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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

Feeling All By Yourself? 20 Ways to Deal With Loneliness

Feeling All By Yourself? 20 Ways to Deal With Loneliness

Loneliness kills—literally. The Health Resources and Services Administration confirms that “loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking.”[1] Moreover, mortality and risk factors for loneliness are inextricably linked, which makes loneliness even more challenging for those at risk.

Living alone, being unmarried (single, divorced, widowed), lack of participation in social groups, fewer friends, and strained relationships are not only all risk factors for premature mortality, but they also increase the risk for loneliness.[2] However, there are ways on how you can deal with loneliness.

As a single person living alone and working from home, I’ve certainly experienced bouts of loneliness, particularly in light of the 2020 pandemic. In this article, I offer some suggestions on how to deal with loneliness based on my personal experience.

The recommendations are listed in order of priority to develop intimacy with yourself before pursuing intimacy with others. This approach offers the most lasting “cure” for acute and chronic loneliness.

Explore Your Mind and Connect With Your Spirit

Wayne Dyer was onto something when he declared, “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re with.” There are specific things can do that help make you impermeable to loneliness and that’s why I recommend exploring your inner terrain as the first step in combatting loneliness.

Here are five specific things that will help you explore your mind and connect with your spirit to deal with loneliness.

1. Write

Journaling is a form of self-care that enables you to process emotion and gain perspective over the incessant thoughts in your mind. It helps connect you to you better than anything I know.

2. Meditate

Sit in silence for ten minutes, and clear your mind of non-productive thoughts while establishing a connection to your spirit and allowing inspirational thoughts to come through. If silence makes you uncomfortable, consider using guided meditation tracks that can be found on apps like Calm and YouTube.

3. Get Physical

Challenging the physical body through exercise is a great way to challenge the mind. This can be as easy as going for a walk around the block, dancing around the house, or completing an intense workout.

4. Eliminate Noise

I love social media and the real-life friends I’ve made through Facebook. However, when I’m feeling lonely, social media feels more like a distraction than a means for connection. Loneliness isn’t resolved without a connection of some kind. When used indiscriminately, social media serves more as a misdirection than a vehicle to facilitate connection.

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5. Explore Spirituality and Faith-Based Studies

Dive into spiritual and/or faith-based studies to gain a better feel for the bigger picture at play and the interconnectedness of all beings. This will help you understand that you are never alone, even when you’re physically alone.

Refresh the Energy in Your Environment

These activities represent another layer in working with your mindset to deal with loneliness. The more solid your mindset, the less susceptible it is to loneliness.

T.F. Hodge, author of From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with “The Divine Presence,” makes the connection between our environment and mindset, noting that “what surrounds us is within us.” Because we are a product of our environment, it’s important to address the energy we are surrounded with and ensure that it’s offering the best possible influence.

Here are five ideas to refresh the energy in your environment.

6. Declutter

I often say that my environment is a reflection of my mind. When my home is messy, my mind is messy as well. When the appearance of my home is not managed well, I feel lonelier because of feeling alone and overwhelmed in tackling it.

Taking just a few minutes every day to do simple things like make the bed, do the dishes, and go through the mail can help you keep the feeling of being overwhelmed—and potential loneliness—at bay.

7. Appreciate Nature

Go outside! Soak up the sun, walk barefoot on the grass, and/or hug a tree. These grounding practices will help you become more centered in your body and more confident about the world you live in.

8. Shake It Off

When you’re frequently alone, you may not have the opportunity to express yourself by talking with others. This excess emotion builds up and gets stored in the body. Dancing is a great way to release this emotion to ensure that it doesn’t lead to loneliness and uneasiness.

9. Get a Massage

Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, emphasizes the importance of physical touch. He notes, “Touch is the fundamental language of connection…touch activates a big bundle of nerves in your body that improves your immune system, regulates digestion, and helps you sleep well. It also activates parts of your brain that help you empathize.”

Have a partner for hugging, cuddling, and other forms of intimacy. Safe, positive touch through massage is one way to get the need for touch met.

