Are You Feeling Lonely?

Ah, look at all the lonely people. The Beatles

A recent report found that 50 percent of Baby Boomers, 71 percent of Millennials, and 79 percent of Gen Z respondents reported feeling lonely. You’re not alone in your lonely feelings!

Loneliness can increase the odds of early death by 26 percent which is an influence comparable to smoking and greater than that of obesity. Loneliness isn’t about being alone. It’s about how we FEEL in the world—whether or not we’re surrounded by other people. 

Stephanie Cacioppo, PhD, director of the University of Chicago’s Brain Dynamics Laboratory, suggests strategies to help you cope with feelings of loneliness.

—Start with exercise. “When the body feels better, the mind will feel less lonely,” Cacioppo notes. 

—Practice gratitude. Ideally, journal about what you’re grateful for everyday.

–Give back. In order to regain a sense of worth and take the focus away from yourself, find a way to serve others. 

—You have a choice. “Understanding that we have some choice about how we feel is important,” says Cacioppo. Control what’s controllable and make good choices. 

—Seek therapy. If your lonely feelings are chronic, get help. Talking about how you feel goes a long way towards moving away from loneliness. 

—Show affection. We feel less lonely when we receive affection but we benefit even more when we give it. 

Affirmation: I will do what I can to dispel my feelings of loneliness.

Coaching question: If you’re feeling lonely, which of Cacioppo’s suggestions will you start with? 

Photo by Anthony Intraversato on Upsplash

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