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Loneliness isn't an uncommon problem...

Sat, May 20, 2017 at 1:00AM

Loneliness isn’t an uncommon problem, and yet most people are cautious to confess that they have this feeling.

 

We shouldn’t feel ashamed if we’re lonely. Humans are social creatures and most thrive in the company of others.

 

We’re not ‘wired’ to be secluded beings.

 

Having friends makes us happier and healthier both on an emotional level and even our physical health depends on our social interaction with others.

 

Sometimes outside factors result in loneliness; for example, if you moved to a new area and had to start fresh. Just remember there are many things you can do to meet new people and start turning those new acquaintances into real friendships.  All it takes is a smile and handshake (or paw shake).

 

Coping with loneliness:

Get active – find something you enjoy and do it! Keep your mind active. Try a new hobby – painting, photography, hiking, play ball with a furry friend – so many things to choose from!  You can also volunteer at the animal shelter. They always need help there!

 

Know that you are not alone – there is nothing wrong with you if you feel lonely. It happens to the best of us from time to time. Reaching out to a close friend during these periods can be a huge help in getting you out of your slump. Surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself.

 

Enjoy your own company -  Learn not to rely on others for your happiness. True happiness comes from within yourself and remember it helps significantly when you take proper care of yourself; eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep.

 

Find healthier ways to deal with stress - Exercise, meditation, yoga or practice simple breathing techniques. These are all healthy ways to deal with stress.

 

Sit out in the sun – 30 minutes a day is a great way to get a dose of Vitamin D – which can help improve your mood immensely.

 

Try not to worry about “how lonely” you feel – feelings of loneliness come and go during life; this is normal.

 

However, if you’re persistently lonely for no obvious reason, this can be a sign of deeper concern.

 

It could be a sign of depression and something you should talk about with someone, whether it’s to family, a close friend or a counselor.

 

An estimated 350 million people of all ages experience symptoms of depression. 

 

One in 10 Americans now take an antidepressant medication; among women in their 40's and 50's, the figure is one in four.

 

Depression varies from person to person but there are some common signs and symptoms.

 

1 - Feelings of helplessness

2 -Feelings of hopelessness

3 - Loss of interests in daily activities

4 - Appetite change

5 - Weight changes

6 - Sleep changes

7 - Anger or irritability

8 - Self-loathing

9 - Reckless behavior

10 - Concentration problems

11- Rage

12 - Unexplained aches and pains

 

Depression is a major risk factor for suicide.  If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and recognize the warning signs.  A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn't mean that help isn't wanted.

 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA. On average there are 117 suicides per day. For every suicide there are 25 attempts.

 

Things you can do if you have a loved one in need:

Talking to someone you know about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult and awkward feeling for anyone. But if you're unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to just ask them. Don’t beat around the bush, as there may be no time for that…

 

You can't make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the chance to express his or her feelings can provide relief from the loneliness and the pent-up negative feelings, and may help to prevent a suicide attempt.  

 

How you can start that conversation:

Just start by saying “I have been concerned about you lately” or “I have noticed some changes in you, and am wondering if you are OK”.

 

What you can say that helps:

“You are not alone, I am here for you” or “I may not completely understand how you are feeling right now, but I care and want to help you.”

 

If you are unsure how to handle the situation you can always call their local police department to do a wellness check. This precaution comes in handy if you have real concerns and fears about their well-being or if you live too far away from the person and can’t get to them in a timely fashion.

 

You can also call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help 1 (800) 273-8255.

 

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." – Oscar Wilde

 

References:

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  3. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Integrity Health is a franchise company residing in New Hampshire. We specialize in health coaching centers combining fitness with weight loss to optimize and promote optimal health.

 

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