A report out today has found a quarter of Londoners say they feel lonely some or all of the time. I guess there are times when we might say that we have felt alone with no-one to talk to or share our thoughts with. Two types of loneliness can be identified: social loneliness and emotional loneliness. With so many people using London as a transient base these days people don’t always have the time to get to know others and form social friendships. Emotional loneliness occurs when people feel alone with their problems which can happen even when part of a family or social group.
The problem arises when people feel both social and emotional loneliness – this can lead to mental health issues such as stress or depression.
Major life transitions can also contribute to feeling isolated such as after having a baby, being a carer for parents or sick family members and also retirement. There are things we can all do to help ourselves not feel lonely. We are all part of a wider network of humanity. We are not alone in this world even though it may feel that way sometimes.
Each year I attend a beautiful event in Dorset at Gaunts House which is known as the Summer Gathering. It is a place where people can come and connect with others in a caring, heartfelt way. Strangers smile at one another and talk together about anything they want to say. There is a sense of freedom felt by all. As a past organiser of this event the one thing that sticks out to me in feedback is people saying what a wonderful sense of community they have experienced and why can’t it be like that where they live. I’ll give you the answer to that one. It is a wonderful sense of community because people take the time to smile at one another, to listen to one another and to appreciate that we are all unique.
When I return home I walk down my own road and smile at others hoping to continue this feeling. I am a Londoner myself, born and bred. So I smile at others as I walk down the road. About half of the time I am met with indifference or people looking away or strangely at me. The other half I get a smile back and I can see that my smile has created a change in that person’s physiology. Their body language changes and so does mine. It feels good. When people don’t acknowledge me I feel sad but when they do I feel glad – Simples
So here is my message to you all on loneliness.
1 Smile at others
2 Take the time to have a conversation with others, even strangers in passing.
3 Give people in your life a chance to connect with you on an emotional level.
4 Join a club, support group, meet up group around common interests.
Affirmation: I am an important part of the human race and look forward to connecting with others
For more details on the report out today see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20324373
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