We all experience moments of loneliness throughout our lives, whether it be after a loved one has passed or if it's a struggle to catch up with friends and family.
But sometimes loneliness can stem from psychological conditions such as social anxiety and depression.
"Loneliness doesn't only affect people who don't have others in their life," says psychologist Angus Munro. "You can be in a stable relationship and interact with lots of people you know and still feel lonely."
Here are some practical ways to combat the cloud…
The most important tool is to feel more comfortable alone.
"Often when loneliness is acute, we're craving validation from others because we can't give it to ourselves," says Angus. "Our own self-criticism may mean our only emotional security is from others. Be more self-compassionate. Treat yourself like someone you deeply care about."
Have a look at your social media contacts and ask yourself what percentage of those you've had a one-on-one conversation with, either in person or on the phone, in the past year.
"You might find it a shockingly low percentage," says Angus.
"Optimise this. Start small. Contact people you like but haven't spoken to for a while. Say you're checking in and ask them a question or two to keep the interaction going.
"If you get a positive response, reply saying it'd be great to catch up and ask how they're placed in the near future."
WATCH BELOW: How to stay mindful in a social media obsessed world. Post continues after video...
Feeling a bit rusty about connecting?
"Assume the person you're talking to likes you," says Angus. "You might be surprised how this simple idea can boost your confidence. Also, ask questions to reduce your nervousness. Look for little details in what they say to see what you're interested in knowing."
Everyone knows something interesting that you don't, so draw it out of them – they'll enjoy it, too!
If your loneliness is caused by the lack of a social circle, have a look at community activity websites like meetup.com or even Facebook groups.
"Wherever you live, you'll find a group of people who share your interests," Angus insists.
"This can be a low-pressure way to explore connecting with others. Whether you like stamp collecting or naked yoga, you'll find a group that fits you!"
Starting a new habit is hard, but once you get the ball rolling, it will soon become second nature.
"Start small," Angus advises. "Share lunch with a co-worker or drop in to see a family member.
Once you have been picking 'long-hanging fruit' for a while, expand your horizons.
This can help you develop confidence so your loneliness slowly shifts over time."
Make your insides work double-time with these tips from naturopath Jennifer Ward.
1. Join the matcha mission
A study found green tea extract increases the metabolism by four per cent over 24 hours and burns more calories.
Matcha is a highly concentrated green tea – drink a cup before exercising to increase metabolic effect.
2. Hit the gym
High-intensity interval training strengthens muscles and spikes heart rate.
Both are important in boosting metabolism, and 10 minutes daily is enough to have an effect.
Can't get to the gym? Set up a yoga mat in your living room and look up some at-home workouts on YouTube!
3. Boost with blueberries
Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, an insulin-balancing, metabolism-speeding antioxidant.
They're best eaten first thing in the morning with kefir or yoghurt to improve absorption.
4. Track your thyroid
It is not uncommon for women over 45 to have sluggish thyroids, which can drain metabolism.
By having your thyroid checked every 12 months, you'll discover if thyroid problems are to blame for your slow metabolism.
5. Supplement with shatavari
Menopause brings a decline in circulating oestrogens, which decreases metabolism.
Ramp up your metabolism with shatavari tea for a natural oestrogen boost.
Just be sure to see a health professional before using herbal or nutritional medicine supplements.