When Being Alone Turns Into Loneliness, There Are Ways to Fight Back

Photo credit:Wall Street Journal

When does spending time by yourself transition to full-blown loneliness? In her column, writer Elizabeth Berstein explores loneliness and what we can do to prevent feeling lonely.

Loneliness can actually be as detrimental to your health as smoking or heavy drinking, according to research from Brigham Young University. Other studies have shown that people are lonelier now than in the past, which may be because the U.S. Census Bureau has confirmed that more people are living alone than ever before.

Bernstein says, “And, to be frank, many of us spend way too much time behind electronic screens and not nearly enough on our real, in-person connections.” Bernstein explains that loneliness doesn’t necessarily mean that you are alone; it just means that you feel isolated from others.

The good news, according to Lauren Mackler, author of “Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life,” is that we can change loneliness. Mackler explains, “You are creating the experience of loneliness by how you are thinking and behaving. ”Taking on a different perspective can help to change your feelings.

Bernstein’s advice: “Turn being alone into a positive. Do things you enjoy doing alone, like reading or walking. But make it part of your routine to be around people. Join a club, volunteer. If all else fails, have dinner at the bar in your favorite restaurant. Talk to the bartender.”

The Wall Street Journal, 11/4/13

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