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REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE – YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID

June 15, 2013
Crowd of People

Crowd of People

Have you ever walked into a room filled with wall-to-wall people yet felt an overwhelming sense of emptiness? Most of us have, and we label that frame of mind as loneliness. It is a feeling of solitude, or being alone, associated with a feeling of being unwanted. When we feel lonely, we crave human contact, but ironically, it is more difficult to form these contacts with other people when we’re lonely.

The reason we may feel lonely has to do with our perception of being alone and isolated. Being in the middle of a crowd of people on New Year’s Eve at Times Square will do nothing to prevent the perception of being alone if someone feels down on themselves and is a ‘lonely’ state of mind. It is a universal emotion but very unique and individual at the same time.

A person can feel lonely because a person they were very close to dies, or because they may have a hard time making friends. Both cases cause a feeling of emptiness, aloneness and feelings of being unwanted. Research indicates that genetics may play a strong part in our feeling lonely. Physical isolation or moving to a new location can cause feelings of loneliness. So can an unresolved divorce and death. And depression can cause deep feelings of worthlessness, low esteem and loneliness.

Loneliness

Loneliness

As with many negative emotions, loneliness can affect a person’s mental and physical health. People who experience loneliness may also feel more stressful, have more heart health issues and develop a weaker immune system. It has been found that lonely adults also consume more alcohol and get less exercise than people who do not report feeling lonely. This can cause acceleration in their aging process. Loneliness can decrease focus causing memory and learning problems and poor decision-making.

Disturbingly, studies show that we have become more lonely over the past 30 years. Our increase in technology and the ability to connect with others may be having a negative impact on our feeling close to others. Although we most likely communicate with many more people in the course of a day than we did 30 years ago, the quality of our connection to these people has lowered. We don’t report feeling as connected to other people nearly as much as we used to.
But all is not lost. There are things we can do to help us reverse the road to loneliness.

Alone on the Beach

Alone on the Beach

1. Loneliness is a sign that something needs to change. Recognize this fact and commit to making the necessary changes to enhance the quality of your life.

2. Learn to recognize and acknowledge the negative effects loneliness can have on you physically and mentally. Take care not to let yourself slip into the cycle of spiraling downward due to feeling this way.

3. Consider volunteering in your community or getting involved with another activity that you enjoy. The goal here is to meet new people and develop new friendships so you can start interacting again socially.

4. Seek out others who share similar interests and values as you do. Focus on developing quality relationships with them. The key word here is QUALITY. We are not looking to increase the number of friends you have on Facebook, you are looking for meaningful, quality contacts and relationships.|

5. It is easy to begin to expect rejection when you feel lonely. Combat this by expecting the best and focusing on positive thoughts and attitudes in your social relationships.

Loneliness doesn’t disappear by itself. There are constructive, positive steps to take to combat this destructive frame of mind.

Reach out and touch someone. You’ll be glad you did!

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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2 Comments
  1. Sue Suwak Herman permalink

    JudeeAnn you are doing a great job and I am proud of you and your work!

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