life has a way of sneaking up on you. Author Gail Honeyman was inspired to write this book after she read a news story about a young person who could go for days without speaking to anyone.
If you’d like a better understanding of the science and psychology of loneliness, then this is the book for you. This is more of a social psychology tome than a self-help book, but it will certainly help you see loneliness in a new light.