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Andrew the Muse

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Alone = Loneliness?

by Andrew the Muse » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:19 pm

As we get older, around three quarters of us will end up living alone
and for many people,
loneliness is the biggest fear.

However to my mind living alone and loneliness are not synonymous.

Being alone is a physical state
whereas
loneliness is a mental state.

We all like to be alone from time to time,
it gives us some breathing space
to simply be.

Conversely, we've all been in some crowded place
and yet felt very lonely.

Being alone can be easily solved
by simply making the effort to meet people
and engaging with them.

How?

Join clubs, activities, organisations, projects, etc.
where people have similar interests as you.

Do some charity or volunteer work.

Use the internet i.e. 50 Plus, to meet new people.

The list is endless
you just need to TAKE ACTION.

Loneliness doesn't really exist
because we always have a companion
namely ourselves.

The problem lies in the conversations
that we have with ourselves.
All to often these conversations are negative
and drag us down into feeling lonely.

What we need to do
is to stop those conversations .

That way we find some inner calmness
and indeed happiness
which is what we're all chasing anyway.

Once we're happy with ourselves,
i.e. our own company
we'll never feel lonely again.

Simple!
But it does take practice and perseverance.
So why not start now?

It's a form of mediation
There are loads of organisations that can help
and that in turn will lead to contact with new people.

So a future alone
doesn't need to herald loneliness.

What are your thoughts on loneliness
and how to deal with it?

Please join the discussion
we'd love to hear from you.
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Helen

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by Helen » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:36 pm

I wonder if there isn't some 'animal' instinct within us
that simply says that we're basically a pack animal
and therefore expect to be part of a group.

When we end up living alone
that instinct kicks in and tells us that something is missing
and we feel lonely.

However, as we're the most intelligent animal on the planet
we ought to be able to control that lonelines instinct
as we do our other animal instincts.

And that's where your observations and suggestions are very helpful.
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Zak

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by Zak » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:51 pm

It's not surprising that older people feel lonely
when they loose a life-long partner.

However, loneliness seems to be an increasing problem for the young.
You would have though that with the time youngsters spend on the internet
they would never feel lonely

However the reverse if often the case
because they see everybody having fun
and consequently feel that they're missing out.

So loneliness can effect all age groups.
I think you hit the nail on the head Andrew,
when you said that people, of all ages, need to find that inner peace
and be happy within.
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Chris

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by Chris » Fri Jan 22, 2016 6:05 pm

It's to be expected that we will become attached to our partner, children, family, friends, etc
As we all know it would be a pretty awful world without love.

However, there's a world of difference between attachment and dependence.
When we're dependent on someone
we struggle when they're no longer around
and loneliness strikes.

By all means make 'attachments' but dependent only on yourself.
True happiness is only found within and not from the people or things around us.
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firedancer14

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by firedancer14 » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:52 pm

Totally agree that loneliness is a state of mind, not a state of being. I have been more lonely in a room full of people, with whom I had little or nothing in common, than on my own.
Becoming 'solo' after years of being part of a couple is a life-altering experience. One that goes through phases - initially people rally round, because they are loving and want to support you and they don't want you to feel lonely.. In time, often after the first 'anniversary', this tails off as other peoples lives move on and there is an expectation that yours will too. This is when dealing with that life-altering experience really starts to kick in. I could call this the Lonely Set Point - if I wanted allow it.
As a friend of mine say, in any new phase of life, get a houseplant - if you can keep that alive, get a dog. If you can take care of both, you are ready and able to take care of yourself. Hmmmmmmmm but guess what, it has worked that way for me.
Alone, well me and the dog anyway, and happy with it ................ for today :D
PJ van Zetten
Personal & Business Travel Counsellor
T: 01494 854160
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Peter

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by Peter » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:31 am

PJ, I'm pleased that things are on the up for you and that you are finding ways to cope.

I too have a dog and find her an incredible companion and extremely rewarding
for a whole host of reasons
The look of unconditional love is irresistible.

As so many of us will end up being alone
surely it must make sense to plan for the possibility well in advance.

I think that Andrew's comments about inner happiness are right on the button.

So, if we start finding that inner happiness NOW
then when, and if, we end up being 'solo'
we'll be in a much stronger position to cope.

Good luck
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ThatFiona

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by ThatFiona » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:34 am

Loneliness is crushing, terrifying and dreadfully difficult to bear. And it is not the same as being alone. What I really believe is that it is hugely important to remember that every single person you pass in the day could be lonely. It doesn't change your colour or give you a flashing light on your head so I just assume and at the very least smile at people. Human's are intrinsically a social species and even those of us who have a tendency to the latent hermit (I'm an extroverted introvert by which I mean, I have learned to put on a sparkly persona and interact reasonably interestingly with others but I am actually rather shy) need to feel that we are of value at some level. So the next time you pass someone in the street, smile and say hello. It's something the French are brilliant at ... you wouldn't dream of passing anyone without bonjouring at the very least. I don't want to be lonely. It scares the hell out of me, so I work on the basis that if I don't want it, others probably don't either. And fortunately I'm thick skinned enough to be able to deal with the looks of horror that I occasionally get in return for my smile with an hausser des epaules (that's French for a gaelic shrug) ;)
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Zak

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by Zak » Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:40 pm

I think that Fiona's smile and a hello are an excellent idea. I'm not a great talker but I've noticed that it's very easy to get into conversation with somebody at a bus stop or when I'm out walking the dog, The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the chances are that you're brightening the other person's day.
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Andrew the Muse

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Re: Alone = Loneliness?

by Andrew the Muse » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:06 pm

The Local Government Association (LGA) has found that
more than half of people aged over 75 live alone
and over a million people aged over 65 are coping with loneliness.

Loneliness is known to increase blood pressure
and lonely people have a 64% increased chance of developing dementia.

Loneliness has now been identified as a major public health issue and action needs to be taken now
particularly as we have an aging population and the NHS is fully stretched already.

A recent USA survey found that people without strong social relationships were 30% more likely to die early.
Now that really is very scary.

Although 'old age' seems a long way off, I've noticed that the years seem to get shorter as I get older.
So I feel that it's very important to start working on our inner happiness straight away
so that when, perhaps inevitably,
we're alone,
we won't be lonely.
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Isabella1946

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Re: Are you alone, lonely or marginalized due to

by Isabella1946 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:16 pm

You can be alone - in fact enjoy your solitude.

Loneliness is another fanomina. That comes from within and you can recognize the symptoms and do something about it.

There are moments when I want/need to hear another human voice. It's really easily solved -

However something slightly off course is something called marginalization.

It can occur for many reasons - that's what discrimination is all about. Particularly it occurs with people over 50/60, and heaven forbid 70.

I was in a restaurant a few nights ago - catching a quick bite when 2 men began talking with me.

Id say one was a decade behind me and the other double that. We were having a great time until they asked my age.

Understand I am petit - look 50-ish - and will be 70 this June.

Both looked at each other and the conversation ended. I was being marginalized. Not because I couldn't keep up with them, rather that dreaded number.

On the way home I felt tragically abused.

I was alone, but I did not assign lonely. I really got how our culture treats people with experience and vitality and age! I had been marginalized.
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