lonely on boardwalk

Tips for Handling Feelings of Social Isolation

Every person feels lonely from time to time, but some struggle with a strong sense of isolation. This is especially true of those with conditions such as anxiety, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. Intense feelings of isolation give rise to self-pity, anger, bitterness, and resentment. These, in turn, create more isolation, forming a harmful cycle that can be difficult to break. If you are struggling with feeling disconnected and alone, these suggestions for proactive choices may help relieve the pain of feeling cut off and secluded.

Look for Support

To offset feelings of isolation, especially if they are prolonged, try to find support. This does not mean you must meet strangers. Effective support is available online, in discussion groups and forums as well as informational websites such as vigyaa.com. Simply interacting with others can relieve feelings of worthlessness that come with a sense of profound isolation. Groups you get involved with do not have to deal specifically with mental and emotional health. Expand your world by looking for people who share your interests, whether literature, gardening, or Renaissance art.

Ignore Inner Criticism

Communicating with others helps you turn away from the harsh internal criticism you may hear when you are alone. When talking with others, whether face to face or via telephone, email, or the internet, you can begin to rethink critical inner thoughts that say you are a pariah and are being ostracized for a good reason. Your very achievement (and yes, when you feel isolated, reaching out is an achievement) of interacting with others proves you are not being shunned by the human race. You do not have to be a victim of the mental dialogue that tells you everything is hopeless and you deserve to be alone.

Exercise

While exercise may seem too difficult, getting up and moving can relieve dark feelings. This is especially true if you take a walk outdoors, ideally in natural green areas such as parks and wilderness trails. However, even urban areas offer views of the sky, of clouds and rain and green growing things striving upwards through cracks in the concrete.

Perhaps a good aerobic workout would help you, moving your focus from internal to external. Yoga and Qigong are wonderful ways to gently move from mind to body and develop a connection between body, spirit, and mind. The discipline of these ancient practices is good to work into your daily routine and gives you a focus other than your own thoughts.

Get Perspective

Feelings of isolation are just that—feelings. They do not represent what is, and they cannot define your present unless you let them. This is not to say they are not difficult to deal with, but if you can remember that isolation is a feeling passing through you and you can simply let it go without latching onto it, the pain that comes with feeling isolated loses its hold on you.

Feeling socially isolated can be crippling and as painful as any physical condition. However, there are actions you can take to help yourself step back from the hurt and sense of helplessness isolation can cause. When you take positive action, you move forward into a better, brighter life.

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