Technology has given us a constant circle of friends. From Facebook to Instagram, we are connected to a world where we can learn about Sally’s son’s graduation and Bob’s broken toe. We are woven together by social media. Chained as one by our cell phones, computers, and even our TVs, we live in a technology-driven world where it’s hard to find a time when we are truly alone.
Yet, it’s amazing how many people are lonely.
Now, I’m not talking about depression or insecurity here. I’m talking about loneliness: without friends, alone. Loneliness can certainly bring out insecurity or depression, but let’s talk about what we can do to fix feeling lonely before it crashes into depression.
Human’s are social beings.
You know that.
I know that.
The founders of social media know that.
Because we are social beings, we like to interact with the world around us. Sometimes our lives don’t work out the way we plan, and we find ourselves sitting on a bench, alone and feeling lonely.
Here are two fixes to help when lonesome comes to call.
1- Live in the Present Moment
That sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not that easy, which is why we often unknowingly open the door for lonely.
It’s so easy to let our minds drift back to the past. Too often when we do that, we aren’t remembering the good old days, but we are stuck on an event involving trauma or sadness. It consumes our minds to the extent that we are unable to focus on the here and now.
It’s not just the past that plagues our minds but also the future. We can become consumed by anticipating events that may or may not happen. All the “what ifs” that clutter our minds keep us away from what is going on right in front of us.
Letting go or moving on from past and future events doesn’t diminish the significance of the events. It allows us to live in the now and live more fully.
How do we let go?
The best way I have found is by calming my mind down through meditation and breathing exercises. Sometimes, a good long run also helps me because I am focused on my breathing and the steady cadence of my feet. If I can’t run, I often meditate or practice breathing exercises.
You can find meditations on the Sattva app and breathing exercises (also known as pranayamas) here.
When we sit on that bench and our mind is in the present, we allow ourselves to experience life more richly.
We begin to notice the person who just walked by us, smiled and said hello as he walked his dog.
We notice the person who sat on the bench with us and talked for 15 minutes.
We notice the birds, butterflies, squirrels or myriad of life that just circled around us.
When we are in the present, we realize we aren’t alone.
Still not feeling connected enough to brush lonesome off? Then, move to fix-it number 2.
2- Go Do Something Nice for Someone.
Have you heard the old saying, “When you give to the well of life, you get from the well of life?”
Helping others is a way to give to the well of life.
When you help others, you certainly aren’t alone, you are helping people. Helping others can elevate your mood as well as the mood of those you are helping. When you help others, you are forced to interact with people in a positive way. Most of the time, positive interaction grows more positive interaction.
But what can I do, you may be asking right now?
Keep it simple, and help where help is needed.
Go help stock food at your local Food Donation Center.
Volunteer at your child’s school, or your local church, synagogue, or temple.
Did someone in front of you at the grocery store just drop her grocery bag? Then, stop, and help her.
Is someone facing a grave illness? Then, take time to lend your ear. Helping isn’t about giving money. Sometimes helping someone in crisis involves showing that there is another person in the world that cares.
When you lift someone else’s burden of emotional isolation that a grave illness can create you become stronger. When you offer help, you are letting that person know she is not alone, which in turn makes you realize, “Hey, I’m not alone either.”
Ultimately, we are all in this technology-crazed, (at times dysfunctional) yet always beautiful, world together. Kick lonesome to the curb by living in the moment and helping others.