From Hurt To Healing

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Ronica Arnold Branson, Ph.D. | Feeling Lonely?
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Feeling Lonely?

Aug 30 2019

Feeling Lonely?

“Sometimes you need to be alone. Not to be lonely, but to enjoy your free time being yourself.” -Anonymous

Some say there are two things that are certain, death and taxes. One we know for sure and another we may want to add to the list, Loneliness. Loneliness is a part of the human experience. At one point or another, we all experience it, whether we are forced to or whether we  choose isolation for personal reasons. The problem with loneliness is that it can be a very uncomfortable feeling, but what we know is that it is only temporary. Think about it, what was your most recent experience with loneliness or isolation? Did it last forever? Did the intensity remain the same, or were you able to gradually get some relief? 

So the question that many of us ask is, what can you do when you feel lonely or isolated? Some would argue that alone time is needed. First to help one to grow as an individual, and for others solitude may foster a deeper appreciation for having the company of others., if we didn’t experience the loneliness, we wouldn’t appreciate the bonds and time that we so often take for granted. Others would disagree. 

Each person is unique and will respond to feelings of loneliness and isolation differently, often as a result of the way they one responds to their attachments and how they engage with others on an regular basis. One person may happily shut others out, while another might  long desperately to be surrounded by others. Usually the response or reaction is is dependent upon a person’s level of attachment with others and may be rooted in other past experiences and thoughts.

Some key tips to remember when feeling lonely are:

(1) Practice Positive Thinking. 

In order to live a joyful life, we must practice positive thinking, even during times of loneliness and isolation During these times, positive thoughts can help one to move through this often temporary feeling of isolation.. Within the past twenty years there has been a resurgence of what we know as positive psychology.“The mind is everything. What you think you become, Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think) and many others that to are too numerous to name. Think for a minute. What if you turned all of those negative thoughts that you are having, into something more positive? How might your hurt be different now? Would it still feel so sharp or would you be moving even closer into the realm of healing that you so deeply desire? 

Although you may feel lonely right now, you must remember that it doesn’t last always. It also doesn’t have to be painful or scary. Yes, there are some things that you have no control over, but there are some things that you do. One is your attitude and the other is your response to the situation. Attitude affects your altitude. During these times, as yourself, what are you focused on? and what are some things that you can do to use this time alone wisely? You can either look at this time in your life as an unfair situation, or you can look at it as a catalyst for positive change. There are many people who believe that everything happens for a reason. How can you use this situation for good?

(2) No man is an island.

Let’s face it, no matter how bad you want to, no matter how much you think you’ve got it taken care of, you need other people. Times of isolation and/or feeling lonely can help one to recognize the importance of such relationships. We were not put here to do life on our own. Adam did need a companion, the animals that boarded Noah’s ark needed a mate, babies can’t survive without the love and care of a caregiver. What makes you any different? Even though you think you might be alone, you are not. Even though your family, your loved ones, your closest friends might not be with you at this time, or you may be feeling this way temporarily, there is still someone out there who cares. You may not see it, you may think that you are alone, but believe me, you are not. The person you least expect is there for you. The person you refuse to call wants to be there for you. The person you haven’t even met yet, can walk into your life and give you the support you never knew you had. So what must you do? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what friends are for.

A support system is defined as a network or group of people who provide someone with practical, spiritual, emotional, financial, or inspirational help, just to name a few. There are people all around who can serve as a part of your support network. Friends, family, others who have experienced what you’re going through, health care staff, specialized workers caregivers, support groups, colleagues, co-workers, clergy. These are just a list of the more obvious and common supports. The main thing is that you get the help that you need at the most critical time that you need it. Sometimes, men may be afraid to open up, because of the risk of being needy or vulnerable. This can be furthest from the truth. It is time to break these patterns. In order to live a happy, more peaceful and meaningful life, you must be willing to take that chance. 

The benefits of having a support system or network are multi-faceted and can open the door for other resources that you may need in order to get to where you are trying to go. Support systems can be instrumental in providing physical, emotional, psychological, informational, and sometimes even financial support. Time and time again, studies have concluded that social support systems or networks can contribute to greater psychological well-being and emotional wellness. Support systems can promote a sense of comfort for the person, knowing he/she is not alone in this hurtful situation. It can also raise one’s self-esteem and instill a sense of safety and comfort knowing that you have someone there and that you are not going through this alone. 

Just remember, no man is an island and think about if you were stranded on one, how lonely would that be? Yes, there may be times when you don’t feel like talking, entertaining, or socializing, but you can’t make this a part of your normal routine. It’s just not healthy. It is totally normal to ask for help. Yes, you probably could get through this on your own, but wouldn’t it be a little bit easier if you knew you had someone you talk to or someone who would listen.

(3) Live, Laugh, Love and Have fun.

And yes, you can do this by yourself. Many assume that they need others to be happy, but some of the greatest gifts can come as a result of time that you spend with yourself. Whether it’s taking the time for self care, or celebrating you and the hard work that you do and give as a husband, father, friend or colleague. Men, especially, don’t often feel the need to celebrate their accomplishments. Everyday, celebrate even the smallest wins. You worked overtime this week, you finished the project that you’ve been working on for two weeks, you made it to two of your daughter’s soccer games, this week, and on time. These small wins turn into bigger wins, which add relevance to your life and the lives of those around you.

(4) Show gratitude.

Yes, be thankful that you can see the sun, the rain, the moon, and the stars coming through those windows, but it also helps to get out of that room (if you can, when you can) and experience the beauty of nature. It’s nothing like it. When you have been confined for so long, you learn to appreciate the little things. Hearing the birds sing, feeling the cold grass on your feet, feeling the wind blow, taking a deep breath. These little things that we so often take for granted turn into big things when you don’t have access to them anymore. So enjoy the little things. It doesn’t cost a thing to walk outside and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Things may not be going exactly the way you want them right now, but do you realize that you are exceptionally blessed to be here on this day, alive in this moment. There is someone that was here yesterday and gone today. Can you really let that resonate. For many of us, life is a mystery, but most importantly life is a gift. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. As you know life is filled with many challenges, ups and down, but that’s all a part of our journey. Don’t let the pain front the past, hinder your happiness for today and the future. You can find joy in life. Your attitude determines your altitude. Do you want to stay in this state of lowliness and/or loneliness or do you want to rise above and live again. 

(5) Get Involved In Something Bigger than Yourself & Give Back.

During times of loneliness, you can do something that will make a difference in the life of others. Do something that will help you get your mind off of your own situation and on to someone else’s. So how can you get involved, how can you help? There are many things that you can do to help. When you get involved you are more likely to take your mind off of your own problems, at least for a while, and put your mind on other things. You are less likely to focus on your own situation when you’re helping others to heal. Volunteer. What about spending some time with kids and mentor younger kids or adolescents. Get back involved in the things that you enjoy, your hobbies: writing, fishing or photography. During these times, you can spend this time being productive. Why not donate some clothes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Share your talents. Can you play the piano, sing, play an instrument, someone at a nursing home would love to have you come in and spread a little joy. If you have someone who will listen, share your life story. Write your life story. You would be amazed how much your message could touch someone else’s life.

In conclusion, although many may look at loneliness as a not so positive thing, think of all of the benefits that you can make in your life as well as the life as others when you do have free time alone as us that time wisely. 

For additional resources get in touch with Dr.Ronica by calling (601) 622-1393  or emailing or contact your local mental health provider

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