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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
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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.

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Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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