Dealing With Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

It is hard for many to receive any type of criticism. Our ego makes it hard for us to receive it well. It can be hurtful, it stings. The thing is we need to learn to take a more mindful approach when dealing with Constructive criticism. This type of criticism isn’t there to harm you, but it is there to help one improve. We tend not to think of it that way though.

We associate constructive criticism with that person is attacking me, or that person is after me, or that person is picking on me. You may get offended. Have your pride a bit hurt. You may think ‘I am good at what I do, how can they criticize my work?’ The ego makes it all about me. Although we may see our faults and call them out. We definitely don’t like when others point out any faults, or mistakes of ours.

The thing about constructive criticism is that it is used to help you improve, and work more efficiently. The person giving constructive criticism could be doing this to makes things work more efficiently. To help make things become easier for other workers, and to make the customers happy. It may be hurtful, but we as individuals must remember that it isn’t all about you. No one is perfect. No one knows everything. You will make mistakes. You will not do everything right. Learning not to take this type of criticism personally takes getting to understand you are not perfect, and not always right, and being aware of our ego and how powerful it can be.

When it comes to work. There is always something bigger than yourself. You must expect criticism, even if you consider yourself a good worker. It doesn’t change the fact that you could make mistakes, or do things that may not be in the best interest of other workers, the company, or your customers. As we are not perfect beings. There is always something one can improve upon. It may hurt your pride/ego, but it is better to learn and grow, than to keep making the same mistakes repeatedly. I mean we all want to become the best we can be at what we do right? It all part of growing, evolving and learning.

You can only improve from constructive criticism and guidance. Well, that is if you are able to handle it in a mindful manner. You can also turn it against you, and become negative, angry, upset, bitter etc,. Remember that in the end, that just hurts you. Use that criticism as fuel to become better. Don’t use it to destroy your inner peace and progress.

Perfection is unattainable. We can only keep improving and working on ourselves. I know I am a good worker, but I know there are things I can improve upon. I have made mistakes at my work, and have been called out on it. I didn’t take it personally. I just took in their constructive criticism, listened to what they had they say, which made sense. I didn’t push back. I didn’t attack. I didn’t become reactive. I listened and gained new knowledge of things I can do better. I have learned to take it in and not take it personally. It is not about me. It is about getting things done in a more efficient way for the customers.

You may think doing things your way is the best option. The thing is the ego likes us to think our way is the right way. Sometimes you got to step back, and learn to be open minded to others opinions and advice. It may turn out their way is more efficient, or they may have some helpful advice. Some may have more experience, so they may know more than you do. There are a couple of times I thought one way was a good way, but then was taught another way that was more efficient. There is nothing wrong with learning and owning up to your mistakes. It can be hard. It can hurt your pride, but what is better, keeping your ego/pride intact, or growing and learning as an individual?

Now there can be some criticism that can be hurtful for an individual. Criticism that isn’t helpful in anyway, but is just plain hurtful is the wrong type of criticism you should not take. We should remember to tell the difference. Constructive criticism is there to help and guide you. It is there to help you improve, grow and learn. Regular criticism usually comes from a negative place, from a negative individual. Remember that type of criticism is a reflection of them, not you. It is best to ignore this type of criticism. There is no place for negative people, and their criticism in your life. Try not to allow them to pull you down with them.

Constructive criticism is good for us. The ego makes it hard for us to accept it. We must learn to break away from the ego. Be mindful and learn to take on constructive criticism to help improve. In the end, you want to do your best. You can’t do that by ignoring mistakes and flaws in your work. Remember, there is nothing to learn from perfection, and wouldn’t life be boring if there was nothing to learn?

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Learning to Adapt

I had a topic in mind this week, but I like to talk about a personal experience of mind. I tend to find inspiration to share my experiences of my mindful practices. I am always gaining some new enlightenment or reminders through my practices. With practicing mindfulness for a couple of years now. My ability to adapt to change in plans, or disappointment has improved.

I usually spend my weekends taking walks in the morning, but this Saturday the weather wasn’t particularly the best for walking. It was rainy and stormy. I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t go for a walk. It is really refreshing to take my walks in the morning, but as I realize plans don’t always go the way you want, weather is unpredictable, life is unpredictable.

