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10 Things That Healed My Loneliness — from Someone Who Hated Being Lonely

10 Things That Healed My Loneliness — from Someone Who Hated Being Lonely

Being alone is not the same as being lonely

Being alone is a state of being by oneself without others around. It can actually be a healthy phenomenon, as everyone needs a little time away from others to plan, to think, and to rest.

However, being lonely is a different matter entirely. When people are alone, they don’t always feel lonely. While many people can still feel lonely even if they are surrounded by people. To put it simply, loneliness can be viewed as a signal indicating that some important social connections are at risk or even absent.

Loneliness is both genetic and environmental.

Why do we feel lonely? Perhaps it’s people’s nature. Researchers find that loneliness can be passed down from parent to child. [1] The genetic data collected from twins, relatives, and adopted children proves this trait is a part of their genetic makeup.

Loneliness is not only a nature. Sometimes people feel lonely because they’re affected by others. Loneliness is contagious. People who are not lonely tend to become lonelier if they are around lonely people, according to a research.[2]

Loneliness is closely linked to health problems.

While it’s normal to feel lonely or isolated from time to time, too much loneliness can be unhealthy or even dangerous. Numerous studies have linked with excessive ongoing feelings of loneliness to the following health issues [3]:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Feeling of isolation
  • Brain fog
  • Stress
  • Obsessive behaviors

However, as a matter of fact, loneliness is a condition that can be fought against and overcome.

Here we have 10 things for you to cope with loneliness easily.

1. Take a walk to refresh your mind and body.

Walking has been proven to offer many great health benefits for the body and the mind. Yes, any form of exercise would do as well, but walking is better, as it allows one to explore their town in a way a car ride simply does not provide.

When you decide to walk, even when you are getting to an usual goal, try to take a different route than you usually do. Even better, try to pick a direction at random. Just the feeling of walking down the street, surrounded by traffic and other people, is going to make you feel involved in your own city. At the end, you may discover something new you hadn’t known before!

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2. Join a club and meet people who share your passion too.

Everyone has some passion. Sometimes, sharing your passion with others does not only open you up to more friendship; it may even enhance your talents in surprising ways!

Even the smallest town has some clubs. If you are interested in public service, why don’t you try the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, or the Lions Club? If you like playing chess, join a chess club; playing with others will definitely sharpen your logic skills.

Or you can even explore things which are new to you. Pottery, writing, wine tasting, dancing. These are only a few examples of many.

If there’re no nearby clubs that interest you, start one of your own. Odds are good that if you have an interest, someone else in the area is likely to share it!

3. Heat up a “real” conversation to invite deep friendship.

We are especially prone to loneliness in the modern society. Social media like Facebook, Whatsapp, or Snapchat may allow more convenient communication, but all these ways of communication neglect the importance of face-to-face socialization.

And at the end, despite many “friends” we have on the online media, they don’t really have anyone to talk to when they need friends most.

We prefer online communication to face-to-face conversation because online communication is less committed, if you don’t respond instantly, it’s okay. But face-to-face conversation doesn’t really need to be stressful. When you’re with someone who you can be comfortable with, silence is precious too.

Just try to reconnect with your old friends, grab a coffee and have a chat with them casually. You guys can even talk about all the silly things you did together in the past, and understand how each other’s doing now.

4. Adopt a pet to heal your pain and anxiety.

Having a pet can heal pain or anxiety arising from loneliness.

It does so, as it colors your leisure time. Pets are always there willing to spend time with you. Think of all the strolling, playing, or like me with my dog, sleeping together.

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But beyond just being a loyal companion, a pet is literally a medicine to heal your pain, as science says. As Dr. Becker says,

a pet is like Valium, which reduces anxiety, and “the less anxiety, the less pain”[4].

And a study in Loyola University also proves that people who receive pet therapy recover from surgery with significantly less pain medicine than those who do not.

As the creator of the comic Peanuts, Charles Schulz said, “happiness is a warm puppy”.

If you hope to combat loneliness and embrace happiness, you may consider getting a pet!

5. Offer others a helping hand to realize your own value.

Very often, the root of loneliness is that we don’t feel valued by others. But in fact, self-value is earned.

Audrey Hepburn once said:

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”.

This quote highlights the importance of helping others, and also highlights the fact that most of the time we are the key to many problems we are facing; in other words, you can cure your loneliness.

Giving others a hand will help you realize your value, as you discover you are capable of doing so. And helping others also open up opportunities of deep friendships, as very often, a deep relationship is forged in adversity.

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When we talk about “helping others”, you don’t need to always save others by risking life. You can just pay attention to details.

Write your colleague a card if he or she is unhappy. Read out loud for the old man living next to you. Or help a child to reach the top of a rack.

These are not issues of life or death. But it is in these details that we realize love.

6. Talk to yourself to build a better self-relationship.

When you feel lonely and think you have got no friends to talk to, you yourself is the best person to talk to.

It may sound weird and insane but it works. You can simply talk to yourself in your mind or pick up a pen and write yourself a letter. Treat yourself as a friend of yours. Tell about your day and talk about your feeling. You can share crazy ideas with yourself without worrying what others think. This serves as an opportunity  to build a better relationship with yourself.

In life, there are many people around you. They come and go. Only very few of them stay till the end. So the most important relationship in life is the self-relationship. You will be clearer of how you feel and what you think after a genuine conversation with yourself.

7. Do something random to experience new excitement.

Loneliness is sometimes accompanied with boredom. Some spontaneous randomness would drive away your sadness.

It can be small things like taking a different route to work, hopping on a random bus to go to the other side of the city where you have never been to, or traveling to a foreign country to get lost in translation.

Such randomness brings you excitement when you’re discovering something new. When you take a different route to work, you barely know what you will see and who you will meet at the next street corner. Every minute is new to you. It’s like an adventure.

8. Strike up conversation with strangers to feel connected.

What is the best thing about strangers? They don’t know you and they don’t judge you. Even if they judge you, you needn’t feel bad as you won’t see them ever again!

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Strangers are everywhere. You can simply strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or the person who shares a table with you at a diner. There are also many ways for you to meet people online through apps and websites.

Talking to someone makes you feel connected, even if the connection only lasts for a while. But when the connection is lost, you won’t feel that bad because from the very beginning you have already known that this won’t last long.

9. Stay away from people who are not sympathetic.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but somehow staying with toxic people who don’t show sympathy for others may make you even lonelier.

A fruitful relationship is supposed to make you feel contented. However, being with someone who is unable to understand you, it is hard to feel happy. You may even feel lonelier if that person is a narcissist who constantly undermines your self-respect.

Consider walking away from anyone who doesn’t make you feel happy, or make you feel even lonelier.

What nourishes our life is meaningful relationships, not destructive ones. If you find someone who is deepening your loneliness, let go of them.

10. If your loneliness is continuously stressing you, seek professional medical help.

Persistent loneliness is an indicator of depression. In case of depression, professional medication is necessary.

Counselling is helpful. A few sessions with a trained psychologist are going to help you pinpoint what triggers your loneliness. A trained psychologist is able to help you with professional strategies.

Please remember seeking help is not a weakness; quite the contrary, seeking help takes a lot more strength than pretending everything is fine.

Be brave to tackle the problem. And we believe you will eventually get the taste of happiness in life.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

J.S. Wayne

J.S. Wayne is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle inspirations and tips on Lifehack.

7 Ways To Stop Being Lazy And Start Getting Things Done 20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You 25 Things to Sell to Make Extra Money Easily 10 Things That Healed My Loneliness — from Someone Who Hated Being Lonely 7 Reasons Why You Need To Let Go of A Toxic Relationship

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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