Today is National Cheer Up The Lonely Day. And rather than spend too much time focusing on loneliness which is, unfortunately, a disease that's spreading like wildfire in the 21st century, I want to focus on ways that you can help cheer up anyone you may know who is alone or feels isolated. "Loneliness is a nearly invisible affliction. It often has little to do with being physically alone—even those surrounded by friends, family, and coworkers can feel its pangs. But there are subtle signs. There may be obvious sadness, a loss of the ability to sleep, hostility, sudden weight gain, constant fatigue, or any number of unexplained behavioral changes. If you’re unsure, one of the best things you can do is simply ask. This can not only reveal someone’s loneliness but simultaneously makes them feel important." Once you become aware that you or someone you know is feeling the pain of loneliness, There are many excellent ways to cheer up anyone, regardless of the cause of their loneliness.
1. Do something small. Nobody enjoys being pitied. it's important, then, not to make the lonely person feel like a charity case. Instead, do something that is genuine and feels natural, like invite them on an outing with you. That could be stopping for a cup of coffee, going grocery shopping, or just walking the local mall. Take them for a picnic in the park. These are not grand gestures but will make the other person feel as if they're cared about and that they matter.
2. Listen. Talk to them and really hear what they say. "Listening is more than simply hearing - it takes work, and if you do it right it can make that lonely person feel incredibly values," say the folks at beliefnet.com. Ask about any hobbies or interests they have and then find out where they can meet up with others who share their passions. Whatever you talk about, just be sure to use open and positive words and body language.
3. Once you find out what the person enjoys doing, take them! This simple act serves two purposes; A. It gets out doing things that are important to them and, B. You may find that this new activity is something you also enjoy.
4. Get to know them. Don't push to the point of being nosey, but do take the time to get to know them. Relate to them, certainly, but don't hog the conversation. Let the spotlight shine on them! Beliefnet.com says that people are only as socially vulnerable as the other person is. That means if you want them to open up, you must be willing to open up as well. If you want to engage them, you must first show them who you are.
5. Be optimistic. "A lonely person needs strong, optimistic friends. Negativity, sadness, and loneliness can easily spread—think of them almost like social diseases. Make sure that you’re a positive influence. This can be a lot of work, especially if you’re not naturally cheerful, but it can make a world of difference." remember that happiness is infectious. So so go ahead and spread it. Just be sure it's genuine. Don't be phony. Most folks can smell that a mile away!
6. Play with animals. There's nothing quite as comforting as a furry little friend. "Numerous studies show that animals make us happier, and leave us feeling more fulfilled and relaxed. They can be wonderful social icebreakers, and their sincere, unfiltered affection can allay feelings of loneliness like nothing else. if they're not allergic, introduce them to your own furry friend. Or take them to your local animal shelter and sign up to volunteer. They always need humans to walk the dogs and brush the kitties. It's a win-win for everyone, especially the animals!
7. Help set goals. "Setting small goals and attaining them can be an immensely satisfying process, and are more important than ever when you’re feeling down." it helps to alleviate that feeling of being helpless. No one wants a handout but everyone can use a hand up. Once you've discovered what it is they like to do, help your lonely friend or neighbor find ways to connect and do the things that bring them joy. Once you have a manageable list of small goals in place, don't leave it there. Be sure to follow up and be sure they're following through. If they're not, find out why and, together, look for solutions.
Loneliness is a terrible thing and I don't any of us, frog or human is immune. But for those who are chronically lonely, they tend to have more health problems which can lead to a shorter and unfulfilled life. Anything any of us can do to help someone we know who is lonely is well worth our time and effort.
Tomorrow I'm making it simple. Please stop by and you'll see what I mean. Until then,