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Loneliness: How to Combat the Need to Satisfy Voids in All the Wrong Places

Updated: Dec 23, 2018


When people think of public health, they automatically associate it with obesity, stroke, smoking, heart-attacks, etc. But the thought of ‘loneliness’ rarely comes to mind. According to the Harvard Business Review, we are living in the most technologically connected age in history, but the rates of loneliness have doubled since the 80s.

How is it that we can be instantly connected, but simultaneously feel a sense of emptiness, more than ever before?

We operate in a progressive state of social connectivity, which is largely affecting how we are influenced, as well as our overall interactions with others. The need for instant gratification is the driving force for regret, impatience, rejection, and feelings of inadequacy. These social symptoms are major factors that make it easier for us to satisfy an instant need or relapse into old, unhealthy habits such as excessive eating;excessive spending; and sex, drug, and Internet addictions.

Our brain seeks euphoric experiences that are received from released endorphins. Therefore, we must understand that euphoria only lasts for a short period of time. Subconsciously, we attach ourselves to these experiences that give us a sense of joy, even though those attachments may be harmful for our overall well-being. Since we know these habits aren’t good for us, we increase our chances of feeling lonely due to interchangeable feelings of guilt.

Let’s start with why you feel lonely by answering the following questions:

• What do you expect from others?

• What emotional needs are unmet?

• Are you fulfilling a void with something that is harmful? What are you doing and who is accompanying you in the act?

• Do you have unhealthy habits?

• Do you make high-risk decisions when you are lonely? What are they?

Break the cycle of maintained unhealthy habits for short-term happiness by paying attention to and dealing with your feelings of loneliness as they surface.

If you or a loved one are feeling the pressures of loneliness, follow these tips:

• Talk with a Mental Health Counselor at STRIVE Counseling Services

• Connect to a positive interpersonal support group

• Read self-help books

• Join an exercise group

• Find more empowering activities

Crystal Mullen-Johnson, Owner

Strive Counseling Services

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