4 Sneaky Signs You’re Lonely (And What To Do About It) ~ Leigh Weingus

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Whether it’s a move to a new city or school, a breakup or a random rough patch, we all get lonely from time to time. This is pretty normal, but too much loneliness can be taxing on our mental and physical health. In fact, a recent study found that feelings of loneliness increase mortality risk by 26 percent.

That’s a pretty startling statistic, so it’s important to get your loneliness facts down and take action if you’re feeling lonely. Here’s what you should know: 

 

Feeling lonely? 

1. You binge-watch in record time.  

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Did you rip through all ten seasons of “Friends” when it hit Netflix? You might not feel lonely, but a study from the University of Texas found that people who are more lonely and depressed are more likely to binge watch. We’re not trying to take life’s simple pleasures away from you, just make sure you’re getting enough people time in. 

2. You know how you’re supposed to behave in a social situation, you just have trouble doing it. 

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Through a series of four experiments, Franklin & Marshall College professor Megan L. Knowles found that lonely people may actually have a better understanding of social skills than non-lonely people, but they choke under pressure when it comes time to apply them to real-world situations. So if you have a tough time making conversation in social situations, remind yourself that you’re probably a lot better at it than you think.

3. Being alone doesn’t feel like downtime — it feels lonely.

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Feeling lonely is a whole lot different than carving out a little “me” time. Spending time alone by choice actually has a lot of health benefits.   

A Scientific American article states:

Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.

Loneliness, on the other hand, feels a bit different. If you’re having trouble sleeping, feeling anxious or depressed or turning to social media and TV when you’re alone, you’re probably really lonely

4. You’re a Facebook power user. 

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A University of Michigan study found that we’re more likely to use Facebook when we’re feeling lonely. Although Facebook doesn’t necessarily make us feel lonelier, watching people’s lives go by on our newsfeeds can lead to feelings of unhappiness. So instead of logging into Facebook next time you’re feeling lonely, try face-to-face interaction and/or make a phone call to someone you love.

How to fix it:

The first step is acknowledging that you’re lonely.

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Like all things, changing your loneliness starts by admitting what you’re feeling.

“After identifying it, you want to think about in what ways you’re feeling lonely or out of place,” clinical psychologist Lauren Kachorek told HerCampus of feeling lonely in college. “The person has to come to understand more about what [the loneliness] means to them and why and how they feel that way. Exploring more about it is actually the best way to make the feeling go away.”

Joining a club or group can help. 

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Whether it’s a book club or sports team, get involved in groups that revolve around your interests. That way, you’ll go into the situation knowing you have something in common with the people you’re interacting with. 

“If you join a group where the activity is meaningful for you, and you enjoy it, chances are it will bring out the best in you,” Toronto-based psychotherapist Lesli Musicar told Best Health. “And if you feel good while you’re engaged in that activity, it will help you feel more connected to the people around you because you have this one thing in common.”

But if that doesn’t sound appealing, try taking care of someone else.

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Just as acts of kindness can help with social anxiety, being kind to or caring for others can ease loneliness — even if that “other” is a pet. “Raising children, teaching, caring for animals… helps to alleviate loneliness,” Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin wrote on her blog.  

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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One big way to break the cycle of loneliness is seeking professional help. In one study on loneliness, University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo and colleagues concluded that individual therapy was probably the most effective way to change thought patterns and beliefs surrounding loneliness, like shame and low self=esteem. 

“As a first step, there is a need for increased public awareness — and awareness among healthcare providers — that loneliness is a condition that, like chronic pain, can become an affliction for almost anyone,” the study authors wrote. 

Loneliness is serious. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to make a change — so take action sooner rather than later.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sneaky-signs-youre-lonely_55aea2b0e4b0a9b94852c3ef

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The Pillars of Suffering by Giovannah P

I sometimes think that I was “given” the struggle of depression so that I could understand where darkness and wickedness come from. When people intentionally hurt others it is because they too have been hurt, it comes from a dark place of unresolved pain. This explanation in no way excuses the behavior it just adds some perspective. When people unintentionally hurt others it is due to ignorance. In my life I have been exposed to both on a deeply personal level.

