From time to time, each one of us has felt lonely. It's a natural part of being alive.
Loneliness can be keenly felt when a person is separated from a loved one by distance, divorce, or death. For others, it surfaces when feeling emotionally distant from their mate or spouse. Feelings of isolation, lack of a sense of connectedness to others, general social unease, loss of work, or rejection in a relationship.
Occasional loneliness can be healthy, allowing us to travel within, reflect on our current state in life, resolve feelings or issues, and simply spend time getting to know ourself. When loneliness becomes prolonged, however, it can lead to feelings of chronic sadness, loss of hope and even suicidal thoughts.
How can we learn to cope with loneliness, regardless of its underlying cause? Here are 6 things you can do:
1. Differentiate Between Solitude and Loneliness
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely, of course. Many people currently married, or in a committed relationship, report feeling 'lonely', even when sitting next to their loved one on the sofa.
Relationships don't always equate to lack of loneliness. And, being alone doesn't necessarily mean we will feel lonely. In fact, many of the most emotionally aware and happy individuals spend a great deal of time alone reading, reflecting on their lives, exercising and meditating.
We need to clarify whether we are just alone, or feeling lonely. Having identified the cause of our difficult feelings, we can then proactively work at resolving them. If we are having problems, we might well benefit by working with an exoerienced therapist or counselor.
2. Focus on Happiness
Your level of happiness rests in your hands. If you feel unhappy, take proactive action to correct this state of being. Focus on participation in positive, enjoyable activities. Spend time with your friends and family.
Join and participate in new social groups, and in so doing expand your circle of friends. Take a night class. Join a faith community or visit a community center and see what's on offer. Spend extra time participating in the hobbies or activities you really like. Listen to your favorite music; familiar sounds can automatically affect our emotional state and mood.
Focus on the things, people and places that make you happy and not on the things, people and places that don't. Never forget that it's you alone who really controls your personal level of happiness.
3. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Are you thankful for the things you have and the people in your life? Stop and take a moment each day to focus on gratitude. What are you thankful for today? Write down at least one new thing each day in a dedicated journal. By focusing on what you are grateful for, you will focus less on the things in your life that you are least happy about.
4. Seek Like-Minded Others
Join a gym or exercise class. Exercising is not only good for our physical health, but our emotional health, too. During physical activity, endorphins are released, which have been proven to enhance mood and our overall mental and emotional state.
Seek out and join groups of people who are like-minded. In practically every city or large town, there are organized groups and people who regularly meet to share hobbies, activities and interestes. Whether you enjoy comics or books, video games, arts and crafts, collectibles or sports, you can find others to connect with in your geographic area, who share those same interests.
If you live away from a big town or city, then search online for a discussion group of people who share your interests. You can also connect with like-minded individuals by joining a faith community and participating in your local church, synagogue, mosque, temple, religious or humanist organization.
5. Serve Others
This is one of the very best ways to banish loneliness. Give of yourself by volunteering with organizations and causes that matter to you. In helping and supporting others we enhance our own feelings of connectedness.You might even find yourself developing lifelong relationships through your participation in your chosen group, organization or cause..
6. Pets or Plants
Pets and plants bring real enjoyment into the lives of their owners. If the outdoors appeals to you and you enjoy getting your hands dirty, then cultivate a vegetable or fruit garden, or take care of difficult plants (i.e. orchids).
Focus on learning about and nurturing something other than yourself, and enjoy the fruits of your labour by watching them grow and thrive. Connect with those people who also share your inerests.
If you feel equipped to take care of an animal, consider adding fish, a cat, or even a dog into your home. Pets can bring a great sense of satisfaction into a person's life, providing a wonderful companionship, too.
Regardless of whether your feelings of loneliness are completely new or have lasted for a long time, you have the ability to do something about them. With just a little courage and focus, you can take back control of your life and greatly reduce your feelings of loneliness.
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Peter Field is a UK registered psychotherapist and author of what has been called 'the best book on hypnotherapy'. 'The Chi of Change' is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all good bookstores.
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