Loneliness, The New Social Epidemic?
More connected, yet further apart.
We live in a world of global connectivity. We use email, text, messaging and social media constantly. Surrounded by people and online constantly, yet lacking deep and fulfilling connection, it’s not wonder many people feel more lonely and isolated than ever before.
Is loneliness our new social epidemic?
A feeling not a fact
Loneliness is a feeling not a fact. You can have all kinds of people in your life and still feel lonely. Experiencing periods of mild loneliness is totally normal. There are situations in everyone’s life that leave us feeling lonely. Moving to a new city, changing a job or school, periods in or out of a relationship or employment are all times that can lead to feelings of temporary loneliness.
If experienced for longer periods, this temporary loneliness can turn into chronic loneliness. A continual state of feeling lonely with no end in sight, it often manifests through a lack of real connection and emotional bonding with anyone that you can trust and confide in.
These feelings of loneliness can distort our perception and scramble our thinking, leading us feel isolated and disconnected from those around us. Feeling like others care much less than they actually do, and making us afraid to reach out because we don’t want to set ourselves up for rejection and heartache, when our heart is already aching.This type of loneliness can have lasting impact on our mental and physical health.
A matter of perspective.
Most of us view and react to loneliness as a negative. We see loneliness like a dark cloud over our head, feeling sorry for ourselves or less than, and moping around until it passes and someone invites us out. But what if we were to embrace loneliness, rather than fight it?
What if we chose to view loneliness as an opportunity to invite in the capacity to practice self care and to allow space and time for reflection and peace. A time when we get to do exactly what we want when we want it.
Here’s are our 5 top tips on how to embrace loneliness rather than fight it:
Separate being Alone from being Lonely
Some of us reveal in it alone time, while other struggle. Those that reveal ini it, have worked out the difference between being alone and feeling lonely.
Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to feel lonely. There are many great aspects that come with being alone including the gift of time, space, quietness and calmness. The chance to reflect and do our own thing.
Try to be as present as you can with everything around you and within you to see if you can learn to enjoy the feeling of being alone. Take a walk outside. Go to the beach and sit by the water. Grab a coffee and sit on a park bench. Sit and watch the people walk by. And let the feeling sink in and stick for a little bit. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, it may pass.
Focus on the Positives
Why not use the alone time to your advantage and do the things you really want to do, and don’t get the chance to do often, or in the company of others. Remind yourself that you don’t necessarily need other people’s company to enjoy yourself. In fact, you know all those things that are too embarrassing, quirky, adventurous or boring to do with other people… now is your chance to do them alone!! Make a list of all your favourite things and choose one to do with yourself.
Stop Feeding Into The FOMO
FOMO is what feeds the voice in the back of your mind that tells you “everyone else is having a good time, surrounded by friends, except you”. This is the voice that disrupts the contentment you’d otherwise feel sitting at home by yourself. It’s the voice that tells you the grass is greener over there. When in fact, the grass is greener where it’s watered. In other words, try to see your loneliness for what it is: you have some free time! It has nothing to do with your personality or your love-ability!
Pursue your Passions
It’s not often we get the time to selfishly pursue our personal goals and passions. Why not pick a new skills, talent or hobby that you want to master in your alone time. When it comes to keeping loneliness at bay, one of the best ways to do it is to occupy your time with things that feel enriching, creative and exciting. When you find something you’re truly passionate about, those pockets of alone time are seen as blessings since it lets you indulge in this new thing.
Say Yes To New Things
Loneliness reminds us of the value of connection. And connection can come in many different forms, from a smile to a quick hello, an indepth conversation or spending time with others. See if you can focus on where you can improve the connections in your life. Less screen time, when you’re with your friends or family, saying yes to new invitations or experiences, exchanging a smile or having a short conversation with a stranger, or looking into a social, MeetUp group or networking event that you’ve been thinking of joining. There are endless opportunities for us to connect with others on many levels, if we’re open to the possibilities.
Are you ever truly alone if you have yourself for company?
Wayne Dyer, Author and spiritual mentor famously said, “You cannot be lonely, if you love the person you’re alone with!
Embracing your “aloneness” means learning to love being in your own company and cherishing the time you do get in it to do the things you most value and love, the things that support, excite or inspire you. You might even end up enjoying the process, meeting new people and learning something new about yourself.
About the author
Wealth & Wellness Editor & Yogi
Lea is an award wining entrepreneur, certified money coach, wellness coach, yoga teacher and mindfulness practitioner. Global Nomad. Dreamer. Creative. Unconventional. Ambivert with a really big heart. Founder of The Mindful Wealth Movement, she travels the world hosting wealth & wellness workshops and retreats. www.leaschodel.com