My Aunt is the pillar of unresolved pain, in my experience the more devastating of the two. Throughout her childhood she felt bullied, unworthy, and never good enough. She was left with a desperate need to prove herself, to have everyone know that she too was of significance, important, and worthy. How she went about proving her significance was devastating… she sought to claim familial power and control through bullying and manipulation. Now I will not discuss what she has done to others, but I will share what she has done to me. For a very long time I was one of her targets. As the eldest daughter to the eldest sister and the closest granddaughter to her mother, I represented something to be conquered, controlled, and broken. If she could break me, she could break what to her I symbolized.

As the second oldest she was always compared to my Mother. And in her eyes she thought my Grandmother,her Mother, never really liked her. She didn’t perform well in school and would get caught lying about class assignments; which at the time and in the culture was a no no. She grew up feeling small and hurt, and she used that pain to fuel what she would later become as an adult.

So she took her anger out on me, but I was only one of her targets. She manipulated and bullied others as well. She even manipulated my Father against me. As a child, I distinctly remember the feeling of getting double teamed, being constantly bullied by two key figures in my life. The bullying didn’t begin to desist until I knew how to placate, until I learned to be the small quite one, until I understood where I belonged. She could not break my Mother or her Mother, so she went after me. By winning over me she had conquered over something…

The second pillar of suffering is ignorance. My Father is a good man but gullible and he has had to fight is own demons. As the eldest of seven children my Father was often the man of the house. His Father was a trucker driver, never really home, and ended up leaving the family when my Father was in his late teens. So he has had his own struggles, his own battles to fight. And when it came to raising a precocious and rebellious young girl he was lost so he relied on what he knew…heavy discipline and conformity. There was no room for my personal and individualistic growth…there was no space to grow in and nowhere to grow to.

It has been a struggle and continues to be a struggle. Did you ever get the feeling as a child that there was no one at your side, no one in your corner? Not only did my relationships with my Aunt and Father make for a toxic environment I would often get bullied at school by both students and teachers. All of this, I believe, is what led me to begin experiencing depression as a teen. I think I had finally had enough, had finally begun the process of giving up. I remember very long days of lying on my bed in my darkened bedroom playing with matches, fire, and rubbing alcohol. As I look back at it, I imagine that the fire must have seemed a live to me at a time when I didn’t feel so; at a time when I thought that my life would have served a greater purpose if given to someone else.

Although I am a work in progress, and working at the project of me, I still remember those feelings and sometimes they find space to reemerge. And I bring up this struggle because within in me has lived the pillars of pain and ignorance, the pillars of suffering. Pillars I inherited but was not born with. But instead of bullying others I chose to self-destruct. I bullied myself. I was/am a walking open wound exposed to salty wind and hard rain. I have OCD, Anxiety, and Depression. I am overweight, make poor eating choices, and mark my skin. But beyond that my mind is on repeat with continued messages of self-hate, disgust, and disdain.

I Am Broken by Giovannah P

From The Worthiness Project

In the beginning

It started with me trying to figure out why I am the way I am. 28 years old, never been on a date, can’t hold a steady job, never left my parents house, to scared to drive on the highway; always afraid, angry, and sad; suffering from anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation; a deep sense of discomfort with the world around me and within my own body, if I could recoil from my skin I would. Nothing positive, just all negative. Like a witches swamp dark, grey, disgusting with a strange uncomfortable heat that emanates from nowhere and an even stranger smell that is like nothing you have ever experienced. But this darkness has been my home for the last 28 years, I know nothing else.

In my mind I used to imagine a very dark room where I would sit in the corner alone, quiet, with my knees to my chest. This was my refuge, this dark and quiet place that I would resort to not just when things were tough but always and forever. It was how I felt, an imagery of my deepest emotions and wounds, it was what I knew, and what I stewed in.

