Today we will fight loneliness together and talk about the importance of relationships. Not just romantic, but in general, and some tips to help getting out of isolation, since well, making friends as adult can be kinda weird.Especially after all these lockdowns that got us scared of everyone.
“Yo, wanna grab a beer sometime? In a well ventilated, clean, social distance abiding, sanitized, relatively uncrowded place?”
The secret to happiness
Have you heard of the longest running studie on happiness? It’s called the Harvard study of adult development. In this project 724 men from various backgrounds where followed since 1938.
That’s like when captain America was still a skinny kid…
There were two groups of participants: The first group were students at Harvard and finished college during World War II, most heading off to serve in the war. The second group were boys from Boston’s poorest neighborhoods, selected specifically because they came from troubled and disadvantaged families.
“Y’a cah’s wicked pissa!”
And they found that relationships are really powerful and have a huge impact on our mental and physical health. Relationships keep you happier than money or fame.
More and more people feel lonely
47% of Americans feel lonely. This nominee doubled since the 80’s.. and that’s before the pandemic!
At a time where social networks see now worldwide, isn’t it ironic?
For a long time we thought they elders suffered from loneliness the most but recently we found that the 16-24 years old suffer the most according to this study.
Is that why they have higher risks of suicide?
Pre-pandemic and self isolation, 28% of Americans, that’s 13.8 million people, lived alone. That means that for then, during quarantine, they had limited or no human interaction for months.
And seeing no one for a day was already tough for me:
Some surveys suggest that within the first month of corona-cation , loneliness increased by 20 to 30 percent, and emotional distress tripled.
Loneliness and social isolation kills. It’s as bad as 15 cigarettes a day or alcohol disorder. And is 2x more harmful than obesity
Loneliness and social isolation is linked to a 29 percent higher risk of heart attack and a 32 percent greater risk of stroke.
“Hey, wanna be my friend and save each other’s hearts!”
Of course this is not only about loneliness but also lifestyle, biology and mindset. But loneliness has a huge impact on your heart.
Death from all causes
Another study shows that increase likelihood of mortality increases by 29% social isolation, 26% for loneliness and 32% for people living alone.
In other words, it’s not good/!
Okay, now what? What do I do? How can I fix it? How can I make more friends since tamagotchi isn’t enough!
TIPS TO GET OUT OF ISOLATION
What is loneliness?
It’s different from being alone. It’s a subjectif feeling of not being understood, feeling disconnected, taken for granted, seen but not understood.
Also me when my buddies don’t answer me on the group chat…
Some people don’t need many connections in their lives. Some people have a thousand friends but still feel lonely.
First, let’s look at what you can do when suffering of loneliness:
1. Ask your yourself
What does loneliness mean to you?
How many people do you need to feel comfortable?
Do you have anyone in your life who means a lot and seems like they get you?
Is there anything you can do to strengthen the relationship?
Based on these answers you can do many things: first
One way to deal with loneliness is to think about three things you are grateful for on a daily basis. This will help you shift your mindset. But don’t say “I’m grateful for back to the future ”. Be more specific “Im grateful that this movie made me dream big as a kid, and how this movie became a big part of my relationship with my brother. Spending time together watching this movie helped two very different kids have something in common.” See the diffidence?
3. Sit with the feelings
That’s a tough one for us male identifying humans. We tend to think that feelings aren’t manly, and that we should feel anything except anger.
“Hulk not happy!”
The truth is, the feelings aren’t going anywhere. And to be compassionate friends, we need to be compassionate with ourselves. To be able to listen and support others, we need to learn to do the same with ourselves.
(to self) “I got you bro!”
When you sit with your feelings you’ll see that they aren’t as scary as they seem. For me it has helped me a lot to lie down, relax and focus on where the feeling is in the body. Usually, when I do that there is a burst of emotions, followed by a feeling of peace and often laughter because we let go of a weight.
How to develop and strengthen your existing relationships?
Creating a community and having healthy relationships are important. But negative relationships with your family, spouse, friends have also a bad impact. Study shows that healthy relationships reduces risks of dementia by 17%. But negative support like critical, unreliable or annoying behaviors from partners, children or immediate family increase risks by 31%.
4. Love languages
Learn your love language and your loved ones to show them how much they matter in a way they understand. And to help them guide them when interacting with you if you feel loneliness in those relationships.
Mine are physical touch and quality of time. But I do like words of affirmations. So if you want to make me feel loved post a nice comment below!
Here is the link for the love language quizz and here is the books.
If you prefer audio books get two free books on audible here.
5. Nothing for granted
People often feel taken for granted. When you can, give out a compliment. Not about their outfits, or what they own, try to find something about their personality. That will make them feel good about themselves.
“I like how flexible your face is Luca… “
Keep realistic expectations. A friend doesn’t need to satisfy all your needs, they don’t have to bring you coffee, give you money and offer their pet pig as a tribut of their friendship.
