–A critical question for you: how often do you feel lonely? Not spending time but really feeling isolated and lonely. It happens to all of us from time to time — we find ourselves on our own in a time once we’re craving a relationship with somebody. We feel lonely while we move to a different city or when we are between relationships; once we go home for weekends and we have nobody to spend some time with. We might feel especially cut off once we see all those happy couples and groups of friends out and about and having a fantastic time. The majority of the time, isolation is momentary. It is a temporary feeling, something we all know will pass with time. The loneliness that comes after a break-up or a loss compels us to reconnect with other people. But for lots of us, being lonely is something we believe all of the time, a state of being rather than a momentary matter. And that chronic loneliness can hurt us over time.That is not hyperbole. Beyond the health problems that arise from social isolation, feeling chronically lonely causes changes in us about the cellular level that could suppress our immune system, cause inflammation reactions and leave us more vulnerable to disease and disease. So, how do we overcome that loneliness?Being Lonely Is Not About Being AloneOne of the mistakes we make when we feel lonely is that we assume that solitude corresponds with ourselves. Humans are social creatures after all; it is logical that we associate physical isolation with social isolation. However, once we attempt to combat loneliness, we are apt to attempt and fill that void in our life by surrounding ourselves with people in various ways… many of which do not work. As many a victim of chronic loneliness can tell you, it is entirely possible to be lonely even if you’re in a crowd.Among the most common ways people attempt to fight loneliness is, paradoxically, among the least effective: they charge headlong into relationships.On the surface, it appears like finding a spouse would be an instantaneous loneliness cure. You are sharing your life — or at least portion of it — with another living, breathing person! How is this not a solution to become lonely? Well, because the challenge is not too little physical bodies in your immediate proximity, it is a lack of connections. In actuality, in many studies of adults who report being lonely, 62 percent of them are married and knowingly living with their partner. They might be living together, but their lives are different, devoid of intimacy or affection. Oftentimes, they routinely wind up isolating themselves from one another. Having space is 1 thing; routinely spending some time on the pc or XBox while your partner reads in a different room is a recipe for solitude.For people who treat relationships as a cure-all for being lonely, it is a cruel irony; in attempting to prevent loneliness, they wind up making matters worse.The secret to beating loneliness is not about the amount of those people in your life, it is about the quality of your relations with people. Having a huge array of relations with people means very little when there is no substance to them. Having hundreds or thousands of followers and friends might feel like an embarrassment of riches, but they do not feel”real” to us. They just don’t matter if the vast majority of our interactions involve straightforward”likes” or lol’s or vacuous opinions on Instagram posts.You do not need hundreds or even dozens of friends. You only need a few close confidants. Even three or four powerful social connections can make the difference between being alone and lonely.So how can you do so?Find Your CommunityOne of the keys to your experience is that our drive to belong. Even one of the very solitary introverts, there is a need to locate our group, our tribe, as it had been. It is within that community that we are able to discover the people we could connect with. The interests we share with that community supply commonalities with the other members, among the most significant aspects in connecting with individuals . The key, obviously, is to obtain that neighborhood in the first location. Part of the reason we feel lonely is that we are not certain where to locate our people, particularly as we age. It is easier in high-school and faculty , once you’re all but guaranteed to be surrounded by people in precisely the identical place in life as you. As we age, we no longer need that pool to draw from. Those instantaneous commonalities become thin on the ground.Instead, we must rely on other methods of locating our tribe. Social organizations as varied as motorcycle clubs as well as the Juggalos supply us with the identical feeling of brotherhood and community which was fulfilled by fraternities and sports teams.That’s why you will need to contact your passions. The simplest way to find individuals who make up your tribe would be to participate with the things you love. This will require a certain degree of creativity occasionally. If you are into more solitary pursuits such as writing, coding or art, you need to locate groups or associated meet-ups. Maybe an artist’s pub-crawl? Other times you might have to broaden your horizons. If you reside in a smaller city, you might have to branch into areas which are associated with your interests. You may not find plenty of otaku in your region, but there may be groups devoted to studying Japanese or searching Pokemon.Recall: social media can help with finding your tribe, but do not rely on it exclusively. If possible, you need to be interacting with people in person. Try to locate groups that meet face to face, if at all possible.Don’t go in these groups expecting to immediately find your new best friends… but do not sweat it if you do not bond immediately, either. Those shallow social connections are the way you get started fostering new friendships. Even if the people you meet are not your brothers or sisters, then they may be those to link you to the men and women who are.Another thing to bear in mind: you might have to be the one to take the initiative. If a group matching your interests does not exist, you might as well be the one to make it. Taking an active hand in building your neighborhood forces you to become involved with others and join in ways you may not otherwise.In reality, speaking of becoming active…1 thing that the chronically lonely often have in common: their isolation is partly self-inflicted. It is not intentional; more often than not, we do not recognize how we are shutting others out. As a society, we’ve developed a trend of attempting to dodge social situations if they are not just perfect. We pass going for drinks with our colleagues or getting involved