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Why People Confuse Loneliness With Depression, And What To Do Instead

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.

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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)

Bummer!

Let’s look at what you should do instead…

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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…

Charity.

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.

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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.

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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,

– Paul

Featured photo credit:  businessman with gas mask watching TV via Shutterstock

More by this author

Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely 7 Tips How to Make Friends During College 5 Reasons Why Your Social Life Isn’t Improving, And What To Do About It How To Quietly Build A Social Life

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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