Finding strength in loneliness 💛

FREEDOM FROM FEAR

Loneliness can be crippling, but it does not have to be so. It is more dangerous is to let loneliness define and take over our lives instead of thinking of it as a gift of solitude, a gift that can be used to tap into the inner peace within us, away from all the external voices and negativity. It can be a space where we can find our strengths.

Loneliness is a peculiar feeling, one might even experience loneliness in a crowded room. Loneliness could strike when a person is surrounded by friends and family. We all have certain social needs and if these needs are not satisfied, we would feel lonely. The social needs of one person might not be the same as others, so do not be disappointed if your friends or family members seem perfectly content in situations where you feel unhappy or lonely.

Almost everyone experiences loneliness from time to time. It is quite normal to feel so. You might feel unheard by your parents, spouse or friends. You might be feeling left out in your school or office or family gatherings. Loneliness could be triggered by certain factors like extreme stress, death of a friend or family member, children leaving home, moving to a different place, starting at a new job or a new school, being left out of a party or an event, etc.

Loneliness can be a reason why one would want to seek new friends, people who understand you better. You might feel the need to find someone who is more like you and what better place to find them but the internet?

The internet might be a wonderful place where you can socialize and learn new things at the same time but it can also be a very dangerous place. You need to tread with caution with respect to anything you find on the internet. There are all kinds of people on the internet and there are different types of dangers associated with it. Loneliness can become dangerous when we look for answers outside of our comfortable spaces, in search of strangers online to make up for our loneliness. Online friends need not be who they claim to be. It would be good to remember that these “friends” could be dangerous and they might convince you to form relationships with them. There have been instances in which compromised images have been shared and the situation became really ugly when these were distributed or used to blackmail individuals, making them vulnerable.

Being lonely might even make one prey to toxic relationships and a whole lot of other related issues. You might have heard about various issues like phishing, online harassment, identity theft, online sexual abuse, privacy violations, blackmail and extortion, catfishing, romance scams, etc. You can see so many instances of online scams and issues in the news every day. That is why it is important to try to draw strength from within yourself and deal with the debilitating situation of loneliness.

Mentioned below are some pointers on finding strength in solitude.

How to deal with loneliness

Loneliness can be tough and could affect your personal and professional life.  You might feel that all hope is lost or that nothing seems to work but the important thing is not to give up and to keep on trying. Reconnect with the part of you that cares about yourself and wants to see you live a good and happy life.

Here are some helpful tips that you can try to deal with loneliness and to improve your general mood or well-being.

  • Practice self-care

It is important that you do not forget to take care of yourself amidst all the chaos in your life. Practice self-care if you are feeling down or lonely. Prioritize your mental and physical well-being. Take a spa day. Go to a place that holds special memories. Eat your comfort food. Visit your friends or family. Listen to soothing music. Practice yoga. Find your inner peace and tap into that energy. 

  • Try to enjoy your own company

Sometimes, you are your best company. No one understands you like you do. Learn to love yourself and to be alone with yourself. Take some time off to read a book, sip on some hot tea/coffee, watch a movie, listen to music, go on a solo trip. Just think about the things you enjoy and do them. Do not be disappointed when your friends are not available when you make plans with them. Almost everybody is going through something that you might know nothing about. That is why it is important to enjoy your own company. Tap into your space of solitude to find your strengths and uniqueness.

  • Take it slow

Engage in things and social activities that make you happy instead of exhausting yourself trying to fit in everywhere. Relax and try to deal with situations as they come. Try some relaxing breathing exercises. Try to take a break from your fast-paced life if you can. When you decide to socialize, try to do it slowly so that you are not overwhelmed.

  • Keep away from negativity

Keep away from toxic people and negativity. Take a break from exhausting social activities. Sometimes, being alone is better than being in the company of people that makes you feel overwhelmed. You do not need other people’s validation to thrive. Seeking validation online from strangers or online friends is not the key to happiness. Do not turn to substances that may give you temporary relief. These are dangerous to your physical and mental health and would have long lasting consequences.

  • Positive vibes only

In addition to keeping away from negativity, try to bring in as much positive aspects as you can into your life. Make a list of things you are grateful for 14 days. Read this whenever you feel low so that you are reminded of all the positive things in your life and will feel strengthened to deal with all the negativity. 

  • Digital minimalism

Take a break from social media and go on a digital detox for a couple of weeks. Get back to your device or social media profile only when you feel up to the task. 

  • Strengthen existing relationships

Try to strengthen the bond with the people that are already in your life. It could be your friends, family members, classmates, co-workers or neighbours. Call or text them more often, take them out for a movie or meal, invite them into your home, take a family/friends trip, anything. The possibilities are endless.

  • Take up a new activity

Sometimes, a change of circumstance or scenario is the best medicine for a lonely heart. You can sign up for a sport, take up dancing classes, try pottery, painting, etc. Try to go back to your younger self and think about the thing that you really wanted to do as a child, something that used to give you pure joy. You can also go on outdoor walks and interact with nature. Set aside some time each day to do this activity that you are passionate about. 

  • Volunteer for a cause

Volunteering and helping others can do wonders to your overall well-being. It reduces stress, gives you a sense of purpose and increases your self-confidence. Moreover, it can be a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and improve your social skills. Look for volunteering opportunities and find a cause that you really care about. Finding people who care about the same things that you do automatically gives you something in common and hence, it would be easier to interact with them.

  • Get a new pet/plant

A pet can be a very good companion. Pets are loyal, loving and playful. If you feel that a pet might be too much for you at the moment, start with a simple plant. Tend to it. Caring for another life has always had a positive impact on people.

  • Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly has a good impact on your physical and mental health. Exercising releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. If you are someone who is new to exercise, take it slow. Do not try to do everything together. You can try jogging, running, swimming, cycling, dancing or you can even take up a sport. Participating in a team sport is also beneficial since you can interact with people and get a good workout at the same time.

  • Reach out for support

If nothing seems to work and you still feel lonely or down, take support from others. If you feel that you need the help of a mental health expert, do not hesitate to approach them. Your mental health and well-being are as important as your physical health. There is nothing wrong with seeking help from others. Everybody needs a helping hand at one time or the other.

As you go on in life, chances are that you might find people who might be dealing with loneliness. If you do, be kind and gentle with them. Try not to push them away if they reach out to you. They might not be really good company at the moment because they might be going through something but rendering a helping hand can really make an impact in their lives.

-Article by Salma Jennath
-With inputs from team Bodhini

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