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Loneliness Is Deadlier Than Chain Smoking – Here Are 12 Ways To Overcome Loneliness

Covid-19, isolation, alone, lockdown, quarantine, suicide,
Covid-19, isolation, alone, lockdown, quarantine, suicide,
Loneliness Is Deadlier Than Chain Smoking -12 Ways To Overcome Loneliness

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the dangers of loneliness and how to overcome it, particularly during Covid-19.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, or pining over your ex? How would you like to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

I Was Wrong About Self Esteem
For 3 decades, self-esteem has been sold as the answer to all social ills, helping you to succeed in life simply by believing you are amazing. But the self-esteem movement has failed. Watch the video for the real solution.

Now, let’s talk about the dangers of loneliness and how to overcome it, particularly during Covid-19.

One of my brothers in Melbourne, Australia, was telling me that a couple of friends of friends had committed suicide since the lockdown. Melbourne is in week 3 of 6 of stage 4 lockdown which also means, “You cannot have visitors or go to another person’s house unless it is for the purpose of giving or receiving care.”

I began to think about some of the catchcries of modern society: ‘Do it on your own! Be independent. Be self-reliant.’

And now in so many countries around the world, we are forced to do it on our own – to be quarantined, locked down, isolated, to avoid touch, and to work from home (for those who have jobs.)

The result is that people are suffering from the loneliness and isolation, and as I will reveal below, loneliness is deadly!

‘Be real. Be authentic. Be yourself.’

More modern day catchcries, and yet, people are suffering and not expressing what they are truly feeling as a result of the loneliness and pain.

Men particularly are suffering because they feel that they lack purpose, don’t know what they are going to do, or they feel that they are disappointing their families because they can’t work or provide. Children are left lost and without direction unsure about their future at school, and again cut off and isolated from their friends, sports and hobbies.

Feeling separated or lonely creates stress on the body and mind. Chronic loneliness leads to chronic stress. It increases inflammation in your body, weakens the immune system, negatively impacts sleep, disrupts the endocrine system, increases blood pressure and risk for heart disease & stroke, causes anxiety, depression and dementia, and shortens your life span.

Before I reveal 12 tips on how to overcome the loneliness, note that the opposite – social connection & belonging – is one of the most important factors for your happiness and health. Strong connections & relationships strengthens your immune system, lowers anxiety and depression, and leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity. (Read Harvard Adult Development Study – One Secret To Health and Happiness  and Don’t Distance, Get Closer Now )

1. Identify the signs of loneliness. Do you feel disconnected, separate, isolated, lacking belonging, cut off, abandoned, stranded, left to do everything on your own, missing affection, trust or emotional intimacy with friends, loved ones or community?

2. Distinguish between isolation and loneliness. Isolation refers to being physically alone and loneliness refers to feeling disconnected. However, the feeling of being isolated (emotionally as well as physically cut off) can lead to feelings of loneliness, particularly with regards to the use of technology. (I address ‘isolation’ below in No. 8)

3. Make meaningful relationships your new priority. At the end of your life, your regrets will not be about power, prestige or possessions, they will be about relationships and wishing you had expressed more love. Watch this video on end of life regrets.

4. Communicate with your friends and express everything you are feeling; go deeper than the anger and frustration. If you want to “be real”, and to “keep it real”, then be open and vulnerable. You will learn that you are not alone in experiencing problems, and you can receive support and give support to your friends.

5. Beware of becoming chronically lonely. How? Notice if you are becoming inclined to withdraw, avoiding even the few invitations to socially connect – in person or via technology. Look for and create opportunities to talk with and connect with people.

6. Create belonging. Revive a sense of belonging by searching for ways to keep your group or network alive or, create a new one. Use technology for now; meet in safe, small groups.

7. Develop the 3 key areas of connections/relationships:
I. Intimate (one-on-one with mutual bonds of trust and affection)
II. Social (friends and companions)
III. Collective (network or community of like-minded people who share your purpose and interests)
Focus on building and maintaining each of those connections. Don’t unrealistically expect your partner to be able to fulfill all of these 3 roles and don’t wait or complain about others not reaching out to you; step out of your ego and comfort zone and initiate the connections/meetings.

8. Heal your issues so you can also enjoy some solitude. The first critical connection and relationship you have is with yourself. Can you enjoy solitude: walk in nature, meditation, prayer, self-reflection, gratitude, moments of calm and quiet? These practices energize and heal you. Seek help for the unresolved issues which present themselves when you are in forced isolation.

9. Spend time each day with the people you love. Dr. Vivek H. Murthy (the 19th Surgeon General of the United States) suggests at least 15 minutes each day.

10. “Focus your attention on the person in front of you!” – Mary Kay Ash. Whenever you connect or are with someone, make it meaningful, be fully present, and make them feel significant – give them undivided attention. “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’”

11. Beware of engaging in acts, messages or posts of hatred which only serve to separate you and create more disconnection, loneliness, anger, and stress.

12. Create meaning and significance for yourself by choosing to help others. Listen, support, give advice when asked, be empathetic and compassionate. Allow others to support you. “Keep it real” and ask for help.

Remember, we are hardwired for connection, to belong and feel significant within the context of relationships and community. It is part of our biology and what keeps us healthy!

If you need help to overcome issues that have arisen as a result of isolation, or the pandemic, or if you need help with fear, anxiety, trauma or the past, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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