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I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I have been there and know how hard loneliness can be.
I agree that getting yourself off of Facebook will help you a lot. And professional help can be life saving at times.
One thing that also helped me is to GIVE what i was seeking. For e.g: I would suggest looking for ways to share of yourself and your unique gifts in some way. Maybe you are good with pets? Or you enjoy reading and you could read to folks in hospice care? Or you love science and kids and so could volunteer at the local museum where you share that with kids who visit? Or maybe you like running so join a local runners club that runs for a cause you believe in….When we share what we are good at and help others, you will first feel so good about yourself, and second, beautiful friendships could enter your life.
I wish you lots of friendships, love and peace,
My name is Kavetha and I am a psychiatrist and someone who is always trying to learn more about how to listen and have better conversations, since thats what I primarily do for a living 🙂
My suggestions would be:
Ask clarifying questions: for e.g; if the person is talking about her commute to work: ask how she gets to work and how long it takes etc;
Don’t over pepper with questions though: let the conversation flow naturally and ask the next question when there is a slight lull
Mimicking body language of the other person is helpful too. It activates neurons in the brain called “”mirror neurons”, which makes both people in a conversation feel empathy. For e.g.: If the person is sitting and slumped over, sit down nearby; whereas if he/she is excitedly pacing, then stand up and ask if they want to chat while walking etc;
Also, while making eye contact, its helpful to look into the other persons LEFT eye. since signals from the left eye go mainly to the right part of the brain which is more emotionally attuned. But be careful to not stare.
Smiling is good, as long as it feels genuine (We are all remarkably good at picking up on fake smiles).
Sometimes, just nodding and “uh-huh” or “oh wow that must have been hard” etc; is enough to show the person you are interested and following their train of thought, but not interrupting or finishing their sentences for them.
Open non judgmental listening, without preconceived ideas or solutions is always helpful.
Amy Cuddy, a brillant psychologist who studies this, has an awesome TED talk that I also learnt a lot from:
Let me know if you have ay other specific questions, would love to help answer them.
Great to connect with you! And thank you for checking out my site 🙂
Could you post the link to your site? I would love to check out your articles 🙂
Wonderful to hear that! Yes sometimes meditation in the classic sense can be hard but you can get the same benefits form tuning in to your body and sensations in the moment AS YOU ARE going about normal activities! As you said, like brushing and walking! 😀
As Hami said, kudos to you for recognizing this and wanting to work on it. We all have our strengths and weaknesses but only few of us are willing to be vulnerable enough to admit to and try to work on our weaknesses. You’ve already won half the battle!
I’m a psychiatrist and so I have trained on how to truly listen and be empathic as its essential to my work. I’ve written a post abut this which I think you might find helpful.
What helps me is to challenge myself to see if I can come away from a conversation feeling like I have GIVEN something to the other person. That intention helps me stay empathic.
Sending you warm thoughts,
I just noticed my email wasn’t displayed properly in my earlier email. I apologize! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you also in the Jon Morrow course?
You are most welcome and I’m glad it was useful for you.
Lots of luck and warm wishes for your journey. Let me know if Ic an help in any way.
I just read your post above and can feel how worried you are. I wanted to share that DBT might be something to look into. Its called Dialectical Behavior therapy and it helps with some of the symptoms you have mentioned. I’m a psychiatrist which is how I know about it. It has four main parts: Mindfulness, Distress tolerance, Interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation.
Here is some more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_behavior_therapy
Also, I would suggest talking to your PCP about other possible resources.
Wishing you peace and joy,
Lovely to hear from you and about your interests! Feel free to email me at: kavetha at gmail.com
Have a safe and happy weekend 🙂
One thing that has helped me with guilt is to do what I can to the people/situation that is remaining now. For e.g: I said something hurtful to an aunt many years ago, and she passed away before I could ask for forgiveness. After much thought, I spoke to her daughter, gave an outline of what I had mis-spoken in the past to her mom, and asked for forgiveness. I beleive the healing is still real, because I had openly acknowledged it to the most closely related person/situation that remains NOW, asked for forgiveness and that helped assauge my guilt too.
The past is gone, not real anymore. Never will be. But the present is here and in our hands. Every small act TODAY, practised with loving kindness toward yourself and others, helps.
Have a wonderful day!
It’s amazing to see how we all, almost universally, sense that anxiety comes from worrying about highly improbable future events. And that staying in the moment helps.
I’ve found that getting OUT OF MY MIND really helps when I’m anxious. Since all our anxiety inducing thoughts are just that…thoughts running around in our minds. So what I’ve learnt to do is:
1) I try to name the feeling: For e.g: “I’m feeling anxious” or “I’m feeling angry”… Just recognizing the feeling and saying it out loud can be helpful.
2) Remind myself that I’m NOT my thoughts. That thoughts and feelings are temporary, they come and go, like leaves floating in a river or clouds in the sky…
3) Do a brief body scan mindfulness: This seems to bring my awareness out of my own mind and into the present moment in a very tangible way. If anyone is interested, here is a good one by Elisha Goldstein: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsCVqFr6j1g
4) Do just one small thing that would help me feel a bit more in control of the situation: like if Im anxious about a presentation coming up, just do a mental practice one more time. Or if I’m anxious about a trip with my kids coming up, maybe email a friend who has been there for some tips on best places to eat with kids or where are the 24 hour pharmacies etc; Anything. However small, taking that action to problem solve for yourself can help you feel calmer.
Have a peaceful rest tonight everyone 🙂
Dear Midge and fellow “tiny buddhas”,
Midge, I love how you used “allow to fall away”, rather than “try to fix”. When we look at “fixing” something within us, it can often feel like a race we can never win….thee is always something new to fix, some new “deficit”, but your “allow to fall away” feels to me like a leaf that is allowing a water droplet to just fall away when it’s time. Me likey 🙂
@ Vincent: I TOTALLY relate to that Vincent! It is addictive but exhausting looking to the blogosphere for validation as a writer. Maybe we should start a support group here for this? What say you? BTW, love your blog!
I’m trying to let fall away the worry that my younger brother, who is struggling, will not be happy….but also trying to remind myself that happiness itself is relative and to enjoy him for this moment
Hugs to all our worries and I hope we can learn to let them fall away naturally.
Hi Angela and Sheila,
Hope you both had a wonderful weekend!
I finally finished my E-book (I have been working on/obsessing over it for a few weeks now…it’s good to have it out there at last 😉
Do check it out and share it with whomever you think might benefit. It’s called “Beyond meds” and you can find it @ http://www.talk-doctor.com
Yes loneliness is such a part of modern human existence…communities are much more isolated and less involved with one another these days. I recall summer vacations at my grandma’s home (a rural village in India), we used to sit outside together with the neighbours every evening, just to chat. The cool evening breeze and the comforting smells of dinner from each home (main door were kept open from morning to dusk), kids playing with sticks and stones and elders sat arund you and talked and laughed…I haven’t been able to recreate that sense of connection in my adult life in suburbia.
Emotional flat lining may be due to the medications too, I would definitely discuss that with your psychiatrist as well.
Purpose, connections and mindfulness seem to be major ingredients of life contentment. And as you said, volunteering is a great idea. In fact, research has shown that happiness is best increased when we give of ourselves. Its’ important to not give to the point of feeling overwhelmed though.
Have a beautiful weekend,
Hmm…interesting perspective traveler 🙂