Tom is one who loved boasting that he has 2000 Facebook friends in his Facebook friend list. He was a Facebook star in his network. But one day when he realized he is seriously sick and needs advanced treatment, he needed his friends' support and help to bring him medicines, support with dinners or lunches and also sit with him sometimes and just listen or talk.
Unfortunately that was the time when hardly any of those Facebook friends came to help him. It was only his girlfriend and mother who were running out and about supporting him and caring for him.
This is nothing new, I have myself seen this happening to many people in my network. Therefore there is also a proverb which goes, ‘ A friend in need is a friend indeed ‘
We can see in our daily lives that more and more people do not find help when they actually need it. Gone are the days when you could pour your heart out to a neighbor or a friend with just a cup of tea in exchange.
Interestingly now, I often still remember when I was 6 years old, that my mother used to drop me at my neighbor’s house when she used to go pick up my younger sister from school and I used to happily eat, sleep, play at their house without missing my mom and my Mom too could drop me without feeling guilty at all.
But in the last few years, I have seen this changing drastically. Nobody helps or spends time with anyone just for fun without expecting something in return. There is always an ulterior motive. We are now in the age of covid times where we have to schedule a zoom call in order to discuss something. Gone are the days when we used to call people to wish on their birthdays. When Facebook reminds us, we then just type a comment ‘hbd* and we feel we did our part.
That is given birth to loneliness on various levels in our lives. It has creeped in our lives without us knowing and now has started seeping deep into our souls too.
Loneliness is a part of our lives. But we do not talk about it. In our lives, we are lonely from time to time but we never talk or discuss this topic.
In the current times and age, We can say that we have so many friends but it is difficult to find that one friend or individual with whom you can share everything you are going through without putting on an artificial mask.
Loneliness is an unspoken disease which is spreading faster and unfortunately nobody shares this or tries to find a solution for it.
I am here to tell you that Loneliness can kill you not literally but slowly with time. Several studies have found out that loneliness and social isolation can cause early death. You can read more along these lines here
So how do we tackle or handle Loneliness in our lives ? How do we come out of it and go back to being happy and have healthy relationships with ourselves and others?
There are some short term and long term steps which you can take to tackle with this problem.
Short Term Strategies:
Be present: Thinking too much about the future or past can make you anxious and then you fall into a spiral of negative emotions. So try thinking only of the present and what you are supposed to do only that particular day.
Indulge in Activities: Everyone has something they love and finding that one thing and indulging in that will keep you sane and also divert your mind.
Self compassion: We hear so many people and internet users telling us to love ourselves. But do we follow them ? NO. We still are hard on ourselves and from time to time punish ourselves for not achieving desired goals. It is high time we start being kind to ourselves and appreciate our efforts.
Stay away from negative triggers: I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to keep positive influences around you only. Anything or anyone which gives you unnecessary negative energy or put you down, Please stay away from them. It is rightly said that you are the sum of your 5 friends around you. I couldn't agree more.
Friendship: Though it's tough to find good and true friends who really care about you, still I urge you to have a few close friends around from whom you get positive vibes and energy. Usually, our childhood friends and early life friends are the most trustworthy and they have good intentions in mind about you. Stay in touch with them or re establish connection with them and I am sure you will find a life long relationship once again.
Pets: If you are a pet lover, get pets. Pets are very loyal and true stress busters. Caring and helping someone other than yourself takes your mind off and gives you purpose and happiness in life.
I am sure these strategies will surely help you combat loneliness but if you feel it's gone deep and this is not helping, then you can resort to severe measures and help yourself.
Long term strategies:
Have a Good routine: Having a routine is the best thing you could have and this will help immensely for you to have a schedule for yourself so your body and mind knows what to expect next and not end up wondering what to do next.
Join a community : There are several communities either on Facebook or other social media where there are many who are facing similar problems and can support you and it's a safe place us.
There are many websites today as well that provide you with a platform to ask a question and get answers to them from experts as well people who should be able to help. one such website is Quora, the best place that you can get intelligent answers. If you are lucky enough, you can even get internationally renowned experts from particular fields who will provide you answers. We on this very website provide a space for you to ask your questions as well.
Positive Self Talk: It matters a lot on how you talk to yourself. Usually we tend to talk negatively or imagine the worst things about us and I think many times we have such limiting beliefs about us that we always stop ourselves from excelling in certain things. We need to be kind and loving to ourselves, use positive affirmations daily and see the difference and link.
Mindfulness Meditation: Being still and staying in the present is so difficult. The mind wants to be anywhere and everywhere except the present. It is extremely hard to make your mind stay in the present. There are several apps available these days to help you with guided motivation where you are taught to mediate and be in the present. Some of my favorites are headspace and calm. This will help you to learn to focus on breathing and to stay in the present and not think about the past or worry about the future.
There is nobody who loves you more than yourself. So Taking action and making positive changes in your life will make a huge difference and help you succeed in your well being and conquer your personal battles. If non of these work, taking initiative to ask for help from a therapist is also equally important and today people are more aware of the benefits and are supportive of the need for therapy sessions. You can book a free call with us and we can explore how we can help you through our therapy sessions.