All of us have experienced moments of loneliness and isolation. And the reason why loneliness is so painful is because of its twin emotion: shame. People feel a sense of shame surrounding loneliness because they think it’s a sign that they’re unlovable, weak, or inadequate in some way. However, shame actually stands for “SHOULD HAVE ALREADY MASTERED EVERYTHING.” The paradox of loneliness is that, when we can identify the truth behind the feeling, we can reduce its hold on us. The latest science on loneliness and several proven Positive Psychology interventions can help reduce your sense of isolation and strengthen your connection to yourself and others.
- Embrace solitude
A helpful way to shift your thinking that’s been proven to be effective is to embrace the concept of solitude. Specifically, remembering that, when you’re with yourself, you’re always in good company. I like to engage in solitude by turning on my SOARING into Strength Spotify playlist and singing along to my favorite tunes from my coming of age years and the present. The playlist keeps me company and it’s hard to feel blue when I am belting out my favorite songs.
- Practice authentic self-talk
Another technique is to have an authentic conversation with yourself with tenderness and love—the same way you’d speak to a young child or someone who needs extra TLC. You’ll be surprised how comforting this technique can be once you get the hang of it. If you’re not predisposed to be so warm and fuzzy, consider talking to yourself as an encouraging coach or your favorite mentor or teacher from your childhood—someone who believed in you and accepted you for who you were. These success strategies all create a shift in large part because they release endorphins, known as the happy feel-good hormones, while also decreasing cortisol levels in your bloodstream that cause you to feel activated and stressed.
A physical way to shift your thoughts is called havening: a healing technique involving arm movements and guided imagery. It can be used to help shift feelings or painful memories from being extremely triggering and upsetting, to being more neutral and tolerable. It is such a simple and powerful process that can help you manage your reactions to powerful negative experiences. The next time that you experience some kind of anxiety or stress, grab your arms and give yourself a big hug.
All of these suggestions can help you transform your shame into loving kindness. Not taking the opportunity to shower yourself with loving kindness would actually be a shame.
I’m sending you strength and love.
Soaringwords is the power to heal.