Dealing With Loneliness

Feeling lonely every once in a while is totally normal.  This feeling should pass and when it doesn’t we need to take action to help ourselves feel better.  Know that loneliness is a choice.  We can choose to feel lonely or do something about it.  If we change the way we look at our situation and at being alone, we can begin to see that loneliness is temporary.

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” 

Mother Teresa

During this quarantine and pandemic, there are legitimate reasons why some of us are feeling lonely.  Possibly we are disconnected from family due to geographic location.  Perhaps we are not able to visit our loved ones in a nursing home or hospital due to restrictions.  Whatever the reason, it is important to identify the feeling and work on your reaction to it.

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Additional reasons why you may be feeling lonely:

  • You have moved or changed jobs
  • You feel different from others around you – different interests, personality, etc.
  • You have recently lost someone who was close to you
  • Your relationships are not as deep or meaningful as you would like them to be

You may connect with one or more than one of these situations.  You actually may not find truth in any of these situations and still be feeling isolated for another reason.  You may not even be able to identify the reason you are feeling lonely.  That is okay, recognizing the feeling is an important first step. 

Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.

Henry Rollins

It is thought that long-term feelings of loneliness may contribute to reduced cognitive skills, such as the ability to concentrate, make decisions, and problem-solve.  This may be due to a lack of physical activity, poor sleep patterns, and possibly increased blood pressure.  Also, it may ultimately lead to depression.  This is why it is important for us to address these feelings and take action to help ourselves.

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The important thing to remember is that there are things you can do to change how you are feeling.  

  1. Plan Ahead – try and notice times of day or week that you feel most lonely and plan to do something enjoyable during those times. Are the holidays going to be a struggle for you? Make a plan to enjoy the day in a different way. Schedule a “Zoom” meeting with your family so you can be together in a different way.
  2. Help someone else – by volunteering or helping other people you will begin to feel better about yourself and feel less lonely. Offer to do grocery shopping for an elderly person who should not go into a store.
  3. Re-think being alone – remember a time when you were so busy that you had very little (if any) time alone.  Think of what you can do for yourself that you wouldn’t be able to do if people were around you.  
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The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.

Albert Einstein

Unfortunately many of us know the feelings of loneliness.  Remembering that these feelings are temporary and that we have the power to help ourselves, will bring you some comfort.  

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