Sawubona is the Zulu word for ‘hello’. It means “I see you”. Imagine that for a moment. Imagine being greeted in a way where someone looks you in the eye and lets you know that you are seen.
You are seen more easily in smaller communities. With fewer people around, you are noticed, either by your presence or your absence. In cities, this is not so true.
While cities can be fun, exciting place to live, they can also provide perfect breeding grounds for loneliness. I can sit in a cafe, stand on a busy train, walk the high streets while surrounded by hundreds of Christmas shoppers and feel cut-off. One should not ignore this strange phenomenon.
Did you know that loneliness is likely to increase your chances of premature death?
Hard to believe perhaps, but a study of over 300,000 people showed just that. In fact, “the impact of having very little social connection is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
What can we do to reduce loneliness?
Do you have friends or family who, for whatever reason, are isolated? Perhaps they can’t or don’t get out much. Would they appreciate a call or a visit from you?
And how about you? Do you ever feel lonely? It’s normal and natural if you do. It’s a sign that you aren’t connected with people as strongly as you’d like.
In navigating my feelings of loneliness, I’ve found that practising connections in authentic ways has had a powerful impact. Authenticity isn’t sharing every minute detail of your mind. It’s about being open, honest and sharing what you genuinely think and feel. It’s about making choices to be the ways you want to be, which can include fun and excitement as well as expressing sadness and anger.
It can feel uncomfortable, but as Susan David reminds us in her TED Talk, ‘discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.’
As far as TED Talks go, this is one of the best I’ve watched. Check out the video below as well all the other links to ideas from around the world to help you work, love, play and feel better.
The Openforwards Weekly Round-up
- The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage. TED Talk by Susan David, author of Emotional Agility: How to get unstuck, embrace change and thrive in work and life.
- 1o Ways Loneliness can affect your health. Insider article by Sarah Schmalbruch
- The Five Steps of a Good Career Decision. Blog post by Career Psychologist, Rob Archer.
- Why Self-Compassion beats Self-Confidence. Article in New York Times by Kristin Wong.
- Five Daily Helpers. https://www.openforwards.com/course-wellbeing/https://www.openforwards.com/course-wellbeing/This short online course focuses on the five most powerful ways to reduce feelings of loneliness and boredom. Priced just £10.95, this audio course contains worksheets designed to help you start feeling and functioning better.
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