How can loneliness spiral down to other negative emotions and/or behaviors?
In my practice as a therapist who utilizes natural and holistic approaches to healing, the feeling of loneliness can be connected to other emotions such as feeling lost, vulnerability/at risk and instability. When one is stuck in a place where they are craving attention or connection, they can place themselves in self-sabotaging situations that will provide temporary relief over long term healthy decision making.
-How can you be alone without feeling lonely?
In today’s wired society, it is very difficult for us to be alone even when we are by ourselves. The constant vibrating of our phones with social media updates does not allow the opportunity to find space to connect with our true selves in the healthiest or deepest manner. I suggest a “happy hour’ to my clients where they pick one hour a day where they disconnect from all technology by turning off their electronics ( phone, iPad,etc) and put it out of sight. I challenge them to find an activity that feels relaxing and rejuvenating, be it a hobby or even just taking a nap.
How can you cultivate independence without feeling lonely or isolated?
At some level, we are all looking for others to acknowledge our existence. It can be through how we dress, the car we drive, the job we hold or even the recreational hobbies in which we participate. I help my clients identify their core values and make value-based decisions which cultivate self worth. This process empowers and promotes healthy decision making as well as cultivating independence without feeling lonely or isolated.
If you’re always alone and prefer it that way, do you even need to try to be more social?
There is a big difference between appreciating solicitude and using it to recharge your battery and fear of having connections with others. I always try to guide my clients to figure out what their core beliefs are about social interactions and what they see are the pros/cons about that. There is no one way to lead our lives. But if lack of social interaction is making you unhappy or preventing you from reaching your core values and goals, then a change or consultation with a therapist may be in order.
How can you make the most of your alone time?
Alone time does not have to mean one has to be unproductive. You can use alone time to disconnect and recharge your batteries or engage in activities which you find personally satisfying. Research has shown that people who create lists accomplish more with their life. Use your alone time to make lists of activities which are important to you and then do them, regardless of whether they involve others or not.
What if you feel lonely despite being surrounded by friends and family?
I see this type of pervasive loneliness a lot if my practice. Often this feeling goes back to the person’s self identity or a sense of disenfranchisement with the perception promoted by friends and family. Other times it has to do with finding justifications to prove how they don’t fit in or are the “black sheep” of their peer group. Regardless, it still comes down to your conscious and unconscious core beliefs that one carries that may be limiting them from having a more enjoyable life.
Is loneliness a choice?
Many factors can influence the decision of feeling alone or feeling fulfilled when by yourself. Often the feeling originates with your family of origin and these spoken or unspoken expectations and messages were reinforced. What unspoken rules have been passed down in your family such as “Unless you are always around your family or friends or unless you are always busy and involved in an activity or group, your life doesn’t have meaning”? I use Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) often to help my clients find these self limiting thoughts and learn to acquire ones that are more empowering.