When you find yourself getting annoyed because your friend isn’t doing what you want, take a moment to breath and remember, they may be doing the best they can.
Take time to listen to them, for realsies. Not waiting for them to finish to add to your point.
You know when we are formulating an answer or adding to what you just said in our head instead of really listening to them, so when they finish their sentence we say something that has nothing to do with what they just said. Why do we do that?
Ask questions. Be interested in their feelings, opinions, ideas, experiences.
Provide wise support. When someone talks about something they’re troubling then don’t say
“Gosh, I’m glad I’m not you!“
“That sounds tough, is there anything I can do to help?”
It’s important to provide emotional support by acknowledging their pain and if it’s the right time, aka not when they look in deep pain, see if you can help then find a solution, see the situation from another angle or get their mind out of rumination.
Men tend to go: “ah don’t worry about it it ll pass”, “wanna drink and forget?” “That’s not that bad, listen about my problem” “Let me tell you what you should do” ,
Those don’t provide any support, they belittle the emotion, helps escapism, or make them feel unimportant.
Love and support y’all!
I got a problem
And if your are not sure how to express your feelings to your make friends say “I have a problem I would love to run by you…” there is one thing men are scared of is emotions. But there is one thing they love, is problem solving. That’s very generic but true for many. Formulating it that way will get your bros excited to help find a solution instead of running away. And it will give them permission to do the same with you.
How to create new connections?
Making friends as an adult is a skill. It feels uncomfortable. It’s like asking someone on a date. Why was it so easy when we were kids?
I wish we could go to a random person who looks fun and go:
“Wanna have a play date?“
There are many ways to meet new people.
Some places where you may meet open minded people would be to volunteer at something that matters to you:
-Help the elderly
-Or at a church
What’s great about this is that study finds volunteering boost happiness by providing a sense of purpose.
And volunteering for something that matters to you may also be a good way to connect with people who have similar believes or with who you share a passion.
“So you also believe that tamagochis shouldn’t be abandoned?”
9. Couch Surfing
Couch surfing is this app where you can stay on people’s free couches or beds to travel for free or cheap. You don’t have to travel, you can download the app and lookup couch surfer events. Couch surfers are always excited to make new connections.
Or two birds with one stone.
10. Take a class.
You learn and can meet people. Take a dance class, an improv or drama class. These classes forces you to interact with other humans.
How to proceed when you meet someone new?
Maybe some of these things are natural for you but I had to learn them. In Switzerland we aren’t the most open of people
“How do we make friends back home?”
11. Create a connection
To create a connection, tell them something personal and ask open ended questions.
When I think about it, the people are the most fun to hang out aren’t the most interesting, funny or entertaining, it’s people who seem to really care about your opinion/
The one thing the pandemic has given us is a global shared experience. You can always ask them how their experience was, or tell them what part of it sucked for you, or what you learned out of it.
For me it helped me getting more into daily meditation, so that’s a good thing.
-Active listening and reflect
Like I said earlier. Listen and reflect
“That must have been hard”
Reconnecting with old friends ?
Remember that time in high school when… fill in the blank
– Avoid chit chat
Don’t spend to much time talking about the weather. It s a conscious exercice to drive the conversation towards connection. If you need a cheat sheet, write down some questions before meeting your friend.
-Own your vulnerability.
When you own your vulnerability you take control of it. It’s like stand up comedians, they show their wounds, that’s how they connect with their audience.
I know it’s tough for us « men » but it’s time to redefine masculinity because not owning our mistakes and emotions is what creates separation and loneliness which eventually kills us.
Other things you can do to help with loneliness:
12. Get a Plant
Studies show they help reducing stress and anxiety too.
Or get a pet. There are lots of benefits to having a pet besides exercice and feeling unconditionally loved, but it may also allow you to meet new people like at the dog park or during walks.
Another important thing to do is
14. Seek help
According to psychologist and emotional health expert Guy Winch (listen his interview here), seeking help before things are really bad is important.
Don’t wait until you get cancer to change your lifestyle. The same here, don’t wait until you have a breakdown before seeing someone.
“I don’t believe in myself much but my therapist does. That helps”
When you feel really lonely, you start doubting that people care. People do.
Here is a link to 20% off of online-therapy.com
The impact we have
If you wonder if you have any impact on the world. If you matter?
On average we live for 78.3 years. Most of us remember people we meet after age 5. Assume we interact with 3 new people daily in cities, 365 days in a year plus leap year days is 365.24. In total it will be (78.3 – 5) x 3 x 365.24 = that’s 80,000 people. Also have you ever heard of an acquaintance die? Somehow it does affect us even if we aren’t close. It’s the same with you. You Matter!
I started this channel because someone really dear to me told me he didn’t have anyone else but me he could talk about emotions, heart breaks and so fourth. I realized that many people out there don’t know the studies, the tools and the support from a community. And with my channel I want to provide all that. Let’s find together a way to help each other out. If you think I should create a Facebook group or something, let me know in the comments!