Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In the News: Loneliness Can Keep You Up at Night

A new study has found that feelings of loneliness may cause you to toss and turn at night (Source: MSN). Participants who felt most alone had what the study authors called fragmented sleep and woke more often.

However, loneliness is not the same as being alone. You could be in a crowded room and feel as if you're invisible or unable to make an emotional connection with someone else. The emptiness that you feel is caused by not having as much social interaction or intimacy as you would want.

Everyone experiences loneliness at some time in their lives. To combat it, you might try volunteering (Volunteering at Catholic Health), which can increase your self-esteem and introduce you to people whom you otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to meet.

If you're feeling lonely, try out the following strategies recommended by Psychology Today.

Improve Your Social Skills

Learn how to build and maintain relationships by taking a course, reading a book, or seeking professional guidance. Make it a point to practice your social skills each day – say hello to a stranger or get to know a co-worker.

Seek Out Opportunities to Socialize

In addition to volunteering, you might consider joining a sports team, book club, or other group activity. Check out the website Meetups to find groups in the Western New York and Buffalo area. Groups focus on movie nights, board games, fitness, hobbies, and more. There's even a group for people who are new in town.

Think Positively

When you're lonely, you're on the lookout for negative social cues. You interpret trivial events (such as a co-worker neglecting to say "hello") as a slight. Persistent loneliness is often caused by a cycle of negative thinking. Breaking that cycle can help you to regain your happiness and get a better night's sleep.

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