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Day 13 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Are You Lonel...

Day 13 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Are You Lonely?

Bad Habit #13 ~ Are you Lonely?

file0001634469948It isn’t easy to figure out why being lonely is directly tied to being unhappy.  Everyone wants to belong…to be part of a social network.  We are social creatures after all.  To live well is to live interdependently…a mutual reliance on each other.

Researchers have found people are happier when they are not alone.  That’s not to say we don’t appreciate our quiet times.  Even if you’re an introvert, the effects of social engagement are the same. They also are finding that happy people are more pleasant, helpful, and sociable. So being around people makes us feel happier, and when we are happier we are more fun to be around, creating an “upward spiral” of happiness.

It seems to be a different type of process, too….that is making friends, when you’re in the 50 plus crowd.  You don’t have the built in mechanism for meeting people.  No High School filled with kids your own age, No College dorm with girls all going through the same thing, and often now no work place to go to filled with coworkers who you can make a connection with.  Add to that, our mobile society and nobody really stays in one place anymore – where are all those friends we used to hang out with?

Although it takes a lot of work sometimes to force ourselves out of our comfort zone and join a club or take a class…or even go to church…It helps us understand who we are and to feel part of something larger than ourselves. People with strong social connections have less stress-related health problems, lower risk of mental illness, and faster recovery from trauma or illness.

Have you got all the friends you need, or are you longing for more connection with others?

Lee AldrichLee’s Challenge:

Am I lonely? No. have I ever BEEN lonely? Yes – who hasn’t. But the questions is “Are You Lonely?” I’m a rather extroverted person. So in the times when I have been lonely, I’ve found people to talk to. An example: many moons ago I had moved with my then husband (he’s my EX now – let me make that clear….) to a new area. He promptly left the state for 3 months of training. Since I didn’t know anybody in town, and I wasn’t working yet, I joined a gym.

Once there I noticed who the regulars were. One woman in particular – we’ll call her Joan ; ) – was there everyday at the same time I was. So I said hello. She said hello politely but obviously didn’t want to be bothered. So I said hello the next day AND for days on end…until!…..she decided to talk to me. I broke her down and we’re still friends almost 30 years later.

Nope…I’m not lonely. How about you?

Barbara JoyBarbara’s Challenge:

One of the things that happens when you move around a lot is, you never really put roots down in a community.  In every city we’ve moved to the first people I seem to make friends with are the fellow dog walkers.  Those are not the relationships you go to when you really want to talk things over.  They’re not really the folks that know and appreciate the fact that you read a magazine backwards.  I started a blog (a different one than middleSage) ~ after my mother died and I needed to connect with other women who had mothers like mine.  It was incredible an incredible experience making virtual connections with people I didn’t know.  And now, the relationships I have with some of our readers here at middleSage fill me up…in between visits from the kids!

Since I’m hoping we get to stay here in Atlanta, I am looking forward to connecting with the community and meeting friends.  In the meantime, I have all the tools I need to reach out and touch.

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  1. Great post! I never realized how important other relationships were until I got divorced. I belonged to groups and church when I was married, but seriously my life revolved around my family and even through I took out ample time to be alone, I didn’t foster friendships that were anything more than casual. Now I have different types of friendships, some more casual than others, some closer, more personal. Benefit? I’m not trying to get all my needs met by my partner. Do I get lonely? Sure. Sometimes. Am I lonely? No, not really. Very thought provoking, ladies!
    Carolyn Moore recently posted…A Sunday Diversion – Epically Awesome AwardsMy Profile

    • Barbara Coleman

      18 July

      Carolyn, Lee and I were just talking about how being lonely affects being happy. I’ve come to the feeling now, that even if you’re alone – if you’re engaged in something you don’t feel lonely. When I was younger, I didn’t have the ability to “self soothe” if you will and needed to be around people. Today, I’ve got a lot of interests that keep me occupied and happy. Like talking to you… 🙂

    • Lee

      19 July

      Carolyn – as YOU realize there is a huge difference between being lonely and being alone. Barb and I talk at length about that and how friendships change over the years. I’ve always found time alone to be critical for me in order to decompress and relax. But again, those times I wasn’t lonely. I think we’ve all been lonely at one time or another and hopefully we learn how to reach out to people and how to cultivate those friendships that enrich and nurture us.

      Thank you for your comment!

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