By Donna Gates, as seen on:
The feeling of loneliness is a Uni-versal one.
At some point in life, we are all confronted with the feeling of being alone. Alone in our struggles and alone in our discoveries.
When most of us feel lonely, we look for comfort outside of ourselves. We look for distractions and relief. Maybe we turn on the television, go shopping, or search the web.
While this may help immediately, the real solution to loneliness is found within.
As strange as it sounds, when we are lonely, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is spend more time alone.
Deepak Chopra once said, “Loneliness is separation. Solitude is unity.”
This message has been woven into some of our most ancient spiritual traditions—from Buddhism to Christianity to physical practices like yoga. Union with The Uni-verse, divinity, and with our own soul means that we are never truly alone.
When we feel lonely, we are living in a state of separation.
Loneliness is not telling us that we need more friends or that no one understands us. Loneliness tells us that we have lost track of our own inner light.
When we are blissfully alone and tuned into higher levels of consciousness, we live in a state of union - not despair.
While loneliness is an emotion that can depress our mood, there are other reasons that it’s worth paying attention to. Loneliness also affects our physical health and well-being.
Studies have found that loneliness can increase the biochemical signal for stress. It also takes a toll on heart health and the immune system.
According to John Cacioppo, co-author of the book Loneliness: Human Nature and The Need For Social Connection, we are more likely to drink alcohol and less likely to exercise when we feel lonely.
And that’s not all.
Loneliness can interrupt our sleep, drain our daytime energy, and interfere with the regulation of cellular energy, predisposing us to premature aging.
In fact, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently published a study on the repercussions of loneliness in older adults. They found that the feeling of loneliness is associated with high levels of inflammation in the body. And inflammation puts us at risk for cancer, heart disease, and degenerative brain disorders.
The researchers at Carnegie Mellon also found that mindfulness meditation can help overcome the feeling of loneliness.
Mindfulness meditation makes us aware the present moment. It reminds us of our relationship with all beings. It brings us into a state of unity.
The next time that you feel lonely, use it as an opportunity to deepen your connection with yourself and those around you - in solitude.
In finding union within, you can get to the heart of that lonely feeling. Both your physical body and your mind will feel healthier, lighter and happier.
What are some things you do when feeling lonely? Let’s share and support each other in the comments below!
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