I have tried to figure it out, figure out why I am like this, why I have been like this for as long as I can remember. What’s wrong with me? I have been to therapy, a few therapists in fact. A few have recommend medication, I always change provider when it comes to that point.

It is because of the way I was conditioned; I use conditioned instead of growing up or raised because that is what your formative years are, they are conditioning. Well I was conditioned to be afraid, to be timid, quiet, passive, and to placate. Where has this led me to, to feeling like a continuous doormat, even now. I can recall instances in my adulthood where I couldn’t stand up for myself and I can trace it back to being a child where I was not allowed to stand up for myself and there was no one to protect me.

There were two people who were really strong negative influences in my life, my father and my aunt. They were bullies and our relationships created a toxic environment for me. My father did not protect me from my aunt and he himself was fighting his own demons; and yet words sometimes still escape me.

Who I am now is a result of who I was conditioned to be then. Silent, quiet, unseen, unheard…preferring to be unseen and unheard because than you can’t make anyone angry; if no one notices you no one can attack you, no one can bully you. And when you do get noticed, you give away everything you have and everything you are because it is easier than having it taken away.

This is where I am now, angry, hurt…angry.

Give it 100: Poetry and Prose Days 3 – 7 By Giovannah Philippeaux

Oh goodness, who knew writing poetry everyday would be so damn difficult. Sigh as I shake my head. Well I missed a few days and so to make up for it I have written five haikus, of which I am very proud. Now originally I thought that writing a haiku would be the easiest form of poetry to practice (because it is so short) but oh goodness was I mistaken. What I had forgotten is that a haiku must be in the form of 5, 7, 5; meaning three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. But I tried, and so here are days 3-7.

Day 3:

Gratitude for life
Exhale the glory of God
Praise and cry his name

Day 4:

Wind through the stark home
Away from the hearth that warms
Cries a silent call

Day 5:

Gone are days of joy
Glory no longer lives here
Only pain now reigns

Day 6:

Forgiveness is gone
Glory taken at knife’s edge
Go away they cry

Day 7:

Glorious sunlight
Promised against a dark night
No deliverance

Check out Giveit100.com/@Giovannah to see my uploads.

Black Skin by K. Kenneth Edusei

Is there room for black skin?
It isn’t so chic,
God saw the light was good,
So he left the evil with me,
They say I’m a suspect,
I was killed for wearing a hoodie,
A 1,000 times I’ve been stopped and frisked,
I am incarcerated more than I should be,
I am paid less than other workers,
Can I give a shout-out to Lily Ledbetter?
I wonder if she’d been paid even less,
If her skin was a different color?
The academics say I am stupid,
They call it the achievement gap,
However when I ask about education funding,
I’m told “We are still working on that.”
Then they wonder why I’m disruptive,
Why I don’t do my work and pass,
They know I have no money,
Yet I’m bombarded with a million ads,
Class is not even over,
But cops are waiting at the door,
I asked about the school to prison pipeline,
And a judicial system’s negligence for the minority and poor,
I was told there is a propensity for violence,
Ignorance is so far reaching,
Sometimes I want to ask society,
Just. What. Are. You. Thinking?!
My skin contains the History of American Violence,
I’ve been lynched so many times I can’t remember,
I console my sisters who’ve been raped,
I hasten to bury another brother,
I had the seal of an owner,
Branded deep into my flesh,
Now I am a whole person,
Whose value is decidedly less,
How easily forgotten is their violence,
I am still called a n—-r,
But I use the word too,
So I guess that makes it all better,
My propensity is for self-determination,
I strive against an oppressive system,
They don’t acknowledge it is broken,
Instead I’m the one that needs the fixing,
So I am trying to be whiter,
Hopefully society will let me in,
If I work really hard for acceptance,
Maybe they will not see my black skin.