There is no doubt to me that loneliness is a pervasive problem in a society that prizes overwork, over-parenting, and little in the way of community. According to this article published on Labroots, “while loneliness can might not seem like a medical problem… it can impact overall health, as well as brain health. Stress from feeling disconnected and alone can result in depression, anxiety and even cardiovascular troubles like high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease”.
One way to address loneliness is through the intimacy created with solid friendships — not the many you can count on your social media networks — but the ones who you can count on, call on, and who make you feel supported, in times of need. According to this New York Times article, which features the work from Attachment-based researchers, while we humans are social animals and need friendships for survival, our brains actually often tell us to avoid reaching out, taking risks — the things that could lead to true intimacy with friends. Often, these are fear-based decisions — fear of rejection, fear of being misunderstood (the article says that feeling like a friend or acquaintance really ‘gets you’ can reduce barriers to getting close. This article gives us 5 interesting and reasonably easy strategies to use to take some risks and reach out. I suggest looking at them — and then weighing the pros and cons of doing the same versus something different. Then ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen” if it doesn’t work out each time you try. Do you have barriers to reaching out you would like to work through? Get in touch. I am here to help.