“Half of Americans view themselves as lonely,” said David Cordani, president, and CEO of Cigna Corp. “I can’t help but be surprised [by that].” (Cigna is an NPR sponsor and a major provider of health insurance for NPR employees.)
The latest surveys also found something surprising about loneliness in the younger generation: .”..”the younger generation was lonelier than the older generations,” said Dr. Douglas Nemecek, the chief medical officer for behavioral health at Cigna in a recent article about their research into loneliness.
Younger people have been trained to expect happiness. They have also been taught to expect that others will know, understand and “appreciate” them. False expectations, And added to by being overpraised when young, being constantly told you can be anything you want to be, and that work is doing what makes you happy.
Moreover, the younger set is frequently told to abandon “toxic” relationships. Given the above, that usually means any relationship that does not make you “happy.”
Then the media emphasizes loneliness rather than helping all to live the good life despite being alone. Why? Emphasizing our aloneness sends us searching for solutions; the sellers hawk their products as able to end sadness and loneliness. Lies.
A Brute Fact of Life: Loneliness is built into the human condition.
Another Brute Fact of Life happiness is a gift, not a guarantee.
As Priscilla Leonard noted in her poem Happiness:
Shattered, scattered far and near.
Tip one: Expect less, enjoy more
One of my favorite quotes is from the book Microbe Hunters about medical researchers. The quote, “Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.” Impossible not to have some expectations, but useful to keep them as tied to reality as possible.
Tip two: Convert loneliness into solitude, meaning time to learn the art of being alone with you.
Not easy but possible. It starts with quieting negative self-talk. Use the Emotional Fitness Exercise called Sloganeering. Slogans shut down negative self-talk. Think of the power of Nike’s “Just Do It.”
You need four or five slogans as some situations call for one and other situations for another. To Sloganeer take a long slow breath in, hold it for at least five seconds, then breathe out slowly. While breathing this way, silently repeat an appropiate slogan to yourself. Here are some sample slogans:
Enjoying what I have been given
Now is not forever
Tip three: Strengthen your Emotional Intelligence
That is what my posts are all about. Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss any. Not familiar Emotional Fitness Exercises? Go here to learn more.
Tip four: Get creative
That means finding a hobby that produces a product of one sort or another. Adult coloring is a big craze now. I’m into it and then I turn my coloring efforts into origami peace cranes that I give away.
Tip five: Play
Not competitively, but for fun. Preferably, something that involves moving your body. and gets you outside. However, there are other ways of playing. There’s chess, bridge, mahjong. And, I love puzzles of all kinds online and offline. And for me there is always reading and host of adventurers to pursue via the written word.
Tip six: More may be needed
Sometimes professional help is needed, If loneliness drives you to thinking of harming yourself, if not of the tips above help, support groups or therapy. Then there is always the suicide helpline. They are there 24/7 to can help you figure out more you might need to get and stay emotionally strong. Here’s the USA number: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255. You don’t need to be holding the pills in your hand tor loading a gun to call them.
Thank you for all you do
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Links Of Interest
Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
- An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents (amazon.com