As the world buckles down to get through the challenging times ahead, growing fears plague several experts – How are people dealing with the sudden cut-off from social relationships? How will certain vulnerable adults – senior citizens, single parents, those who live away from their families – cope with the loss of adult interaction? What will be the psychological effects of self-imposed isolation?
Being alone is a condition that many of us have to endure – right now, because of the larger health threats facing our society. But even otherwise, several times in our lives, we have to face being alone – during an illness, when pressing work commitments of those around us make them travel, when we move away from loved ones to start college, or a new career.
Loneliness is a totally different ballgame, however. When feelings of sadness, being ignored, and desolation overtake us because we are deprived of our usual social interactions, loneliness becomes unstoppable, and sadly, unfightable.
Let’s look at a few ways we can, one step at a time, combat loneliness, and lift ourselves to a better state of calm, comfort and happiness.
Expand your horizons – without a device!
Discover a new world, and do it without a cellphone, tablet or computer. Bypass the TV and read those books you bought for “someday”. Remember that DIY project you started but never had time to finish? Time to get it out now, and get it done. The hardest part is getting started. Bring out your nice cups, brew yourself some invigorating iced tea, and turn on some great music. Tell your mind you’re on staycation mode, and make a start. You will be pleasantly surprised at where your journey leads you.
Get your hands in the soil
It has been proved that spending time in nature is the best form of relaxation the mind can get. Remember that Phuket tops your bucket list, or jog those memories of your last trip to the mountains, and you’ll understand what we mean. There’s no need to go adventuring though, all the excitement you need is in your backyard. Pick up a spade, dig a hole and plant some seeds. If you have no seeds, tear into the soft flesh of a fresh tomato with your fingers and plunge it into the earth. Cover it with two inches of soil and watch your simple little effort literally bear fruit. Even better, look in a mirror and enjoy the small smile that’s appeared there, all on its own.
Joyful by your own nature
Remember that our essential nature is joyful. Just as we were when we were little children, we need little reason to laugh, we can find endless happiness in the small things, and when life seems unbearably wrong, a quick bath, some good food, or a little nap could soon make us feel all was well with the world. After all, as the yogis of yore tell us, the fundamental of existence is Sat-Chit-Ananda – our true nature is bliss. The next time the blues threaten to creep up on you, close your eyes, sit silent, let your thoughts slowly dissolve, and let the natural joy that dwells within come to the fore. Yes, it does exist, yes, even within you, and yes, there is a way to let it shine once more.
Read the above words again. Every paragraph echoes one thing over and over – remember, remember, remember. The trick then, in the days ahead, is to remember, reflect and recollect. For, as we all have guessed, somewhere deep down, the answers truly lie within us. This time of isolation is just our opportunity to open that book, and read the answers for ourselves, so when we go out in to the world again, we are fully equipped, joyful in ourselves, and most important, never lonely.
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