Ayurveda writer and teacher RENU GULATI gives us some practical tips on conquering loneliness
Loneliness is a major factor in disease and death. It can even drive one to suicide, psycho-emotional diseases and premature death. Look at how many people die shortly after the death of a loved one, particularly in case of a marital relationship!
Loneliness is a sense of isolation and disconnection from the world. It can even occur when you are surrounded by crowds, and living with your family.
Why does loneliness happen? Perhaps due to a disconnection with oneself. But what does that mean in practical terms? It would mean a lack of purpose and drive emanating from the inner self, lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem; and perhaps overdependence on the outer world for validation.
A loss of a dear one through death or separation can also trigger loneliness. Retirement is also a common cause, as the individual loses the hustle and bustle around him or her and a sense of purpose in life.
Nowadays many people live in nuclear families or even alone on their own. This is considered unhealthy in Ayurveda, which describes health, among other things, as a state of social harmony. This harmony was achieved in times when the extended family was prevalent.
Living alone or in nuclear families can give rise to conflict. This applies to everyone, except the ascetics who purposefully go to places of limited social contact to practise meditation to lift themselves from the life of the mundane, as they see it.
So how do we overcome this feeling of loneliness, which is increasing in prevalence and fast becoming a disease and morbidity factor?
Here are some practical tips:
1. Understand the cause of your loneliness and use your intellect and discrimination to self-talk it away.
2. Read about loneliness; you are not alone.
3. Find a creative distraction for your loneliness. Be it art, writing, journalling and so on.
4. Call friends and have a constructive chat. However, the more you chat about your loneliness, the more it will increase. Do chat about it, but in a way to find a solution rather than just moaning.
5. Seek counselling.
7. Do affirmations, saying that you are your best friend, because in the end this is a fact.
8. Listen to inspirational talks.
9. Take a walk.
10. Listen to music and practise dancing.
11. Find good friends.
12. Spend as much time as possible with people on your wavelength, even if it is just on the phone or internet.
13. Serve people through voluntary work to keep the focus away from yourself.
14. Maintain a gratitude box wherein you put a piece of paper in the box for each thing you are grateful for. Being grateful will veer us away from loneliness.
In the end we are born alone, we die alone and it is our duty to keep ourselves as positive as we can in between. Would that not be wonderful?
The ancient sages of Ayurveda describe health, among other things, as a state of social well being. Let us pay heed to their wisdom for ourselves and the planet as an integrated whole.
Renu Gulati is a lawyer from the UK and holds an MSc in Ayurveda from London since 2006. Based in Rishikesh, she consults, teaches and writes in the field of Ayurveda, internationally.
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(Featured image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay)