Positive Ways To Deal With Loneliness (Happiness & Connecting)

Although we call it by different names and ascribe a wide variety of meanings to it, most of us can sense that there is a connection among us all that exceeds the confines and limitations of our humanity — a divine connection of sorts.  As we seek a greater understanding of that connection, we slowly begin to feel it all around us and our eyes are opened to an actual awareness of,  and familiarity with, this universal connection. Once embraced, this awareness brings a sense of comfort and peace to our lives that . . . well, changes everything.

This awareness comes, most often, as part of a dedicated spiritual practice and sustained efforts at healing, happiness, and self-realization.  While there are “growth spurts” that pick up in frequency and momentum, as we stay the course on our journey of transformation, the process usually takes time and a strong desire for understanding what we are, truly.

If we commit our hearts and minds to the effort, however, we eventually reach that place (the “Aha!” moment) when we feel it, sense it, and stand in awe and wonder of it —

The knowledge, in our heart of hearts, that we are never truly alone. . . that We Are All One.  

Sigh . . . .

In the meantime and even occasionally thereafter, however,  there will be times when we feel very alone. Whether it sneaks up on us as a sense of restlessness and discomfort or knocks us to our knees in a fit of despair, loneliness is no stranger to anyone who has been alive more than a few years. It is the great equalizer. Married people, single people, perky people, quite people, movie stars, and Presidents . . . all get lonely from time to time.

Loneliness is not, therefore, something reserved for people who are suffering from depression or who are “hard to get along with” or for any other negative reason.  The experience of being lonely (at least occasionally) is one shared by every one of us, at one point or another, in our lives.

So, how do we deal with the loneliness in ways that are healthy and positive?  As is the case with most aspects of healing, happiness, and self-realization, the most important step is making an effort to “know thyself.”  Part of knowing yourself is recognizing what you are feeling and why. This kind of inner awareness involves much introspection, reflection, and contemplation.

There are times, however, when we have just got to get outside ourselves and connect with other human beings.

Photo by Sanja Gjenero

If you are a pack animal by nature, like me, cabin fever will sneak up on you more quickly than someone who needs only limited social interaction to cure a case of loneliness.  By being mindful of how you are feeling and when, you can catch the need for connection before it gets out of hand and becomes overwhelming.

The key to dealing with loneliness effectively is to realize you are feeling lonely (either a little or a lot) and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  

Of course, prayer and meditation and keeping busy with physical and/or mental activities are always helpful. But it has been my experience and observation that good, old-fashioned human connections (socialization, fellowship, communion, networking) are the fastest and most effective means of dealing with loneliness in a positive way.

Obviously, if you have a busy social calendar and a ton of friends, the best thing to do is get out and about and go have fun with your friends.  But, if your social calendar isn’t booked every night or you live alone and are away from many of your friends and family, you’ll need to get creative.

Here are 5 Positive Ways To Deal With Loneliness that I have applied in my own life, and I know definitely work.

1.  Call A FriendSo often, when we’re feeling lonely, we also feel unwanted.  We may have a tendency to think “nobody cares” . . . about us, what we’re doing, or how we’re feeling.  Those thoughts and feelings are not, however, true.  I’ve never met anyone in my life who actually did not have one single person on the planet who cared about them.  Have you?  But we all get busy and wrapped up in our own routines, struggles, and plans; and, sometimes, that means we forget about the people who are most important to us (at least, temporarily).

By picking up the phone and calling a friend, we are reaching out for what we need; and that is perfectly okay.  It’s a form of self-love and compassion that most everyone would agree is perfectly acceptable.  It may not feel comfortable, at first, but you may even go so far as to say, “Hey, such-in-such, I was feeling a little lonely and you came to my mind.  How are you doing?  Do you have a few minutes to talk?”  By letting your friend know exactly why you’re calling and what you need, you avoid any confusion and the risk of increasing your loneliness by an inadvertent brush off.  If you let them know what’s going on, you give them a chance to either make certain they give you their full attention or tell you when might be a better time for a call or (better yet) getting together for coffee or a meal.  Either way, you have made a connection.

2.  Take A Walk With StrangersWalking is good for the body, mind, and spirit – just as a general proposition.  But, it is also an excellent way to get a socialization fix.  Whether you walk on the boardwalk, at the mall, in your neighborhood, a park or any other public or semi-public place, you will most likely come across other people who will notice you.  You can waive, smile, say “Hello,” or even strike up a conversation about the weather, their pet, your pet, or a host of other casual conversation topics.

