Loneliness can creep up on the best of us from time to time. Is loneliness a challenge in your life? If so, it’s good to know that, with the right mindset and the drive to change, you can combat loneliness in any situation.

It’s okay to feel lonely. Sometimes it just happens. However, you have the power to decide whether you want to wallow in it or meet it head on. When you take decisive action to overcome your loneliness, you can have a smile back on your face in no time.

Here are some helpful strategies to beat loneliness:

1. Avoid sitting around fretting. When you think about it, getting upset isn’t going to help you, so why do it? If you’re not actively looking for something to fill your time, you’ll find that loneliness catches up with you eventually. Even if you don’t have the company of others, you can seek out ways to use your time in fun and productive ways.

2. Engage in a new hobby. If you’ve turned to your current hobbies and are still feeling lonely or bored, try to find something new and exciting. Explore a new hobby that you’ve always been meaning to try but haven’t had the time.

3. Take a class. Taking a class is a good way to come into contact with others who have the same interests as you. So you get double benefits – you learn something new about a subject that interests you and meet new people you have something in common with as well.

4. Volunteer to help others. When you’re feeling lonely, helping others can be a win-win situation. With volunteer activities, you do something great for the world and get some healthy human interaction in the process.

5. Get a dog. Dogs are natural friend-finders. If you have a dog, take your dog out for frequent walks in your neighborhood, local dog park, or dog beach. If you don’t have a dog, consider getting one. Dogs help you break the ice with other dog-lovers.

* There are many online groups of dog owners. Find one of these communities and get involved.

6. Go to church or other spiritual places. You’ll likely find likeminded people at your place of prayer or worship. You may even start up a new relationship with a potential lifelong friend.

7. Talk to strangers. Engage in some light chatter with strangers in public situations. For example, you can strike up a lively conversation while waiting in the grocery store line. Every person in that line is most likely as bored as you are. Pass the time together and you might even start a new friendship.

8. Call a friend. Look up a friend or family member that you haven’t talked to in awhile and catch up with each other while reminiscing about old times. By the end of your conversation, a happy and nostalgic mood might have replaced the lonely one you were in before.

9. Start a social group. You can start a social group around a topic that you enjoy. If you’re a stay at home mom, maybe you’ll want to connect with other moms. If you’re really into amateur guitar playing, maybe you’ll want to meet up and jam with some people. Explore different ways to socialize online or put up flyers at local hangout spots.

You’ll find that with the right attitude and some action, you don’t have to sit at home with your loneliness any longer. Use these techniques to meet new friends and enjoy exciting new experiences!