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10. Positive Exposure

It’s much easier for loneliness to creep in when you’re feeling down. Ensuring your life is filled with as much positive messaging as possible keeps loneliness at bay. You can do this by exposing yourself to positive media, movies, books, and people.

Get Purposeful and Help Others

Author Martha Beck confirms that “loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact.”

Connection is a healing salve for loneliness. However, connecting with others during times of loneliness should be done with great care and intention.

Connecting with the wrong person for an improper purpose could cause more damage than the temporary relief it provides. Suggestions for connecting with others to deal with loneliness are recommended throughout the next three sections in order of increasing intensity and intimacy.

Here are three directly related to expanding in purpose and helping others.

11. Talk to Strangers

When you’re out and about, smile, be kind, and connect with the strangers you encounter. Purposeful eye contact and a warm “good morning” greeting can go a long way in making someone else’s day. Making their day may make yours as well while warding off feelings of loneliness.

12. Volunteer

Working with others toward a common goal is an instant cure for loneliness. It will get you among like-minded individuals while also offering your skills to benefit others. Volunteering and helping others can also be a way of supporting and helping yourself deal with loneliness. It’s the perfect win-win situation.

13. Support Someone in Need

Have a friend who could use a break? Maybe there’s a single mom who needs a night out, help around the house, or a babysitter. Maybe there’s an elderly neighbor who could use help with yard work. Lend a hand, a shoulder, and your time to combat loneliness—for you and them.

Be Collaborative, Generous, and Supportive

I believe collaboration is the way to our abundant future. Even when I’m with strangers, I’ve found good collaborators to be welcoming and generous with support. This world is so small and online connections turn strangers into friends and dance partners.

Guillermo Maldonado reminds us that “loneliness is not lack of company; loneliness is lack of purpose.” Collaboration gives you purpose, power, and influence to deal with loneliness.

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The following are specific ways you can collaborate with others to deal with loneliness.

14. Invite Someone to Join You

Instead of attempting to do everything on your own, invite other people to join you. This can be as easy as sitting in the same room (or virtually via Zoom) while working together, or as complicated as pursuing a new business endeavor or joint vision together.

15. Learn Something New

Explore something you’ve always wanted to learn. Local adult education classes are full of opportunities to learn something new. The courses are as varied as belly dancing, cake decorating, scuba diving, computer programming, and basic homeowner repairs. Taking these classes helps you explore your purpose while being in the company of others with similar interests.

16. Invest in Personal or Professional Development

Some of my most beloved supports I call on during times of loneliness were acquired through personal and professional development programs. Enrolling in a coaching or other significant training program is a great way to expand your skills and surround yourself with like-minded people who will support you on your journey.

Connect With Others

I saved the direct connection with others for last for a reason. Many people deal with loneliness by going straight to dating or intimacy. I know I’ve certainly been guilty of doing that. However, I’ve found that going straight for connection and bypassing the internal connection leaves intimate, and even professional, collaborative connections flat.

Gretchen Rubin reminds us that a life that’s completely devoid of loneliness is one that’s full and includes intimacy.

“Keep in mind that to avoid loneliness, many people need both a social circle and an intimate attachment. Having just one of two may still leave you feeling lonely.” —Gretchen Rubin

To help you create a full life, here are some suggestions on how to deal with loneliness:

17. Join a Support Group

This is one of the most direct ways to address your loneliness. It’s also an effective way to find purpose and help others. Support groups happen in person and online.

To this day, I spend a significant amount of time supporting others through social media and closed Facebook groups. For me, these connections reach far beyond the computer. I’ve met my Facebook friends in person. I’ve had meals with them, eye-to-eye conversations with them, traveled with them, attended their weddings, celebrated the holidays with them, done business with them, and helped them with emotional and financial support.

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18. Enjoy an Interesting Meet-Up or Event

I love to dance. There’s nothing like the energy on the dance floor. Even when you’re dancing alone, being among a crowd of people with the same interests as you is life-giving.

I’ve met some incredible connections and had tons of fun exploring MeetUp, Eventbrite, and Facebook events. My favorite event experiences include ecstatic dance, adult summer camp, sunset silent disco, full moon gatherings, women’s circles, and sailing adventures. In all cases, I showed up alone but left with new contacts and friends.

