Wouldn’t that be great! You go to the doctor and say, “I’m lonely.” He takes out his prescription pad and scribbles out illegible words and you drop it off at your nearest Walgreens to be filled. Then you head home with the bottle, take as directed, and voila! – your loneliness is gone. If only it were that simple.
However, I wonder if it is all that different from addressing other needs. Think about it – when you are hungry, you know you need to eat. So you find some food. Being sleepy is probably an indication that you are tired and probably need to take a nap or go to bed early. Similarly, feelings of loneliness are a sign that you have needs that aren’t being met.
While it would be terrific if someone could just prescribe – two hugs a day; making a phone call a day to check on a friend; or having lunch once a week with someone with whom you have been close but have fallen out of touch. But it is not that easy – or is it?
Steps needed to combat loneliness are not that complex and can be very concrete and practical. And before you dismiss the idea, know that loneliness increases our odds of dying by 45%. So, today’s tip – begin with bringing your loneliness out into the open. No longer deny it. Instead recognize your need to connect and take one step towards that – even if it is only a text or phone call to a friend. It is a start.