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Why People Confuse Loneliness With Depression, And What To Do Instead
We all feel lonely sometimes. But, extended loneliness is different. It’s much harder to break out of, but once you overcome it, you can start meeting new people and making friends.
Unfortunately, this extended loneliness can be caused by the confusion of loneliness with depression.
It’s important to understand what loneliness is, how it works, and most importantly, how can you get out of it.
Loneliness has roots in our biology…
The Feeling of Loneliness Is Good For You
Loneliness is a Signal. It’s as if your biology is telling you “Hey, Pay Attention! You’re in danger here; you need to get back with people!”
Why is that?… It’s simply because we have been wired that way. Thousands of years ago, if you were lonely, it was a real threat… you might die.
At the time, loneliness meant you were alone, hunting alone, going through the forest by yourself, and having no one to watch over you when you’re sleep.
Chances are good that you were not going to make it.
This sheds some new light on your loneliness. It actually might have some value!
It’s like thirst or hunger… it exists to REMIND you of what you need to do, in order to stay alive.
But here is the trick…
Loneliness often makes you feel that you are in danger, and you shouldn’t go exploring. And that means, in our time, that socializing and making friends feels dangerous.
This is what you need to be careful about. This is why people often confuse loneliness with depression.
Loneliness causes them to fear being criticized by people, which leads to more hiding and avoiding social situations…, which leads to more loneliness! (This is what I call The Loneliness Trap)
Let’s look at what you should do instead…
What You Need to do if You’re Feeling Lonely
Loneliness is the feeling of not being connected with people. That sad feeling prevents you from socializing and talking to new people.
In order to relieve that, consider this…
The fastest way to stop loneliness is to go do some charity work. Work in a soup kitchen, at a homeless shelter or some sort of community service where you visit children or senior citizens in hospitals.
Even doing this just ONCE, can help you switch to other side of loneliness…
This works because it alleviates the feeling of being threatened by people. You see that people are grateful and happy to receive your help. You cause them to smile and find some hope. Once you experience that people are good, decent and grateful, you may feel “okay” again around people.
Family and Old Friends
Go talk to family members and old friends that know you well. Ask them about what there are going through these days. Find out what troubles them and what’s making them happy. Try to make them feel positive and congratulate them on anything good they’ve been doing.
THEN… talk a little about your situation. Tell them about what you’re excited about and what troubles you. Explain to them a little about it to make sure that they understand you logically AND they feel what you’re feeling. This will ensure that you feel connected to them, and will cause loneliness to go away.
Start Making New Friends, and Build Your Social Circle
Building a nice circle of friends around you is the surest way to get out of the loneliness trap, once and for all.
If done right, a circle of friends allows you to go out often, share your life’s problems and glories, have fun, decrease stress, and celebrate your life. (Trips, birthday parties, nice dinners, and awesome parties)
Just imagine how your life would be if you had a nice circle of friends that understood and believed in YOU, and encouraged you along the way…
But, the beauty of it is that you don’t have to always “work” at it. You don’t have to call everyone and do all the work for people to gather up and meet. If you do it well, a circle of friends just “takes care” of your social life, with minimum effort on your part.
People start to call YOU, and make plans for fun.
Building a social circle is a two-step formula: 1. Make New Friends, 2. Introduce them to Old Friends.
Yes, I’m over simplifying here…
However, if you do this enough times, you’ll no longer wish you had ONE interesting person to go out with; you’ll instead have a GROUP of friends that you like.
If you want more info on how to meet new people, and make friends with them, you can visit my website and subscribe to my free Social Skills Newsletter.
See you there,
Featured photo credit: businessman with gas mask watching TV via Shutterstock
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