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7 Therapists on What to Do When You Feel Lonely

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https://www.thecut.com/2018/05/advice-from-therapists-on-what-to-do-when-you-feel-lonely.html

thecut.com

7 Therapists on What to Do When You Feel Lonely
We live in lonely times. The elderly are lonely. The teens are lonely. People are lonely in cities and in rural areas, so much so that it's now considered a public-health issue (one with real, physical health effects).

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The epidemic of loneliness

The elderly are lonely. Teens are lonely. People in cities and rural areas are lonely to such an extent that it is considered a public health issue.

One report found that nearly half of r...

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Practice small talk

Talk to people you encounter throughout your day. When you enter a coffee shop, make a simple comment about the weather to make impersonal interactions a bit more friendly.

If you practic...

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Get comfortable

Many people desire any company because they don't like the discomfort when they are alone.

Learn to enjoy your own company. Start by reading, watching TED Talks that will make you think, or ...

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Friends are made

Friends are not found - they are made over time. Making friends is an incremental process; It takes between 6 - 8 conversations before someone considers us a friend.

Proximity and repetit...

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Work on yourself

Work on connecting in meaningful ways with other people and connecting with the lonely part inside of you.
  • The outside world. If you like sports, join a local sports team. If you lik...

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How to cope with loneliness

  • If you find it challenging to move beyond small-talk, you can ask a more personal question like, "What's one thing that I don't know about you?" or "If you could travel anywhere in t...

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Families are a resource

Immediate and extended family are a wonderful resource to lonely people. When people start writing letters to a grandparent or setting up a weekly phone call with a sibling, it can have a good impa...

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Embrace who you are

Introverts often see their social style as negative when they compare themselves to extroverts. Introverts don't need a large group of friends. Be true to yourself.

Also, find other personal...

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Loneliness

It isn’t defined by the number of people in your life; instead, it’s the distance between what you want out of your relationships and what you’re getting.

So it’s absolutely possible t...

Make small talk

Have quick, non-threatening conversations throughout the day: make small talk with your barista, the cashier at the grocery store, anyone you encounter who seems receptive.

Think of them as stretching a muscle: not the same as a full workout, but beneficial nonetheless. When you’re lonely, you go inward, and just stretching that little bit can kick-start a process that helps you feel better.

Find a state of flow

Do something you find totally engaging, to the point you lose track of time.

That activity doesn’t have to be mentally engaging or intellectually rigorous. Maybe it’s reading, running, or cleaning. If you’re truly immersed in what you’re doing, no matter what it is, you won’t have the mental space to be consumed by loneliness.

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Loneliness before quarantine

We crave intimacy. And yet, long before the present pandemic, with its forced isolation and social distancing, humans had begun building their own separate cells. 

Before modern times...

Loneliness is a form of grief

It is an umbrella term we use to cover for all sorts of things most people would rather not name and have no idea how to fix.
Plenty of people like to be alone. But solitude and seclusion are different from loneliness. Loneliness is a state of profound distress.

The evolutionary theory of loneliness

Primates need to belong to an intimate social group in order to survive; this is especially true for humans.
Separation from your group (either finding yourself alone or finding yourself among a group of people who do not know and understand you) triggers a fight-or-flight response.

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Loneliness is a perception issue

Loneliness is a perception issue

Loneliness has more to do with our perceptions than how much company we have: it is just as possible to feel very lonely surrounded by people as it is to be content with little social contact.

Olivia Laing

Olivia Laing

“Loneliness, longing, does not mean one has failed but simply that one is alive.”

Dealing with loneliness through creativity

One way people have always dealt with loneliness is through creativity. By metamorphosing their reality into art, lonely people throughout history have managed to interchange the sense of community relationships could foster with their creative outputs.

The artist Edward Hopper (1882–1967) is known for his paintings of American cityscapes inhabited by closed-off figures who seem to embody a vision of modern loneliness.

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