Wise thinking leads to right living; Stupid thinking leads to wrong living. Fools on the road have no sense of direction. The way they walk tells the story: “There goes the fool again!”Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 MSG
Whether you are alone in a crowded room or struggling in isolation trying to connect with real people, loneliness is something we all face at different times in our lives. How you choose to handle it can change the course of your entire future. There are predators right now banking on you getting it wrong.
Loneliness is a dangerous place because we want connection so desperately that we often bend our rules to get it. In today’s post, we will talk about the dangers to avoid and some positive ways to tackle loneliness when it comes.
If it is a normal part of life, how is loneliness dangerous?
Loneliness becomes dangerous when it is coupled with isolation, bad thoughts, and negative influences.
In isolation, we tell ourselves we are ugly and unlovable. We build up others to be our arch nemesis, and we seek retribution. In extremes, this plays out as gun violence, suicide, online scams, and so much more.
Is it really extreme to connect loneliness to violent, tragic behavior? I think not.
A recent study found that loneliness brought on by social isolation can profoundly alter one’s brain chemistry, shorten longevity, and even bring the onset of serious illnesses. Another study argues that suicide rates are increasing since all the social isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Suicide and social isolation are now considered public health crises.
4 Ways to Counteract Loneliness
Read The Bible
When your heart is discouraged and your mind fills with negative thoughts, the Word of God is living and active to cut through the noise.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Reading Scriptures that encourage you to take control of your thoughts and think positively will help you keep perspective in the hard times of life.
Meet People In Real Life
As long as you are being careful, there is nothing wrong with having friends online. Several friends I dearly care for are online, overseas, and in places where I may never see them in person. With that being said, I reserve my deepest friendships for those whom I can see in person.
I think it is important to be able to trust others in person. I don’t tell my personal business to the entire world—even if I do get quite transparent here to all of you. The truths I struggle with on a daily basis, I talk to a few close friends about.
Some people have social anxiety. Some are afraid of meeting others because of Covid-19 and all its variants. Bottom line: you can’t let fear control you. Challenge yourself to do something different that makes you meet others.
Get A Hobby
If you struggle to meet others, the easiest way to do so is through your hobbies. Find something to do that is not isolating you or keeping you online.
If your hobby is gaming, look at what you like about that game and how you could do something positive in real life with it. If you are an active shooter gamer, maybe there is a gun range you can practice shooting at or some hunters you can connect with and go hunting. If you are a VR and lifestyle gamer, maybe there is an animal shelter you can volunteer at and meet people there or a short course at the local community college that speaks to your enterprising, creative, and entrepreneurial spirit.
If you are really good at handmade crafts, find a group that likes to craft together and donate to charity. Consider making stuff to sell and setting up at a craft fair. You can make more than money from that hobby; you make friendships with other crafters.
Exposure to sunlight is said to increase the brain’s release of the hormone, serotonin, that makes you feel happier, calmer, and more focused.
Think about that! Your body’s basic chemistry is telling you that it is not good to be inside all the time.
Go for a walk around the block. Go to a park or nature reserve, take a picnic, and spend some time there. Jump in a kayak and explore the river. Put on a harness and scale a rock wall. The world is your oyster.
When you challenge yourself to do something positive and different, you change the norms that you have been living in. When you change your norms, your life becomes better almost overnight. When your life becomes better, you attract people you want to be like and be around. When you start spending time together, your loneliness loses its voice.
Being busy doesn’t end loneliness. Being vulnerable with people you can trust does.
Mankind was not built to live life alone. Find people you are interested in that can uplift you, and invest the time it takes to earn their trust. Use your words to communicate clearly, and be patient with the time it takes to develop that connection into a deep relationship.