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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 December 2, 2018

        How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

        How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

        Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

        The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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        The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

        Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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        Review Your Past Flow

        Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

        Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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        Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

        Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

        Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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        Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

        Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

        We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

        Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

          Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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