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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

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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