in the workplace Super Bowl party. We bond on families and friends’ group outings and bypass meetings and get-togethers we do not need to visit. Sometimes it’s because we do not feel like we relate to our peers. Other times we fear that we would be awkward or out of place. Sometimes it is a matter of energy; an introvert might only wish to manage so much socializing. Other times we simply prefer to do something different.Irrespective of the motives, we end up in precisely the exact same location. In dribs and drabs, we cut ourselves off from others and send the concept of”do not disturb me,” even when we desperately crave these connections. Without even intending to, we have walled ourselves off from the {} who might attempt to associate with us.If you wish to overcome your loneliness, you need to start breaking yourself from the cycle, even if it’s in tiny ways. You need to be an active participant in your own life and the world around you; people will only try so hard to reach you until they presume that this is how you want it. Well… you get it.Just as you might need to take an active part in finding your tribe, you might need to be the one to find the societal ball rolling. Someone’s got to make the first move. It can as well be you. If people are not inviting you to socialize after work — it is not part of the job culture (yet) — it is possible to make the first move and invite people. You may be the one to suggest or arrange events. It’s wonderful to be encouraged, but you can not count on it. Sure… but then you are in exactly the exact same boat you were previously. You have still taken steps to take charge of your life, rather than living passively.Getting involved in your own life means taking risks to be social. You might need to make awkward small talk initially. There might not be anyone you understand well enough to speak to; that is fine. You might have nothing to say… so just listen instead. Ask questions and get other people speaking.And in a worst case scenario: step outside your day to day life. Get involved in a town beautification project. Work with Habitat for Humanity. Force destiny’s hand and place yourself in the path of social events, rather than waiting for them to come to you.1 issue which truly contributes to feeling lonely is cultural; American culture is extremely hands-off. We treat casual touching out of a romantic relationship as bizarre. This is a comparatively recent development also; casual physical affection between friends used to be the standard. However, as odd as it might sound, the fact that our culture discourages platonic touching can induce feelings of isolation and loneliness through the roof. Touch is in fact shockingly important as a way of connecting and communicating with other people, as well as for basic health. Touch stimulates oxytocin production, while hugging reduces blood pressure. Infants that aren’t touched enough become ill and die; they create a condition called”failure to thrive” and stop growing even when they get adequate nourishment. Touch is also vital in adults, for our health and psychological well-being. And adults are generally the most touch-deprived. Some scientists refer to the psychological withdrawal that comes from a lack of touch as skin-hunger — a need for affection and connection with other people that becomes so intense it may manifest in unusual and frequently maladaptive ways.Many intensely lonely folks seem to find simple human contact in several ways. Virtually every sex worker out there’s customers who only need to be held rather than sex. For men and women that want to overcome their loneliness, a bit more casual contact may be the thing that can help make the difference. Due to cultural practices, most friends do not touch outside of short handshakes or semi-ritualized gestures such as fist pounds or favorable shoulder-checks. Individuals that are touch deprived do have choices, however. Massage therapy, as an instance, can be an important source of comfort for somebody who feels signature deprived. Besides the advantages to muscle system, massage can help the body stimulate oxytocin and aleve feelings of strain and tension. In certain towns, professional cuddling organizations provide platonic1 snuggling for men and women who need it. If this sounds strange to you, think about how disconnected people believe there is a market for this service.But in the end of the day, among the most important things you can do to increase the amount of touching you give and receive is, simply, to mimic the behaviour you wish to see. Becoming more comfortable with giving casual touches, whether easy pats on the arm or hugs amongst friends, helps set the tone among your circle and invites reciprocity. Yes, it may feel a little awkward. However, as with most aspects of overcoming isolation: somebody must make the first move. It can as well be you.Reach OutYou might have seen an overarching theme to these hints: you must be proactive. Just as we would like for other people to see that we are lonely and reach out, we can not rely on others to fulfill our requirements. Frankly, the majority of us are caught up in our own bullshit. We rarely notice what is happening with our friends because we are in our own worlds. If we would like to overcome loneliness, we must make the first move and seek out what we want. It doesn’t have to be a manufacturing, nor do you have to connect with everyone on your life. Quality on your connections is a lot more important that quantity. In this, as in all facets in life, you need to be your personal advocate. Asking for what you want can feel awkward or odd, particularly once you crave a relationship with other people. In practice however, it is easier than you can imagine. Attempting to connect with other people is one of the most primal human needs. Put in the effort to boost the friendships and intimacy you need and you might realize that your lonely days are going to be a thing of the past.This post was formerly published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author. ◊♦◊Have you read the first anthology which was the catalyst for Your Great Men Project? Purchase here: The Great Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood ◊♦◊If you think in the work we’re doing here at The Great Men Project and wish to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, now. All Premium Members get to See The Great Men Project with NO ADS. A whole list of advantages is here.–Photo credit: Istockphoto.com

Being lonely is not about being alone

The article Why We All Feel So Lonely (And How To Overcome It) appeared on The Great Men Project.

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