Loneliness is defined as a sense of being disconnected or isolated. According to new research, it should be treated as a serious health concern. After reviewing 148 studies, researchers from Brigham Young University in the United States concluded that isolation can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Loneliness can also increase a person’s risk of dying prematurely by 50%.
According to social scientists, connecting with other people is a basic human need that is essential to one’s well-being and survival. Living in an industrialized country such as the UAE can make people feel lonely because they tend to live alone, marry later in life, and may lack meaningful relationships.
According to Justin Thomas, an associate professor at Zayed University, loneliness can increase for some expatriates in modern countries like the UAE because they are disconnected from traditional support networks such as family and long-term friends.
Loneliness causes emotional pain and depression and has an impact on one’s physical health. If you’re feeling lonely, here are five strategies to help you overcome it and live a fulfilling, socially connected life––full of happy and trustworthy friendships.
#1. Participate in a class or a club.
Joining a class or a club, whether it’s an art class, an exercise class, or a book club, exposes you to a group of people who share your interests. They may invite you to participate in activities outside of the club, which will allow you to meet even more people. So, if your social circle has recently shrunk or you’ve relocated, look for a club that interests you so that you can not only learn a new skill but also make quality friends.
Volunteering has numerous advantages. It gives you a sense of purpose, creates a sense of community, allows you to meet new people, and improves your social skills. Similarly, it boosts self-esteem, opens doors to new opportunities, adds excitement to your life, and teaches you valuable skills. Working with people who have less than you also helps you feel more deeply grateful for all the good things you have.
#3. Boost existing relationships
You may have relocated to a new town or city and have made no new friends. In this case, you should strengthen your existing relationships—connecting with your roots can help you feel more secure and happy. So, how do you build a healthy relationship with family and friends who live thousands of miles apart?
Communication is essential. Here are some pointers for maintaining a healthy relationship.
- Make time to talk to your family and friends without interruptions.
- Put yourself in the shoes of the other person and try to understand what they are going through.
- Practice your listening skills.
- Don’t rely on the other person to figure out what’s going on in your life; be open and honest.
#4. Get a pet.
Pets provide unconditional love and can be a wonderful antidote to loneliness. According to studies, having a pet can improve both physical and mental health. Pets can also help you meet new friends. Walking or playing with your pet on a regular basis can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Rescuing a pet combines the benefits of companionship and altruism. In Dubai, there are numerous pet rescue shelters. Adopting a lonely pet in need of love will benefit you while also providing the pet with a loving home.
#5. Maintain a busy schedule.
When you feel a vague sense of loneliness trying to squeeze you from all sides, use the power of sound to beat it. Listen to your favorite music or audiobooks, listen to a podcast, or simply open your window and listen to the birds sing.
Make a date with yourself and practice self-care techniques such as eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising whenever possible. If you’ve always wanted to try a new hobby or tackle a home improvement project, now is the time to get started. This will keep your mind occupied and assist you in living a fulfilling life.
#6. Bonus tip: Consult a therapist.
According to research, the more lonely you are, the more depressed you feel, and vice versa. If you take all of these precautions and still feel lonely, it could be a sign of depression or social anxiety.
In such a case, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a specialist. The therapist may recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you change your thoughts and actions and cope with loneliness more effectively.
You can do a lot to stop the waves of loneliness that crash over your head. Recognize that you are not alone and that there are many things you can do to feel more connected. Life is short, so make the most of it by surrounding yourself with friends, happiness, and laughter.
If you want more information about holistic health, please contact us. Our Corporate Sports wellness professionals will be happy to help you.