At one end of the spectrum, loneliness was a topic once largely associated with ageing. And at the other? It was usually all about broken hearts with record companies making tons of moulah out of sad, sad lyrics with wailing, misery inducing, bluesy backings!
Time to be serious. Nowadays it not only has a much greater depth and understanding, especially given its close alignment with anxiety, depression and mental health, but is a subject that is gaining increased government intervention including significant financial support. In the UK, for example, they even took the step to recently appoint a Minister for Loneliness. This move was partly influenced by detailed research that revealed the largest group experiencing loneliness was in the 15-25 age group. Here in Australia, indications are that we are about the same, the common denominator being the role played by social media.
The Black Dog Institute in Australia defines loneliness as:
Loneliness is that negative feeling that arises when our social needs are unmet by the quantity and quality of our current social relationships. As social beings, we rely on safe, secure social surroundings to survive and thrive. When we begin to feel lonely we experience heightened feelings of vulnerability which can take a toll on both our bodies and our minds.
As small business owners we all want to 'survive and thrive' meaning that, during the down times, our vulnerability to loneliness can be truly tested. The good news is that the commitment and research available through organisations like the Black Dog Institute offer much insight and advice to help us deal with the subject of loneliness as you will see at the end of this message.
Meanwhile, here's another thought. During those times of challenge in our businesses, our default often makes us view the world through the lenses of anxiety, fear and shame. In doing so, it may distort the reality of the situation whilst hiding any opportunities for correction or reversal. Three things need to take place here:
Decide not to believe that the lens through which we are viewing our circumstances presents a true picture.
Next ‘clear the decks' by deflecting, diffusing or destroying those negative thoughts that are undermining us.
Renew the mind by looking at opportunities going forward and, in the process, renew or initiate the social interactions that will not only increase our insights into the job at hand but push that loneliness factor into the background.
You should now read this link to other suggestions and wisdom offered by our friends at Black Dog and let's all take one mighty swipe at the debilitating effects of loneliness!