Photo by Adrian van Leen

3. Connect With Other People Online: The beauty of the internet is that there is always somebody out there some where — ALL the time.

*Try joining internet forums where you can “meet” others with similar interests and share ideas, photos, etc.

*Consider finding a few of your favorite blogs, follow posts, and leave comments.  If you’re shy, no problem. It’s easy to set up a separate email account for yourself that would allow you to comment anonymously on most blog sites (pending moderation).  Most bloggers I know love comments and always reply.

*Join Facebook™, LinkedIn™, or Twitter™.  These social networking tools are not just for teenagers anymore.  You can share a lot more than, “Urghh! I’m bored!” on these sites; and there is an aspect of instant gratification to this form of connection that’s almost always present.  My favorite way to use Twitter™ is to find encouraging and uplifting quotes and tweet them throughout the day.  Twitizens love good quotes and will often comment and retweet them.  I also retweet other people’s inspirational comments and quotes. The simple act of saying or seeing “Thanks for the retweet!” is a form of connection that feels friendly and good.

4. Go Do Something Kind For A Stranger:  Whether it’s opening the door for someone at a convenience store or helping a mother with her hands full load groceries, there are many ways to stop a second and connect with strangers.  It’s a pleasant way to connect with someone new.  Another way to feel connected, but without actually engaging with a stranger, is to do random acts of kindness.  One of my favorite cyber-friends and a fellow blogger, Gina, recently posted an amazing article about random acts of kindness. It includes a video about two women who spent a month doing random acts of kindness for strangers.  You can read all about it and watch by clicking this link: http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/08/07/celebrating-the-kindness-of-strangers/#comments

5. Watch A Good Movie Or Television Series: It might not sound like a cure for loneliness, at first, but it works.  From a neuro-psychology perspective, recent research has shown that the brain does not fully differentiate between experiences we actually engage in ourselves and those we observe.  Without going into a long discussion about mirror neurons, the point is that there’s a physiological component to how our brain interprets human (or any other type) of interaction.  From an emotional perspective, we become engaged in the story and laugh, cry, get excited or scared or whatever else is going on with the characters we are watching in the movie or television show.  It is satisfying enough to bring some relief to a sense of loneliness and might be just what we need to get us up, out, and about to try many other ways of connecting.

Hope you enjoy these ideas and please feel free to share any that have worked for you!

© 08/14/12

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9 Comments

  1. Excellent post! Speaking for myself, only, I find that loneliness is the natural companion of selfishness. Whenever I am lonely, I remember my late mother’s sage advice–quit thinking so much about yourself and think more about how you can make someone else happy. I have come to appreciate the incredible wisdom of this advice and I urge others to give it a try.

    Reply
    • When we make an effort to contribute to others’ happiness, it contributes to our own happiness, as well. I’m not so sure about the selfishness part; but I definitely like the helping others component of your comment. It fits in great with the post suggestion about random acts of kindness. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  2. Gina's Professions for PEACE

     /  August 15, 2012

    What an incredibly lovely post Sloan! And so true, that doing a kindness is one of the most sure-fire ways of rising out of the blues. Thank you for sharing this inspiration piece with us. And for your very kind words and link to a post of mine. You are like an Earth Angel to me!
    Love and hugs of gratitude, Gina

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Gina. I hope it brings others a measure of hope and comfort; and I’d love to see people jump on board with the acts of kindness movement. I believe it’s a wonderful way for us all to contribute to healing the hearts and souls of humanity.

      Yes, “You may say I’m a dreamer ♫ ♫ ♫ . . . but I’m not the only one . . . ♫ ♫ ♫ ”

      As always, thank you for reading, connecting, and just being You. Blessings, love & light, Sloan

      Reply
  3. this can be a very precious post for those who suffer from loneliness. it is a horrible pain to suffer from.

    Reply
    • Indeed. Thank you so very much for reading and connecting. Keep letting your glow flow with the good work you’re doing, my friend! Blessings, love & light, Sloan

      Reply
  4. A fine piece, Sloan

    Reply
    • Thank you, friend. I hope your upcoming weekend is joyful and peaceful! Blessings, love & light, Sloan

      Reply
  1. Addressing Loneliness | Taming The Invisible Dragon™

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