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8 Ways You Can Help Fight the Loneliness Epidemic

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“The antidote to loneliness is not just being indiscriminate around random people, the antidote to loneliness is emotional safety.” ~Benedict Wells

emotional security. The feeling of being at home in front of others. Who you are is safe in good times and bad. Feel watched, see the other person clearly, and accept all their lovely messes. It’s a good one and can be hard to find.

In fact, the ever-growing loneliness statistic has led many experts to describe the problem as an epidemic.you might speculate that it is due to breadDemic, but that was a crisis long before lockdowns and social distancing.

In 2018, Cigna investigation It found that 54% of US adults are lonely, already at prevalent levels. Since then, he jumped to 61% in 2019, with three out of five Americans reporting feeling lonely, where he now stands at 58%. we have a big problem. And it’s not just the fact that you feel disconnected from others or uncomfortable with having no one to talk to.Research also shows that it is also bad for our health.

Having lived 37 years without knowing I had autism, I spent most of my life hiding (masking) who I was to feel truly connected and seen. I couldn’t. As such, I have become very accustomed to feeling lonely for most of my life, even though I used to socialize frequently.

However, I was surprised at how much worse it got in 2015 when health issues forced me to completely disconnect from my daily life. At first, the infrequent interaction with others was a much-needed relief, but after a few months things took a turn for the worse. I was communicating with people I barely knew, sometimes it took months.

When I started talking to people I thought were close to me at the time, I often felt so sad that I was no longer allowed to talk about my life.Very disgusting. Only positive vibes.)

Even with the support of a therapist, I felt so alone with what I was going through that my life didn’t matter. Society puts a lot of emphasis on visual comfort and as a result most people don’t know how to make room for the hard stuff. We are not taught that we are ready. Instead, a common example is to repress and distract.

Compassion seems to have determined that it is inefficient and clumsy, instead honoring gentle insensitivity as a virtue. I feel unsafe talking about being alone. Of course, this creates loneliness.

Ultimately, after five years of dealing with severe health and life trauma in isolation, I was diagnosed with autism. This was amazing in many ways, but also to the point where it was too much to handle with the help of online groups and telemedicine therapists alone. I had dozens of other clients. It was too much to handle and I had a nervous breakdown.

After that, I admitted that I need to work harder to find someone I can find regularly. bona fide Connect with It took me a while, but I finally found my matching friends by reaching out to people I didn’t really (yet) know very well, but met in very authentic situations.

Talking and connecting with them on a daily basis changed my life. I’m still homebound for health reasons and it’s still hard, but 95% of the time I just don’t feel like I can just stay afloat, despite the lack of human company. I now feel warmly and safely connected, seen and understood.

An honest assessment of whether or not someone has the bandwidth to connect on a regular basis and knowing how to hold the kind of safe and emotional space that is needed is the people that make me who I am. It was the first step to have a consistent connection with A relationship that provides precious and hard-to-find emotional security — gradually replacing my loneliness with connecting perspective, understanding, and acceptance.

If your honest self-evaluation leads you to the same conclusion that you need to face this loneliness, striving for this kind of genuine connection can do the same for you.

8 Ways to Fight the Loneliness Epidemic

1. Assess your needs honestly.

are you sad? What does it take to feel socially connected? Which interactions wear you out, and which ones lift you up and make you feel lonely? Do you feel safe being with the people in your life and being yourself? What are the characteristics of the person who gave it to you?

2. Reach out (and reach out).

Once you know what you need, reach out to someone who makes you feel relaxed and comfortable being alone and see if they want to catch up. Maybe they’re depressed because of it, maybe not, but give it a try.

If you really don’t know anyone you can trust to tell the truth, try joining a like-minded activity group or using a platonic friend-finding app. If they reach out, don’t let fear stop you from reaching out.

3. Set boundaries and respect them.

What you need from someone and what they can provide may not mesh. It’s important to understand that some of us are used to having open and potentially vulnerable conversations, while others prefer to stick to shallower waters. is the same.

