- Mental Health
What to Do on Lonely Days
We are all Universally Alone
Everyone's alone — or so it seems to me. They make noises, and think they are talking to each other; They make faces, and think they understand each other.
And I'm sure they don't. Is that a delusion?
T. S. ELIOT, The Cocktail Party
We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and -- in spite of True Romance magazines -- we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way.
HUNTER S. THOMPSON, The Proud Highway
We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — "Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought."
JOHN STEINBECK, "In Awe of Words," The Exonian, 1930
All the suffering that humanity ever knew can be traced to the one fact that no man in the history of the Galaxy ... could really understand one another. Every human being lived behind an impenetrable wall of choking mist within which no other but he existed.
ISAAC ASIMOV, Second Foundation
We All Feel Lonely
Most of us have felt loneliness at one point in our lives. Maybe our friends, family or significant others seemed to have no time for us. Maybe you moved to a new area without knowing anyone and had no friends to hang out with on the weekends. Maybe you are on your own for the first time and miss you family. Maybe you just ended a relationship and are missing the way things used to be. Whatever the case, you are not the first person in the world to feel lonely. There are things you can do to beat back the loneliness blues.
Do you feel lonely?
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is different from being alone. Many of us (myself included) enjoy being alone to get important tasks completed or have some down time in a very hectic and crazy world. True loneliness is that depressed feeling we get when we feel like we are all alone in the world with no friends and no support. It can be a dangerous feeling that can lead you down a path of hopeless despair. It doesn’t have to go down that path.
The deep feelings of separation that lonely people feel are not the same as being an outsider. Many people are outsiders who move to their own rhythm and do their own thing. That is not the same as being lonely. Lonely people feel a deep separation and isolation from the world around them to the point that they feel really depressed about their situation and hopeless that they will ever feel a connection to this world. In contrast, the outsider may relish being different and be comfortable going his/her own way and living by his/her own rules.
Things Can Change
Loneliness doesn’t have to be a way of life. There are plenty of ways to beat loneliness back. There are simple things you can do to help push back feelings of loneliness and get some control over your life.
- Participate: Instead of moping around and wallowing in lonely feelings, get involved in something – anything. Engagement in life is a first step out of a lonely path. There are many things to do even if you don’t have any friends to do them with. You can do any of the following: Volunteer; Take a Class; Join a club, association, group. Even if you don’t make friends right away, you can gain some acquaintances and take your mind off of loneliness and maybe just get interested in an activity that leads you to develop your hidden talents or connect with others.
- Get Active. Exercise is a good way to beat depression back. Get the blood flowing and send happy thoughts and endorphins going into the brain. Whether you join the gym or just go for a walk down the street, it all helps.
- Pets Anyone? Pets are a great way to not be lonely. Pets cause you to channel your energy away from yourself and towards someone else. You have to (or should) take care of your pets and give them attention and love. Focusing on someone else often replaces the intense focus on yourself and what you think is wrong with you.
- Get Creative. Develop a hobby, paint a picture, write a story, and join an online community that encourages you to express yourself. Creative expression allows you to get out the negative feelings and discover the common elements of humanity. Even reading can help take your mind off of loneliness and into the lives of others.
Please know that loneliness is something that most people experience. You are not alone in your loneliness. There are active things you can do to feel less lonely. There is help available for when you feel too overwhelmed with loneliness and sadness.
© 2013 truthfornow