“Loneliness is one of the most painful emotional experiences of the human condition”. ─ Henegar Counseling Center.
Studies show loneliness significantly increases the rate of death and physical ailments. And, as we age loneliness will impact our lives more and more. Our children will grow and start their careers and independent lives, our companions may be lost to death, and our friends become sparse; isolation will naturally become more prevalent. Because we know humans thrive when connected and as we age much of our community is lost, maintaining a village of support is of greater importance.
At the core of all human experience is a need for human connection. We naturally want to be connected to one another and creating a community of support throughout life is essential in warding off loneliness. The best way to connect with one another at any stage in life is to find things of common interest. If you find yourself wondering how to meet people or what to do in your free time, you’re among the millions who are struggling with periods of loneliness or isolation.
Here are some ways you can connect with others and reduce feelings of loneliness:
- Think of things you enjoy, for example, biking, knitting, reading, or tennis. Search out local groups in your area, join the group and before you know it you will be connecting with others who share your common interests.
- If there are things, you have always wanted to learn but never took the time such as learning a new language, computer skills, dance or cooking; this could be an opportunity for human connection. Contact your local college or community centers and take a class. While expanding your mind, you will have a chance to make some new friends.
- Volunteerism is a great way to give back while also receiving. Every community has programs available such as “lunch buddies” or literacy tutoring through local school system; there are local food banks, women’s resource centers, environmental preservation or habitat for humanity. You can choose opportunities to help you give back as you connect and gain friends.
- There is a fantastic online service called meetup.com you can find hundreds of interest groups in your local area. Take a chance; put yourself out there and make a new friend. It won’t just serve you; it will also serve another.
- Churches, theaters, and community events are available in every city which is a welcoming opportunity to join with others.
We are in a world of over seven billion people; there are endless opportunities to connect with others. None of us should ever experience loneliness. Community and connection; that’s the cure for loneliness. And the beauty of outreach is while you are reaching out to others to resolve your own loneliness, you, in turn, are curing the loneliness of another.
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