Are you afraid of being alone? Do you worry about your physical safety or do you fear loneliness? These are strong negative feelings that can impact your health. One study found that when older people are socially isolated, there is an increased risk of an earlier death, by as much as 26%. If you are worried about your fears of being alone, study these 7 ways to help you find your comfort zone.
1. First, the good news
How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just can’t wait to be alone’? This might be after a day’s work, an argument with your partner or after a noisy dinner with friends. You need time to be yourself, gather your thoughts, relish the silence and just totally chill out. These are precious moments and are very important for your own peace of mind and mental refreshment.
But for many people, this feeling is not often present and loneliness takes over. As Joss Whedon once said, ‘loneliness is about the scariest thing out there’. Read on and discover how you can exploit being alone to your own advantage and how you can defeat loneliness.
2. Enjoy being alone
When you are alone, it is important to enjoy it to the full. Wallow in the feeling that you do not have to be accountable for anything you do. Pursue your interests and hobbies. Take up new ones. Learn new skills. Lie on the couch. Leave the kitchen in a mess. The list can go on and on, but finding the right balance is crucial. There will be times when being on your own is perfect, but then there will be a creeping feeling that you should not be so isolated. Once you start feeling loneliness, then it is time to take action. Follow these 5 remaining steps.
3. Facebook is not the answer
Have you noticed how people seek virtual contacts instead of a live, face-to-face interaction? It is true that social networking can provide an initial contact, but the chances of that becoming a real life personal contact is pretty slim. Being wrapped up in a cloud of sharing, liking and commenting (and insulting!) can only increase loneliness. When you really want company, no one on Facebook will phone you to invite you out.
4.Loneliness stalks unhappy relationships
It is a cruel fact of life that people are so scared of loneliness that they often opt into a relationship with the wrong person. Loneliness before and after. There is enormous pressure from peers, family and society in general to get married or to be in a stable, long-term relationship. When this happens, people start making wrong decisions, such as:
- hanging out with toxic company such as dishonest or untrustworthy people
- getting involved with unsuitable partners because of the fear of being alone or lonesome
- accepting inappropriate behavior just because of loneliness
- making a long-term decision instead of seeking a temporary remedy.
The main problem is that you need to pause, reflect and get advice. Recognize that your fear of being alone is taking over. A rash decision now could lead to endless unhappiness.
5. Are you a social animal?
It was the poet John Donne (1572 – 1631) who wrote ‘No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent’. Human contact is essential to surviving in this world. Instead of wallowing in boredom and sadness, you need to get out as much as possible and seek contacts. Being a member of a group, however tenuous, is a great way. So when you are in the gym, at church or simply at a club meeting, exploit these contacts to enlarge your social circle. There is no point in staying at home all the time. You will not meet any new people there! Social contacts are rather like delicate plants. You have to look after them. That means telephoning, using Skype and being there when needed.
6. A burden shared is a burden halved
Dag Hammarskjold was keenly aware of this fact when he said ‘what makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden but this: I have only my own burden to bear’. Simply put, it is a two-way street. Reach out to help and people will be there when you need them.
7. Be grateful and count your blessings
Study after study shows that if people show gratitude they will reap a bountiful harvest. These include a stronger immune system, better health, more positive energy and most important of all, feeling less lonely and isolated. If you do not believe me, watch the video below, ‘What good is gratitude? Now here is the path to hope and happiness.