Are You Too Lonely or Just Right Lonely?
Everyone experiences loneliness at some point in life.That is natural, but, when is it a problem?
First, let’s define it. A person can be alone without being lonely. There is great freedom in that!
My thought is that loneliness comes in two primary forms. You may be feeling lonely because of the absence of someone else, or you might feel loneliness because of the absence of connection with your true Self!
A quick web search yielded these definitions.
1. affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone.
2. destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship…support
3. lone; solitary; without company; companionless.
Why Should You Care About Prolonged Feelings of Loneliness?
An article in Psychology Today describes effects of loneliness on health. Loneliness can occur at any age, so don’t quit reading. What is described is true for everyone. However, the effects are profound, particularly for those who have lost a spouse, child or “significant other.” The article says, in part,
Loneliness also represents perhaps the greatest challenge for seniors dealing with the loss of a spouse making it particularly hard to move on with their lives afterward. This can also become a major health risk for seniors. Along with increased depression and risk of suicide, seniors dealing with the death of a spouse are also more likely to engage in risky health behaviour, including smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, failing to care for themselves, or generally becoming more inactive. It’s probably not surprising that loneliness after losing a spouse can also lead to a reduced life expectancy and an increased risk of dementia and other serious health problems.
Seven “Pathways” to Thriving
I found another Psychology Today article, Seven Pathways to Thriving, by Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D. I suggest reading the whole article. It describes character strengths that you may already have. If not, you may choose to develop them to extricate yourself from overwhelming feelings of loneliness. The article focuses on the top seven personal factors or enablers of thriving that they discovered.
1.) Positive perspective ~ “I see the good in the future.”
2.) Religiosity and spirituality
3.) Proactive personality ~ “I try to challenge myself.”
4.) Motivation ~ “I am motivated to grow….Research shows people are motivated by their naturally occurring strengths, talents, and interests.”
5.) Knowledge and learning
6.) Psychological resilience ~ “….What helps you become more resilient? Perseverance – the capacity to keep going, to overcome obstacles. Other important factors include hope, gratitude, forgiveness, spirituality, curiosity, and kindness.”
7.) Social competence ~ “….The building of social competence matters here, such as skills of peaceful conflict resolution, awareness and appreciation of other cultures, and interpersonal skills.”
Changing Decor is One Thing You Can Do About Loneliness Without Leaving Your Own Home
This may sound corny, but it might help you. Change and redecorate your surroundings. As you change the interior, physically, you change the interior of your mind. The more creative you become, the freer and more constructively absorbed you will feel. You can start simply or go the whole Feng Shui route. Here’s a link to get basic Feng Shui concepts.
Hint for easy “fixes:” fresh paint, silk flowers, candles, pillows, paintings or photos, seasonal wreaths, and using new colors or soft lighting are great tools for changing the ambiance of a room and the mood which then envelops you.
During a time when I lived alone, on a mountain far away from my friends, I developed my natural tendency to transform things. For example, I changed the shower curtain, towels, and rugs in accordance with the season or more often, if inspired. In Spring, I might use a soft lavender theme. Alternatively, the room could be bathed (pardon the pun) in Easter pink, mint green, and yellow. In summer, I tend to use a seascape theme or white with red poppies to spice things up.
Choose a Theme – for the Home or for a Room
For a master bedroom, I have chosen a “Peacock” theme.That works great in the Fall. I have peacock paintings, cups, candles, etc. Later, I may change it to Winter White. Everything that was turquoise now is white – bedspread, rugs, pillows, dresser coverings, candles. Then, I might accent it with black as in the picture below.
Sometimes I use fancy Christmas tree skirts as tablecloths for small round tables. I have been known to use cloth shower curtains as bedspreads to get the color or pattern I want. Wreaths and silk flowers are not just for Christmas. Get creative! Go with the flow of your instincts.
For example, this year, I started decorating my living room with traditional Fall colors and objects for the Thanksgiving holiday. Suddenly, I found I had switched the entire decor to African art. I just went shopping in my own house to see what I had and how to mix it all up.
You may find you get comfortable and your energy has returned, replacing the apathy created by loneliness. That is a good time to reach out to others who share similar interests and to begin to get back into the social swing of things. You could do that through Meetup.com (where you enter your zip code and interests to find groups nearby) or by attending trade shows on interior decorating. You could simplly talk with family and friends to get started. Whatever works for you….
I could do a lengthy article about this, but this blog already is too long. So, share your decorating ideas or other ideas about overcoming loneliness. I’d love to hear from you. Also, please contact me if you are interested in taking my class about Loneliness or any of my other business and personal/spiritual growth classes.
Let’s Get Well, Stay Well, Live Well, and Change Our Lives Together Now!