How to Avoid Feelings of Loneliness When You’re Alone
Being alone may not be up to you, but rather how you react to it is.
According to researchers, feelings of loneliness aren’t always attributed to being physically alone. Sometimes there’s an element of self-isolation that drives up feelings of loneliness, and especially during the pandemic as many of us are sheltering in place, we are physically alone, further emphasizing those feelings. But what if there was a way to avoid feeling lonely?
In September of 2019, podcaster Danny Miranda was in San Diego working a high paying agency job. On the outside, it looked like Danny was successful by every traditional standard. He was independent, held a respectable job, and was in good physical shape. But on the inside, Danny was depressed, battling a gambling addiction and had little desire to get up in the morning. Feeling uninspired and disconnected from the world, Danny only left the house to go to the gym.
Working out would become Danny’s superpower. After discovering the program 75 Hard — a 75-day commitment to fitness and turning your life around — Danny decided to take back control of his life. After the first day, he messaged his now mentor, Tej Dosa, and the two of them completed the program together. Things started to get better for Danny. He felt confident again.
But as it so often happens, things slipped out of alignment.
In January 2020 the depression and negative thoughts returned. And then COVID hit, stress levels rose even higher due to concerns about family and frustration with society’s initial reaction to the news of a potential pandemic. Danny knew he wasn’t where he wanted to be but didn’t know how to get out. He would have to take it step by step.
In February, Danny confronted his gambling addiction by finally admitting it to his parents. Admitting he had a problem made him realize he didn’t have to fight his battles on his own.
And then on March 14, Danny decided he had enough of his depression and resolved to find a way out, once and for all. It was time to start a new phase. He started with simple affirmations, “I will get through it. I will come out of quarantine stronger. Propel me forward.” He also made a resolution to practice meditation and committed himself to 3 months of practice before judging whether or not he wanted to continue.
On March 28th, he wrote his first post on his website, DannyMiranda.com, and committed to 2 posts a week. Since that day in March, he’s kept the same energy into 2021. His mindset now? “Life throws you a situation — great, let’s make life better!” I think there’s a lot we can learn from Danny’s story. It may be his, but it doesn’t have to be unique. When we’re alone, when we’re at our lowest point, that is when we are most open to transformation.
After committing to meditation, Danny started to change. Despite how physically alone he felt, he says meditation made him realize how connected he was to the world around him. It wasn’t easy but his practice taught him that he didn’t have to feel lonely.
You can hear Danny’s full story here and find him on twitter @heydannymiranda. He’s even hosted a podcast with the great Gary Vaynerchuk! Congrats on your commitment to the process Danny, we’re all rooting for you.
Trying New Things
Being alone might not always feel great, but it presents a rare opportunity for growth and to try new things. Maybe, like Danny, it’s starting a podcast. Or perhaps its learning to paint or starting a newsletter or trying that new cookbook. It’s not often that we get to spend such an extensive amount of time with ourselves. All too often we’re scared to try new things because we feel an impending wave of judgment.
Jason Rodelo, a self-proclaimed “Motivational Warrior”, on TikTok and Instagram provides some great advice about trying new things. Watch it here.
When we spend time alone, we can do things simply for the sake of doing them. Without needing to worry about unwelcome eyes watching our every move. I know that it may not be easy but having fun by yourself is possible. Your mindset is your most powerful force. Keanu Reeves also gives some wonderfully refreshing advice about self-love and loneliness:
“Someone told me the other day that he felt bad for single people because they are lonely all the time. I told him that’s not true I’m single and I don’t feel lonely. I take myself out to eat, I buy myself clothes. I have great times by myself. Once you know how to take care of yourself, company becomes an option and not a necessity.” ― Keanu Reeves
But alas, in the midst of the pandemic, even some of Keanu’s suggestions seem out of reach. With so many in person events and activities cancelled, we turn to our screens. Even though technology has recently caught a lot of flak with Netflix’s The Social Dilemma, there are some great companies making technology to help keep us less stressed and more connected.
How Can Technology Help?
If you’re interested in trying meditation, there are some great apps on the market that can help you get started and guide you through the process. Personally, I’ve been using Headspace for the past month and have noticed a significant uptick in my clarity of thought. Headspace Founder, Andy Puddicombe spent some time in Asia where he trained as a Buddhist monk. Many of the teachings reflect his learnings. If you’re not sure Headspace will work for you, they offer a free 14-day trial.
Calm is another great option. Featuring celebrity voices including Matthew McConaughey, Nick Offerman and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Calm is a powerhouse of relaxation. Not to mention, their aesthetically soothing videos lull your mind into a state of meditation on their own. Calm also offers a free trial.
Beyond meditation, technology provides some great tools to stay connected with friends even when being together isn’t possible. Starting your own podcast might not be for everyone but having fun and engaging conversations with people can be!
Zoom and Google Hangouts are among the free video chat software’s on the market. These can be great for smaller groups but if you’re using a free Zoom account, the call will end after 40 minutes. And the more people you have on a call, the harder it is to have a real conversation.
This is where Glimpse may come in handy.
Friend groups and student organizations alike have been using Glimpse for speed-dating, recruitment, general member meetings, community building and more. Glimpse allows for round robin style calls, giving users a one-on-one chat with anyone in your community. Try Glimpse with your organization and see what it can do for you! Glimpse also includes some fun ice breakers and mini games.
What Glimpser’s Are Saying:
“Using Glimpse was awesome! Conversation flowed naturally so it was a nice way to have a chill conversation and to give people who haven’t met an opportunity to do so”
“One of the freshmen that came mentioned that it was one of the few social events where she was actually able to talk to people”
“By far my favorite platform for virtual engagement!”
How has COVID impacted your group? If you’re a student group interested in using Glimpse to build your community, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help you!