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Curb the Growing Loneliness Epidemic

By: Joe Burton
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Woman in nature

Loneliness is an ordinary human experience. We all go through it. Even extraordinary people including Albert Einstein, Lady Gaga, Mother Teresa, Jim Carrey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ellen Degeneres, Serena Williams, and… just about everyone you’ve ever met.

You’re Not Alone

Social Isolation is a growing issue with more people working from home these days. Over time, research has shown that this increases the risk of anxiety and depression. But there’s good news – according to science, mindfulness training has been shown to help increase resilience, build confidence, manage emotions, improve feelings of inner worth, and boost happiness.

So, what should you KNOW to curb loneliness during COVID-19?

  1. You’re not alone. Loneliness effects ⅓ of adults. There are easy and immediate steps you can take to alleviate the feelings of being on your own, self-doubt, or social anxiety.
  2. Feeling especially lonely? Make it RAIN. If you notice a strong emotion (such as loneliness) overwhelming you, remember to use the RAIN practice – Recognize, Accept, Investigate, and Non-identify. This allows you to shift to befriending yourself instead of judging yourself.
  3. Write down your feelings. Journaling about your feelings helps you to not only explore perceived issues, but also the resolution to those issues. It also helps instill a mindset towards helpful action instead of unhealthy rumination.
  4. Practice mindfulness daily. Mindfulness isn’t about meditation. It’s about being able to more skillfully manage your thoughts and emotions – so they don’t manage you. It’s about changing the negative, unhealthy ruminations that can take years off our life.
  5. Try RethinkCare! Our Transform Emotions mini-course helps you to bring kind attention to transform difficult emotions as they arise. Login and get started today!

What can you DO to curb loneliness during COVID-19?

  1. Recognize that it’s normal. everyone goes through it, and you’re not alone.
  2. Label its effects to actively combat them. Shift your thinking from “I’m feeling lonely” to, “I notice that I’m having a thought that I’m feeling lonely.” And then manage those thoughts so they don’t manage you. 🙂
  3. Make positive self-talk a daily habit. Start and end your day with gratitude for yourself, by naming 3 things you love about yourself.
  4. Nurture existing relationships. We recommend that you schedule facetime calls and zoom video chats with friends and family, and then actually have those calls and chats.
  5. Pick up a hobby or volunteer. Learn a new language or take an online class. Or perhaps find an organization which serves a population or an issue that you care about, and see how you can volunteer with them from home!
  6. Enjoy a daily session on RethinkCare. We have over 250 mini-courses, which are proven to boost happiness, reduce negative ruminations, and curb loneliness.
  7. Seek professional help. Sometimes, seeking professional help is the best thing you can do to help with feelings of loneliness. Luckily, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many mental health providers have opted for online services to support you through COVID-19.

Most importantly: remember you are worthy, loved, and valued. You matter and we’re so glad you’re here.

About the Author

Headshot of Joe Burton

Retired Founder and CEO of Whil and former President of Headspace

Joe is an entrepreneur in the digital wellness space, retired Founder and CEO of Whil and former President of Headspace, and spent fifteen years as a global COO in public companies. He’s an alumnus of Harvard Business School and a regular contributor to Forbes, Business Insider and The Huffington Post. He’s worked in over 50 countries and travels the world speaking on topics including disruption, culture, resiliency and mindfulness.

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