19. Network With Others

Building your network with others is a great way to deal with loneliness. Consider joining an app like Shapr a try. It’s an app designed to connect professionals. I like to think of this app as a mix between a dating app and LinkedIn. It gives a dopamine hit when both parties agree to meet and the animated message, “It’s a Match!” appears.

Most people are using this application to advance their careers and sell services. Others use it to find friends, collaborators, and co-conspirators. I’ve connected with great people through Shapr which invited new energy into my life.

20. Try Online Dating

I saved the best for last. Intimate connections add to the fullness of life. However, when we approach intimacy without first addressing our own mind, spirit, environment, and purpose, it can come from a place of wanting to fill a void rather than connecting from a place of wholeness. Connecting intimately with others is a gift that’s best unwrapped after wholeness is achieved.

The Beauty and Irony of Loneliness

Author Douglas Coupland reminds us of why it’s so important to be intentional on how to deal with loneliness.

“Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.” —Douglas Coupland

After spending nearly all of 2020 alone and ridiculously lonely, the cruel irony is that it was the best thing for me. It forced me to confront my demons. Being alone offered me the time and space to do the shadow work necessary to have a more stable personal foundation.

Because of the extensive work that I did to develop wholeness and safety within my own experience, I’m now in a better position to connect with others with clean energy, no expectations, and a greater chance of experiencing a better result. Following these 20 tips can help you deal with loneliness and live a fuller life.

More Tips on How to Deal With Loneliness

Featured photo credit: Timur Romanov via unsplash.com

Reference

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Melissa Drake

Author | Speaker | Consultant

Feeling All By Yourself? 20 Ways to Deal With Loneliness

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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

As playwright Wilson Mizner supposedly said all the way back in the 1930s,

“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you will meet the same people on the way down.”

The adage is the perfect prototype for relationship building in 2020, although we may want to expand Mizner’s definition of “kind” to include being helpful, respectful, grateful, and above all, crediting your colleagues along the way.

5 Ways to Switch on Your Relationship Building Magnetism

Relationship building does not come easily to all. Today’s computer culture makes us more insular and less likely to reach out—not to mention our new work-from-home situation in which we are only able to interact virtually. Still, relationship building remains an important part of career engagement and success, and it gets better with practice.

Here are five ways you can strengthen your relationships:

1. Advocate for Other’s Ideas

Take the initiative to speak up in support of other team members’ good ideas. Doing so lets others know that the team’s success takes precedence over your needs for personal success. Get behind any colleague’s innovative approach or clever solution and offer whatever help you can give to see it through. Teammates will value your vote of confidence and your support.

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2. Show Compassion

If you learn that someone whom you work with has encountered difficult times, reach out. If it’s not someone you know well, a hand-written card expressing your sympathy and hopes for better times ahead could be an initial gesture. If it’s someone with whom you interact regularly, the act could involve offering to take on some of the person’s work to provide a needed reprieve or even bringing in a home-cooked dish as a way to offer comfort. The show of compassion will not go unnoticed, and your relationship building will have found a foothold.

3. Communicate Regularly

Make an effort to share any information with team members that will help them do their jobs more effectively. Keeping people in the loop says a lot about your consideration for what others need to deliver their best results.

Try to discover the preferred mode of communication for each team member. Some people are fine relying on emails; others like to have a phone conversation. And once we can finally return to working together in offices, you may determine that face-to-face updates may be most advantageous for some members.

4. Ask for Feedback

Showing your willingness to reach out for advice and guidance will make a positive impression on your boss. When you make it clear that you welcome and can accept pointers, you display candor and trust in what opinions your superior has to offer. Your proclivity towards considering ways of improving your performance and strengthening any working interactions will signal your strong relationship skills.

If you are in a work environment where you are asked to give feedback, be generous and compassionate. That does not mean being wishy-washy. Try always to give the type of feedback that you wouldn’t mind receiving.

5. Give Credit Where It’s Due

Be the worker who remembers to credit staffers with their contributions. It’s a surprisingly rare talent to credit others, but when you do so, they will remember to credit you, and the collective credit your team will accrue will be well worth the effort.

