‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty’ – Mother Teresa
Loneliness is definitely not a major concern in Oman, with the society established on the very edifice of family togetherness, and the community geared to champion the cause of its members without reserve. But loneliness is not merely absence of people around you; it is a complex and unpleasant emotional response to isolation caused by social, emotional or the obvious physical factors.
Loneliness could be a malady, even when it is not stemming from physical causes. Prolonged loneliness is, generally, associated with depression and introversion. What makes it difficult to figure out the extent and dangers of loneliness is the fact that it is a highly subjective issue. One could be alone without feeling lonely and could feel lonely even when there are people around.
Like most psychological issues, loneliness has no ready answer or quick remedy, but there are ways to temper down the level of loneliness and even incubate seeds of happiness.
Here is a little guide to help thwart loneliness before it makes home in your life:
Find the cause: Before you take up any activity to suppress those feelings of loneliness, find out what brought that emotion up. Was it triggered by some incident or situation? Are your friends or family responsible or, perhaps, the work atmosphere…? The reason behind your feelings will help you adopt the right course of action.
Take a walk: Being outdoors has its own advantages. Even if summer sun makes outdoors seem unattractive, make time in the early morning or late evening to venture out, inhale the fresh air, imbibe the smells and sounds around and get those limbs to move and send shots of adrenaline up your body.
Watch a movie: But not alone in the confines of your room… Book a ticket at one of the cinema houses in the capital and find a friend to go along or go yourself. Watching a movie at a stretch, in an ambience that forces you to immerse in the story, could act as a diversion from your gloomy mood. Alternately, make reading a part of your life and find a book that could engage your time and mind.
Meetup: Finding a like-minded group or organisation to fill your leisure hours with meaningful activity is a great start to your ‘fight loneliness’ campaign. But in the absence of any local organisations that meet your interests, check if colleagues or friends like the idea of meeting informally for coffee or dinner. This could help you to slowly and steadily erase loneliness lines.
Volunteer: There is something very humane about a volunteering act. It not just helps you to create better opportunities for others, but also infuses you with a distinct feel good sensation. The smallest act of kindness can provoke a host of positive emotions, which will spread to other aspects of life. You could even take up a cause that is close to your heart… May be adopt a pet?
Take a trip: Trips have a universal appeal. The more exotic the destination the more joys it is bound to provide. But trips need not necessarily be to an international destination, even domestic travel can create an element of freshness in your life. Come to think of it, a long drive without any concern for time or place has a therapeutic value too. And if driving is not palatable in your current state of mind, hop on a bus and simply take the ticket to the last stop. Change is essential to create conditions that can give loneliness a go.
Laugh out loud: Switch on the TV and find a channel that churns out comedy serials to get guffaws out of you. Give in to the hints of the laughter track and laugh without inhibition. Laughter, as a therapy, has no competition.
Sing and dance: Go on, crank up the music and belt out the lyrics of your favourite song or simply do your jiggle as you watch the song play out on your television. Singing and dancing are fun ways of working out and, as has been established, exercise can easily push the adrenaline up and spread its feel good charm.