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5 Reasons Why “Lonely” Seems To Be The Hardest Word (And Why We Should Be Saying It)

5 Reasons Why “Lonely” Seems To Be The Hardest Word (And Why We Should Be Saying It)

We’ve all felt it. That empty feeling in your stomach. The thought of hours or days ahead of you with no company but yourself. That restless feeling, like you’re in a little bubble that you’re afraid might implode at any minute. You may even have felt it when you’re surrounded by people. No matter how hard we try and fight it, we all feel alone sometimes. So why do we find that so hard to admit to each other? Even to ourselves?

The answer is important. Loneliness has been shown to be very significant in the deterioration of our physical and mental health, and it can have a huge impact on lifespan. In short, being lonely for extended periods of time does no good for you or for society as a whole. So let’s bust some loneliness myths right now. After all, no man (or woman) is an island!

1. We think it shows weakness (but it doesn’t)

This is one of the biggest reasons we suffer in silence from depression, from loneliness, from anything that life throws at us that we “should” be able to handle. We seem to have a need to soldier on through feeling low, and a lot of us would rather carry on in silent misery than face the shame of admitting it to another person.

The fact is you don’t need a right to feel lonely. It can happen at any time in your life. Whether you’re young, old, whether you’ve just had a child or whether you’re at college surrounded by people, you can still feel alone. To admit it can make you feel weak and unworthy at the time, but the truth is it will actually make you stronger. Admitting that you’re going through a tough time is a strength, not a weakness.

2. We don’t want to burden others (but we won’t)

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    Photo credit: Loneliness via photopin (license)

    When we’re feeling lonely, we assume that everyone else has more exciting stuff going on in their lives than us. Whether this is true or not, we convince ourselves that we shouldn’t hassle them. The last thing we want is for people to spend time with us out of pity. So instead of reaching out and asking someone over for dinner or a glass of wine, we hide behind pride and make ourselves lonelier.

    But hang on one second — if you think about it, how many times when a friend has called us have we thought “oh no not them again?” Most of the time, we are delighted to hear from that person because we’re feeling the same way ourselves.

    It’s easy to assume other people have these exciting lives and are too busy for us. Most of the time, it’s just not the case.

    Having said that…

    3. We’re living busy lives (so slow down)

    In our fast-paced society, it can be easy to be lonely even when you’re surrounded by people. Yes, it’s true that you are working with people all day, but how often in your day do you make meaningful connections? How many times do you open up about yourself to another person rather than letting them just see the surface version of you?

    Going through the motions and hiding behind a mask can make you feel like a living ghost. Not taking the time to really listen or contemplate conversations and the people around you is equal to walking around in a bubble. No wonder you’re feeling lonely. Slow down and take the time to listen and connect with people. It will make the world of a difference.

    4. We live on our keypads (so give someone a call!)

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      Photo credit: Communication Centre via photopin (license)

      With all the technology at our fingertips, it can be easy to rely on our phones and laptops as the sole form of communication with our friends and family. After all, it’s easier to send a quick Whatsapp or update our Facebook status than it is to pick up the phone and call someone. But in keeping everything digital, we are losing out on a vital part of human connection. Being able to hear someone’s voice and reactions or see them in person goes a long way to helping you feel less lonely. It reminds us that someone cares about us and wants to know how our day has been. It allows us to feel connected to another human in a much more natural way than looking at words on a screen.

      5. We are scared of it (but it shows we’re human)

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        Photo credit: Christophe Leung via Flickr

        The biggest reason we don’t want to tell anyone we’re lonely is because we don’t want to admit it to ourselves. Sometimes, it’s easier to mask it by being really busy, and then when we are alone finding any distraction we can — movies/the internet/drinking. The thing about that is it will always catch up with you eventually. It is far more helpful to admit it to yourself — “Oh hey, yep, I think I’m lonely.” — and work out how you’re going to deal with it.

        How to deal with loneliness

        Step 1: Just accepting it is a big step. It’s okay to be lonely. We’re human and we all get lonely sometimes.

        Step 2: Know that it will pass. Although it may feel like it, you won’t be lonely for the rest of your life. Feelings come and go, like people, and sometimes loneliness is a natural emotion signaling that you need to change something to move onto the next stage.

        Step 3: Do something about it. Even if it’s something small like making a dinner date with a friend or joining a local club. Doing something about it will make you feel more positive and in control of the situation. Remember that there are millions of other humans out there that want to make connections too. This proves that you should never feel ashamed to feel lonely.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via hd.unsplash.com

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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