Today’s Solutions: May 16, 2022

We would love it if all our readers could be in the company of their loved ones this holiday season, but with the coronavirus continuing to surge, we know that’s not exactly a possibility for everyone. That, sadly enough, opens the door to loneliness.

While we cannot help you bring the family together,  science does offer us a few ways to feel connected and alleviate loneliness even when there’s nobody around. Below, you’ll find four science-backed ways to relieve loneliness when you find yourself alone.

Engage in a hobby: Spending time with friends and family can bring meaning into your life, but that’s not the only way you can experience meaningfulness. When you engage in a hobby like cooking or painting, you can turn your alone time into something that feels meaningful and fulfilling, which in turn, can soothe feelings of loneliness and improve overall well-being. In one study, researchers found that people who spend time alone of their own volition experience less loneliness, suggesting that when we see time alone as an offering or opportunity, we can feel less lonely when we’re by ourselves.

Avoid watching TV and scrolling social media: Extensive research from author Robert D. Putnam examined various factors that might explain why our social engagement has been shrinking in the last few decades. What he found was that nothing decreased social engagement as much as the creation of the TV. Putnam argues that TV steals time and “seems to encourage lethargy and passivity,” which has been linked to loneliness. And although Putnam’s research came before the advent of social media, newer research suggests a link between time spent using social media and loneliness. Best to avoid it and grab a book instead.

Look for the best in everyday things: Have you ever heard of an “awe walk?” It’s essentially a daily fifteen-minute walk in which you spend time noticing everyday beauty, like the vibrant colors of the fall leaves. In one study, researchers found that an “awe walk” can help people feel more socially connected than a control group of walkers. Additionally, other research has established links between gratitude and loneliness, which suggests that if we look for things to be thankful for, we’ll feel more connected—even when we’re by ourselves.

Practice loving-kindness meditation: One practice researchers have found to be effective for increasing feelings of social connection is known as loving-kindness meditation. This involves meditating on the love we have for those around us. To learn about loving-kindness meditation, check out this video here.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Women’s health news: Spain to introduce 3-day “menstrual leave”

While some governments seek to limit women's access to safe abortions, there are some in the developed world aiming to do just the opposite and even go a step or two further. The Spanish government ... Read More

Volunteer scuba divers recover 25,000 pounds of trash from Lake Tahoe

While few other lakes in the United States can compete with Lake Tahoe’s clear waters, the country’s second deepest lake does have a trash problem. To address this, California nonprofit Clean Up the Lake has ... Read More

Standup comedy course helps support men at risk of suicide

Here at The Optimist Daily, we believe wholeheartedly in the power of healing through laughter, joy, and a positive outlook—and it seems as though the UK National Health Service (NHS) is on the same page. ... Read More

How to keep friends with different political views

There’s a lot to be gained from friends with different opinions. That said, it can be difficult to maintain friendships with people who have strongly held opinions, politically speaking. This is why the editorial team ... Read More

Regulators propose long-overdue changes to Community Reinvestment Act

Technology and commerce, unfortunately, always seem to move too fast for the law to keep up. Social media had already become a staple of modern culture before its functions and money-making operations could be evaluated ... Read More

How do massive flocks of starlings fly in perfect unison?

Have you ever watched a flock of birds fly, turn, and dive in what seems like perfect unison? You might look at this and assume that a lead bird is determining the directions of the ... Read More