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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 Be More Social If You Are an Introvert 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

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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