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Beating loneliness and isolation is essential for maintaining good mental health. Finding ways to connect with others and build meaningful relationships can help beat loneliness and combat feelings of isolation. Taking part in social activities, joining

How To Beat Loneliness & Isolation

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Overcoming Loneliness & Isolation

One of the biggest mental health threats that faces many of us as we get older is growing isolation, and the loneliness that can come with it. Family and friends thin out over the years, and getting out and about isn’t always as easy as it used to be for everyone.

Nor is youth a guaranteed protection against this—in today’s world of urban sprawl and nothing-is-walkable cities, in which access to social spaces such as cafés and the like means paying the rising costs with money that young people often don’t have… And that’s without getting started on how much the pandemic impacted an entire generation’s social environments (or lack thereof).

Why is this a problem?

Humans are, by evolution, social creatures. As individuals we may have something of a spectrum from introvert to extrovert, but as a species, we thrive in community. And we suffer, when we don’t have that.

What can we do about it?

We can start by recognizing our needs, such as they are, and identifying to what extent they are being met (or not).

  • Some of us may be very comfortable with a lot of alone time—but need someone to talk to sometimes.
  • Some of us may need near-constant company to feel at our best—and that’s fine too! We just need to plan accordingly.

In the former case, it’s important to remember that needing someone to talk to is not being a burden to them. Not only will our company probably enrich them too, but also, we are evolved to care for one another, and that itself can bring fulfilment to them as much as to you. But what if you don’t a friend to talk to?

  • You might be surprised at who would be glad of you reaching out. Have a think through whom you know, and give it a go. This can be scary, because what if they reject us, or worse, they don’t reject us but silently resent us instead? Again, they probably won’t. Human connection requires taking risks and being vulnerable sometimes.
  • If that’s not an option, there are services that can fill your need. For some, therapy might serve a dual purpose in this regard. For others, you might want to check out the list of (mostly free) resources at the bottom of this article 🙂

In the second case (that we need near-constant company to feel at our best) we probably need to look more at our overall lifestyle, and find ways to be part of a community. That can include:

  • Living in a close-knit community (places with a lot of retirees in one place often have this; or younger folk might look at communal living/working spaces, for example)
  • Getting involved in local groups (you can check out NextDoor.com or MeetUp.com for this)
  • Volunteering for a charity (not only are acts of service generally fulfilling in and of themselves, but also, you will probably be working with other people of a charitable nature, and such people tend to make for good company!)

Need a little help?

There are many, many organizations that will love to help you (or anyone else) overcome loneliness and isolation.

Rather than list them all here and make this email very long by describing how each of them works, here’s a great compilation of resources:

Healthline: How To Deal With Loneliness (Resources)

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