It’s okay to prioritize time with people you connect with in a harmonious way, and distance yourself when necessary. Life is very tough and people are limited in what they can do, so don’t take it personally when people can’t meet your needs.

4. Practice “Holding Space”.

Make sure you’re really in the right place to listen and confirm that you’ve understood or been understood (we rely too much on misleading non-verbal communication).

Learning to stay in the moment — to resist bias, to go into judgment and correction mode — is essential to making genuine connections in your life (which includes acknowledging your own honest and difficult feelings). (including reserving space for

It can be intimidating to take up space or ask someone out, but you need to get over your social fear of an awkward experience. If it leads to connection, growth and clarity, isn’t it worth it?

5. Resist pressure to rely on small talk.

It can be tempting to stick to the little things, but it’s not without its harm. I agree with making small talk. Natasha Lyonne Shared on the early February episode of Late night with Seth Meyers:

“I don’t believe it. I actively say I don’t like it. I think it’s damaging society as a whole…as John Lennon said, tell me the truth.” I think it’s really dangerous to ask people, “How are you doing?” Their only option is to actively lie, right? ”

Especially since it often happens even in relationships that are considered close, the expectation of having a pleasant conversation is isolating.

6. Gossip does not count as connections.

In the same interview, Myers battles small talk as a segue to shit, and Lyonne suggests that instead of telling other people’s stories, it might be possible to segue into other stories (she , suggesting inanimate objects, which I don’t like).

Our society relies too much on gossip. People often rely on it to judge the trustworthiness of others, but this is a fact that has always been manipulated. You know that relying on is not strictly a science.

A real conversation with direct questions can be intimidating. Also, gossip is not a connection. It might feel like a fleeting togetherness like “we hate them” but you know your shit-talking cohorts are talking almost you also. it’s fake. If gossip is the dominant mode of conversation, you’re just flapping your jaws.

7. Reflect and clarify your feelings.

Not understanding why you feel lonely makes it much harder to deal with. So it’s a shame that introspection is so undervalued in our society (sometimes ridiculed, but it’s obvious).

Becoming aware of your emotions and being able to express your feelings is key to reducing loneliness. To quote sociologist Brené Brown, “The more difficult it is for us to articulate our experiences of loss, longing, and loss to those around us, the more isolated and lonely we feel. increase.”

Without words to describe emotional experiences, emotional communication becomes unfamiliar, but gaining emotional awareness and vocabulary makes such connections possible.

Importantly, many of us have been taught that emotions such as anger and fear are not good, so we need to know that it’s okay to feel whatever we feel. they are. using tools like wheel of emotionsNot only can , journaling, and therapy be of great help, but opening up to someone you trust and holding space when they open up to you.

8. Know (and love) yourself and make genuine connections.

Find a relationship that made you feel supported in a way that you need to spend more time getting to know yourself than you thought you would. It took a lot of self-reflection and, ironically, solitude to find the self-acceptance needed to find true support.

To quote Brené Brown again: It is something we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between her two if it exists between them.

When it comes to how to develop self-love, I believe that all love comes from gratitude. Many of us find it most difficult when it’s directed in our direction. Whether you’re mindlessly scrolling through articles on websites like this one or asking for a connection instead of your favorite escape, you’ll appreciate the effort you put into choosing to grow. And on top of your efforts, acknowledge your needs. You deserve love (whole you).

Fostering self-reflection and emotionally safe relationships is inherently vulnerable, but our social norms urge us to move away from it. I have the same security as you (if I am lucky enough to get some compensation).

Therapy can be very helpful, but as one of the many clients on a roster of therapists, emotional support shouldn’t be found primarily at a price. We need emotional tools for

And in addition to our individual efforts towards true connection, as a society we have a mass that recognizes the cost of collective loneliness and knows how to be there for each other in good times and bad. It’s time to learn how to make room for authentic connection in our lives and relationships. can be done.

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