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How Does Relationship Building Build Careers?

Once you have strengthened and deepened your relationships, here are some of the great benefits:

Work Doesn’t Feel So Much Like Work

According to a Gallup poll, when you have a best friend at work, you are more likely to feel engaged with your job. Work is more fun when you have positive, productive relationships with your colleagues. Instead of spending time and energy overcoming difficult personalities, you can spend time enjoying the camaraderie with colleagues as you work congenially on projects together. When your coworkers are your friends, time goes by quickly and challenges don’t weigh as heavily.

You Can Find Good Help

It’s easier to ask for assistance when you have a good working relationship with a colleague. And with office tasks changing at the speed of technology, chances are that you are going to need some help acclimating—especially now that work has gone remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much of relationship building rests on your genuine expressions of appreciation toward others. Showing gratitude for another’s help or for their willingness to put in the extra effort will let them know you value them.

Mentors Come Out of the Woodwork

Mentors are proven to advance your professional and career development. A mentor can help you navigate how to approach your work and keep you apprised of industry trends. They have a plethora of experience to draw from that can be invaluable when advising you on achieving career success and advancement.

Mentors flock to those who are skilled at relationship building. So, work on your relationships and keep your eyes peeled for a worthy mentor.

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You Pull Together as a Team

Great teamwork starts with having an “abundance mentality” rather than a scarcity mentality. Too often, workers view all projects through a scarcity mentality lens. This leads to office strife as coworkers compete for their piece of the pie. But in an abundance mentality mode, you focus on the strengths that others bring rather than the possibility that they are potential competitors.

Instead, you can commit relationship building efforts to ensure a positive work environment rather than an adversarial one. When you let others know that you intend to support their efforts and contribute to their success, they will respond in kind. Go, team!

Your Network Expands and So Does Your Paycheck

Expand your relationship building scope beyond your coworkers to include customers, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders. Your extra efforts can lead to extra sales, a more rewarding career, and even speedy professional advancement. And don’t overlook the importance of building warm relationships with assistants, receptionists, or even interns.

Take care to build bridges, not just to your boss and your boss’s boss but with those that work under you as well. You may find that someone who you wouldn’t expect will put in a good word for you with your supervisor.

Building and maintaining good working relationships with everyone you come in contact with can pay off in unforeseen ways. You never know when that underling will turn out to be the company’s “golden child.” Six years from now you may be turning to them for a job. If you have built up a good, trusting work relationship with others along your way, you will more likely be considered for positions that any of these people may be looking to fill.

Your Job Won’t Stress You Out

Study shows that some 83 percent of American workers experience work-related stress.[1] Granted, some of that stress is now likely caused by the new pandemic-triggered workplace adjustments, yet bosses and management, in general, are reportedly the predominant source of stress for more than one-third of workers.

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Having meaningful connections among coworkers is the best way to make work less stressful. Whether it is having others whom to commiserate with, bounce ideas off, or bring out your best performance, friendships strengthen the group’s esprit de corps and lower the stress level of your job.

Your Career Shines Bright

Who would you feel better about approaching to provide a recommendation or ask for promotion: a cold, aloof boss with whom you have only an impersonal relationship or one that knows you as a person and with whom you have built a warm, trusting relationship?

Your career advancement will always excel when you have a mutual bond of friendship and appreciation with those who can recommend you. Consider the plug you could receive from a supervisor who knows you as a friend versus one who remains detached and only notices you in terms of your ability to meet deadlines or attain goals.

When people fully know your skills, strengths, personality, and aspirations, you have promoters who will sing your praises with any opportunity for advancement.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it is “who you know” not “what you know.” When you build relationships, you build a pipeline of colleagues, work partners, team members, current bosses, and former bosses who want to help you—who want to see you succeed.

At its core, every business is a people business. Making a point to take the small but meaningful actions that build the foundation of a good relationship can be instrumental in cultivating better relationships at work.

More Articles About Relationships Building

Featured photo credit: Adam Winger via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The American Institute of Stress: 42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics

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