Loneliness is a funny thing; it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Have you found that you’re not socializing as much at this point in your life?
Maybe you’ve stepped away from your full-time job where people were only a fingertip away, and now you have to stretch much further to make connections. If you’re retired or working independently from home, loneliness is a real problem with significant side effects.
When I thought about loneliness and did research on this topic, I assumed that being lonely would create people eager for connections and wanting to seek friendships. But the opposite is what I found out to be true.
Loneliness is draining, upsetting, and distracting. Loneliness is NOT the same as wanting to be alone which can often bring positive attributes such us solitude, peace, and renewal.
It turns out that loneliness is a significant reason for unhappiness, and it’s important to know why we’re lonely to address it.
In fact, according to Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal piece, “Alone or Lonely,” the rate of loneliness has doubled in the past 30 years. I’m not too surprised by this statistic, especially when you think of how life and communities have changed.
Luckily there are many ways to change your habits so you can combat the situation. According to a study published in the PLOS Medicine journal in 2010, people with social relationships are not only happier but live more than 50 percent longer than the rest of us!
This alone is a great reason to change some habits! One thing is for certain, they all take a level of motivation, strength, and willingness to break old habits and establish new ones.
Quality of sleep is detrimental. Yes, sleep. One of the most common indicators of loneliness is poor quality sleep, including taking a long time to fall asleep, waking up a lot during the night, and feeling sleepy during the day.
Sound familiar? Lack of sleep makes you grumpy, lowers your energy, and increases your likelihood of getting sick.
Connect with other people. Join a book club, sign up for Pilates class, chat with the check-out person. Make a people connection during the day, every day.
Nurture others, including animals and plants. Volunteer, teach a class, attend a class, babysit, get a pet, fill your house with plants, tend the garden. There are so many ways to nurture in this world, and the love returned is twofold.
Unfortunately, loneliness can make people feel cynical, judgmental, and critical of others. It’s important to be aware of these traits in case you see them developing in you. It turns out that lonely people are less accepting of others.
Have you considered going to a retreat where you would meet like-minded women? A safe place to explore new ideas and to feel empowered? Why not inspire your well-being through unique experiences designed just for you? There are many events just for women like you.
Meditation is your best friend. The sheer act of meditating makes us feel connected to everything and everyone. Meditation cancels out the mental, emotional, and physical effects of loneliness. Even though our friends may walk in and out of our life, meditation is always here to stay.
Finding a retreat of likeminded women to spend some time with is fun and beneficial. The sheer act of participating with others in activities to nourish your soul will and does change your life forever – not to mention the lifelong friends you can make.
Most of us at some point in our life have suffered from loneliness. Have you found any good habits that worked for you to combat this dreaded feeling? Which habits were easy to achieve, and which required more work on your part? Please share with our wonderful community!