Loneliness has been described as an emotion that is characterized by a feeling of emptiness and solitude. Common words people use to describe loneliness include: lost, afraid, numb, pain, nothingness, overwhelmed, and so on.
Recent studies have revealed that about 25 percent of the American population has not talked to anyone about anything important to them in six months . Also they found that another 19.6 percent of the people surveyed said that they only have one close friend that they can talk to. These numbers show that close to 50 percent of the population has one close friend or none at all. How did we get here?
Today we live in a fast-paced world; we work longer hours or get a second job, we have distractions such as the Internet, social media, and cellphones. It’s becoming more and more difficult to develop and nurture relationships. This lifestyle eventually leads to isolation.
After a while we start to struggle with loneliness according to, as we become more dependent on technology to stay connected to others, the lonelier we become.
Here are a few tips that can help you come out of isolation and live a fulfilled life:
- Let go of the past: focus on living the present. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made and make a conscious effort to move forward.
- Discover your purpose: stop comparing yourself to others and start defining your own purpose. Ask yourself: “who am I?” and “how am I making a difference in my community?”
- Donate your time and talents: give back by helping people that are struggling. You will feel good about yourself and realize that you are not alone and you will start having a sense of gratitude for the life you have.
- Get a pet: rescue a dog or a cat. It’s hard to be lonely when you have a pet that constantly wants to play and be around you.
- Be more active: join a gym, start practicing yoga or running. Exercise is necessary to maintain good health and the activation of endorphins will make you feel happy.
- Rediscover your hobbies and find a social group: think about the things you may have enjoyed doing in the past – singing, dancing, swimming for example, and try doing these activities with other people that share your interests.
- Laugh and Be Thankful: watch funny movies and read funny jokes; people say that laughter is the best medicine and it’s true. Find opportunities to be thankful everyday. Try coming up with 5 things that you are thankful for and write them down. This exercise will help shift your focus from the negative to the positive things in your life.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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