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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Loneliness and The Holiday Blues

Caution: Consult a medical professional if you have major depression, a potentially dangerous condition that requires correct diagnosis and treatment. Home remedies should only be used with medical approval. Also, check with your medical professional for prescription drug contraindications, and double check with your pharmacist to be extra sure.

From now until the new year I'm going to write about depression, focusing on a remedy per day. Today's post is about loneliness and depression. And by depression, I do not mean major depression. I mean something more like the holiday blues.

Well folks, here it is, the last day of my Holiday Blues posts and the last day of the year. And today I turn to loneliness and the part it plays in the blues.

First, let me clarify that loneliness isn't necessarily associate with being alone. Many people are perfectly happy spending some time alone. Some of us even prefer it. That will primarily depend on where your temprament falls on the introvert-extrovert continuum.

Loneliness, however, is a sense of feeling alone, separated, and can occur even when among friends or in very crowded places. So what's the remedy for that? My thought go like this: you can't necessarily simply get out and amongst people as a rememdy, for reasons explained in the previous statement; you have to go where the problem is...inside you. What are your thoughts and feelings about being alone? Until you improve your perspective on this, you will experience loneliness.

One misconception that occurs in loneliness is the feeling/belief that you are outside the norm. Loneliness/depression group meetings can help you set that straight; there are many others in the same boat. Such groups can also help you discover what works for others in you situation, so that you can give new solutions a try.

Other misconstrued feelings and beliefs can include guilt, low self-esteem, fear, and disappointment. Each of these has its own roots, which, when discovered, can lead to a natural remedy: more accurate beliefs. If you watched any episodes of "How to Look Good Naked" (which never actually showed any nudity - follow the link to watch an episode) you'll have seen how most people set themselves a notch or two below the way others perceive them. In addition to glamming it up, a perspective shift helped raise each person's self-esteem and confidence. See if you can be a little kinder and more forgiving with yourself. Get help from friends or and/or self-help resources (some listed/linked below.)

New Year's Eve is the biggest "date night" of the year. Don't let being caught without one, or not being with the person of your dreams, get in the way of your being happy and having fun tonight. Invite your other single friends over for a casual New Year's Eve get-together. Don't drown your sorrows, have fun with your singleness! Celebrate it!

Or celebrate your aloneness alone, but celebrate it for goodness sake; wallowing in loneliness only leads to more of what you don't want! Fix yourself a lovely dinner, have a glass or two of wine or champagne (get a small bottle so you won't be tempted to drink it all!) if you like, watch the ball drop at Times Square, appreciate Dick Clark's positive attitude, tenacity and humor - as well as his ability to let go and let other carry part of the load! And be glad you aren't there among the crowds. It's cold, and the reality you rarely hear is you have to get there very early in the day, and public restrooms are not readily available! Sometimes staying at home, even home alone, is actually more pleasant than something that seems to be a lot of fun! (Clearly, it is fun, the place is packed every year, but I think you understand my point, don't you?)

OK, so get over the New Year's Eve blues, get outside yourself or enjoy yourself, whichever appeals to you most, and enjoy the celebration of ringing out the old and ringing in the new!

New Year's Eve Movie Lists:

14 rockin’ New Year’s Eve movies - at MSNBC

New Years Eve in the Movies - article about movies that uplift, and some that don't.

Top 5 New Year's Eve movies - St. Petersburg Times

Best New Year's Eve Movies - on comumnist Bill White's blog.

Lonliness Resources:

How to Deal With Loleliness - at WikiHow

Loneliness Affects How The Brain Operates - Science Daily article on loneliness as cause, effect, feedback loop, and studies of brain functioning.

The Dangers of Loneliness - Phychology Today article that explores human interaction and relationships as a fundamental need, and differentiates between occasional and chronic loneliness.

Just for Fun

Dave Barry Official Website - if you don't find a laugh there, get help!

I Can Has Cheezburger? - feline hilarity.

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