“I’m lonely. And I’m lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs. And it scares the shit out of me to be this lonely because it seems catastrophic.”― Augusten Burroughs, “Dry”

All of us feel lonely from time to time. Whether it comes from a change of circumstances (moving, new job, kids leaving home) or is entirely innate, dealing with loneliness is a delicate yet arduous task. 

Acknowledging Loneliness

One of the hardest life lessons is examining your subconscious behaviors. While acknowledging your level of loneliness can be daunting, it remains the key to finding meaningful connections in life. 

Dr. Ramon Diaz, a practicing clinician and guest CPTSD Foundation author, explains:

“Loneliness is generally seen as a mood, not a trait. Moods have physiological and psychological features and properties. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5-TR), loneliness is generally associated with other symptoms that make up the symptomology for clinical depression.” 

“A dopamine imbalance influences loneliness,” states Dr. Diaz who usually employs some of the following treatments:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Traditional talk therapy can be beneficial as it can focus on the generalized feeling of loneliness and its root cause. Finding mental health can be burdensome, however, with a recent mirage of therapists executing appointments online, it is as easy as ever to secure therapy.
  • Identify an “emotional support person/group: Loneliness is influenced by symptoms of depression like hopelessness, low self-worth, and isolated-related behaviors. Allowing yourself the support of this person/group provides a real-world outlet and can be beneficial in understanding subconscious thoughts. 
  • Create Mindfulness: A beginner yoga class and meditation can help enhance your calm. 
  • Limit Screen Time: 30 minutes per day or less.

There are other ways to stave off loneliness, here are 15 tips supplied by the Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/public-engagement/unlock-loneliness/15-things-do-if-youre-feeling-lonely

Bridge Meaningful Connections

You may have to step out of your “comfort zone” to combat loneliness successfully to create meaningful connections. Some people don’t feel comfortable in social settings, but that is okay. Consider one small step; forget about going from zero to sixty in moments. Being apprehensive is normal and healthy, as some folks have had negative social experiences in the past that linger. Consider these tips to bridge authentic and meaningful connections. 

  • Be you: if you are going to take a chance, leave the facade behind
  • Make eye contact, present relaxed body language 
  • Practice gratitude and empathy: build around these transformative behaviors in earnest when you connect
  • Listen intently to help understand, ask questions, and realize sometimes silence is better than a reply
  • Volunteer: Helping others is a great way to meet like-minded people, and provides an invaluable public service 

Has loneliness affected your life? Any recommendations on how you have dealt with loneliness? Join the conversation by commenting.

(Photos from Unsplash)