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Healing Hurts :: LONELINESS

In hopes of targeting topics to fit my reader's needs, I recently took a pollof the hurts women struggle with. My poll listed: depression, anxiety, drug andalcohol abuse, sexual addiction, loneliness, self-hatred, andinferiority. The survey results were interesting, but not surprising.
Loneliness overshadowed all the other struggles listed. 
Using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, AARPsurveyed 3012 people over the age of 45 and found 35 percent arechronically lonely compared to 20 percent in a similar survey ten yearsearlier. 
According to the 2010 Census, 25 percent ofAmerican households are maintained by a single person, a dramatic increase from7 percent in 1940. 
Over half of all Americans report having no close confidant or friends outside their immediate family; 25 percent of American have no meaningful social support at all, not a single person they can confide in!
All this means serious trouble for our health. Lonely people tend to have higher stresslevels, exercise less, have more substance abuse, weaker immune systems, andthe list goes on.
What is Loneliness? 
Loneliness isa state of sadness resulting from feeling separated from others.
Chronic loneliness is continually feeling disconnected from others;often leads to personal isolation, bitterness and destructive behavior.

Loneliness today seems to come with thejob. Not only are morechildren growing up with single parents, but where there are twoparents, often both parents are working with an average commute of 46 minutes.By the time everyone gets home, there's no time to visit with the neighborwhile the kids play outside. We wear busy as a badge while the value ofcommunity connection all but disappears.
Alone vs. Lonely  
Being alone refers to the physical stateof being separated from others.
Being lonely refers to the emotional feeling ofisolation or rejection.
Being alone can be a positive time ofcreativity or meditation with God.
Being lonely is always negative with feelings ofhopelessness and worthlessness. 
What about all my social-media friends andfollowers? Studies show rather thanbuilding community, social-networking sites give a false sense of connectionthat increases loneliness in people who already feel alone. A lonely woman mayget on Facebook and see all the cool things her friends aredoing with their exciting vacations, romantic dinners and happy families, shethen begins to feel discontent with her own life.
Causes for Loneliness
Situational Loneliness: divorce, death of a loved one, empty nest,loss of job or home, physical disability, major move, illness, aging, abuse,new job, estrangement of family, etc...
Spiritual Loneliness: bad things happen and you feel God hasabandoned you.

Social stigmas surround Loneliness. It's seems acceptable to be on medication fordepression, but being lonely often means unwanted, unlovable,unattractive, unintelligent. Loneliness is compounded not only with feelingalone but being alone in that feeling. It seems no one understands.
Some helpful solutions...
  • AskGod for guidance and He will help you!
  • Evaluateyour loneliness. Take the UCLA Loneliness Test.
  • Takecharge of your feelings; remove negative thoughts and self-talk.
  • Volunteerin your community.
  • Joinand get plugged into a local Bible believing church.
  • Reducework commute to free up time for friends, family and activities.
  • Don'tsubstitute electronic communication for face time.
  • Takean adult education class, start scrap-booking, knitting or quilting.
  •  Bedetermined not to isolate. Nurture personal relationships. 
  •  Meet your neighbors. Start a ladies lunch or dinner once a month.
  •  Getthe resources listed below. 
  •  Readand memorize Scripture.
  •  Listento praise and worship music. 

Personally, loneliness is high on my list ofstruggles. It's gotten better as I've grown in the Lord but it still shows upwhen I least expect it. I'm not a doctor or a counselor and don't pretendto have all the answers. The more I researched loneliness the more I discoveredwhat a huge problem it is in our world today. I spent several weeks studyingand found volumes of material on the subject. There was no way I could possiblycover all the areas needed so I've added a few resources below. 

If you suffer with chronic loneliness and have no one to talk to, please feel free to contact me here. 
The three best resources I found to help withloneliness: 
Worship music helps me most when I'm lonely.Here are some of my favorites. Rest in the Father's Hands and receive Hislove for you...

Jesus Culture - All I Need is You

Misty Edwards - My Soul Longs for You

Michael W. Smith - More Love, More Power

Photo Courtesy 123RF Stock Photo