Loneliness can make you feel depressed. It can lead to early death and also makes it more likely that you get Alzheimer’s disease. I’m sure you all agree, that it’s interesting, that loneliness can actually physically harm you.
More and more people are lonely today. It’s almost one in 3!
You would think with all this social media, smart phones and Facetiming, that allows us to get in touch with one another instantly would feel more connected, but actually, the opposite is true. We are lonelier than ever, more depressed and anxious than ever and people are turning to therapy and antidepressants to cope.
The reason why loneliness has such a consequence is because the human being is a pack animal and if he is alone for too long, he gets sick.
So how do we stop feeling lonely?
It’s hard enough dealing with anxiety on its own, but it’s even worse when you are alienated by other people because you can’t talk to them, so they label you as rude, or think to stay clear from you, because they think you are weird. So you become lonely.
The most often question people who are feeling anxious or lonely ask themselves is a question: “What’s wrong with me?”
The number one thing that connects us people together is that we all want to be happy and free from suffering. This is the no. 1 human desire that connects you with friends, but also the same thing that connects you with people you don’t get along with.
The anxious Buddhist monks used to say, that suffering and happiness are all in our mind, so they are not out there found through another people or objects, but it’s over here, so if happiness and suffering are in the mind, then the causes of happiness and suffering are also in the mind.
It turns out, that if you want to stop being lonely you have to change how you perceive the world and this is where the difference lies between people that are lonely and those who aren’t. People who are lonely, if something doesn’t work out for them, they say that it is their fault. They ask themselves: “What’s wrong with me?” But if you are not lonely, instead of looking what is wrong with you, you look at the approach that you took and think about other goals and how to approach them, for example – making friends.
They say the difference between humans and mice is this: If mice realises that something doesn’t work out, they try something else. Humans go back to something they always done and keep on repeating their mistakes.
So how do we stop this cycle, change and become happy?
These next two tips are the key.
First step to conquer the loneliness is to start talking to as many people as possible as soon as you can. I know they say to go to events, but it’s hard if you are feeling lonely. But how often do you go to grocery store or for a walk… Or how many times before you’ve been asked for direction and instead of answering the question, you also initiated a small conversation or asked person a question about them? Think about how different your day may be if you’d did that? This can also introduce you to new friends when you least expect it and you begin to network people everywhere you go.
So start talking to as many people as possible and especially those who wouldn’t normally talk to as just these are often the ones that we come in to contact to on daily basis – like a bus driver or person who makes your sandwich in the morning.
The second way to get rid of your loneliness is to share about yourself. Asking people questions is good as a starting point, but it is still not working out and you are not creating the kind of connections what you are looking for – the ones that are meaningful. Thats because if people are feeling lonely, they tend to disclose less about themselves when they talk to others. They reciprocate less. So if you want to take your interactions to the whole new level and create connections with people, then you have so share about yourselves, share the stories about yourselves. Say what you like, what you think.
When we take the risk to say what is really on our mind, that’s when we build connections that are real and meaningful with people and people want to come back to us.