I didn’t want to wallow in disappointment and let it defeat and consume me. I decided to use this negative emotion in a positive way. I wanted to use this rainy day to do some writing I have been holding off for a year now. I have been thinking about writing a book, but never really got to it. I decided to use this extra time at home to work on it. I am most creative and motivated in the morning, so this was my chance to work on it. I was happy to get a couple of things done. It was really rewarding to start it. I didn’t do much, but every little step towards your goal helps. I always think it is best to do thing little by little, instead of overwhelming yourself to get as much done. It puts a lot of pressure on oneself.

I was proud of myself that I was able to do something productive and positive with my extra time home, instead of wasting it one being sad and disappointed. I started to appreciate the time I got to be home. This was my chance to relax. I am always moving with work, during the work week. This rainy day was my opportunity to relax my body. Although, I have become aware of it. I like to be reminded that change can be a wonderful experience if you learn to focus your energy on the positives of it, and make use of it.

I also found it relaxing and soothing to just sit there and listen to the sound of rain. It was quite nice. It made me appreciate rainy days like these. Sometimes we need days like these to find inspiration, be creative and relax our bodies. I was reminded Saturday that a day at home can be just as wonderful as a day exploring. It is all about perspective.

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Be Honest With Your Story

I watched a very inspirational TED Talk by a therapist Lori Gottlieb. I found her talk to be very inspiring and insightful. It made me think about this topic. She talks about the stories we tell ourselves and others that serve our ego, but doesn’t necessarily help us in real life.

What do I mean by stories? These are encounters about our lives we retell ourselves and others. It may do with arguments, disagreements, relationship struggles, life struggles etc,. We tend to tell stories from our point of view. We tend to see ourselves as the victim, the good guy, telling the story to make us look like the good guy. In reality, there is always three sides to the story, your side, their side and the reality. I won’t say this type of storytelling is on purpose. It is our way of protecting ourselves. We are hurt, so it is comforting to reflect blame on others and the world. Even if it may not be helpful. It helps to put the pressure off oneself. But by doing this, it also puts control away from oneself.

The thing is we like to label people and situations. This person is awful, bad, annoying etc,. Life sucks, things never go my way, bad things always happen to me etc,. We should try to be honest with ourselves and look into the reality of what is going on. You may even learn to see your own faults in the situation. You are not perfect, they are not perfect, life is not perfect. There is no right or wrong. It is just different perspectives. It is important to be honest with your story. Tell your story. It is okay to be hurt and share your feelings, but remember to also look into the story of the other perspective.

Maybe that person was a ‘jerk’ for a reason? Maybe that person got upset for a reason? Maybe there are other reasons the relationship didn’t work, other than they cheated, or are a jerk. Maybe there is another reason they aren’t talking to you? Think about what exactly caused the situation or reaction, instead of being in defensive mode and seeing things in terms of black and white. All situations have an underlying truth and reasoning. There is a root cause. We all have different backgrounds, upbringings, personalities. How you see things, won’t necessarily be how another sees it. Learning to be aware of the reality of our stories is a wonderful gift to have. That can help us manage difficult situations much better.

We tend to ignore and label people and situations. But we must remember our stories are from our perceived mind. We should learn to be aware that are stories aren’t always based on truth. Be honest with yourself. Also be honest with others. It is hard to tell others how we truly feel/think, but it is the one way to come to an understanding. Another way is to look at their perspective and see their story. It is not about the mindset of you are right, they are wrong. You are the victim, they are the problem. I am good, they are bad and vice versa. It isn’t that simple.

Sometimes you got to look at, maybe I was wrong, maybe I helped create some problems in this relationship, maybe I could have done more to help my situation. There is nothing wrong with being honest with your faults. It is not about self-blame or criticism.This is about having self compassion and respect for your imperfect qualities as a human being. Doing this can only help you grow and improve. Remember you can’t help others change, but you can do things for yourself. Asking yourself, how could I have handled the situation better?, what can I improve on? These questions can be very empowering and can only help your journey to self growth. This can allow you to not continue to do the things that creates problems in your life.

All this can help you grow and become a better version of oneself. This will allow you to come to an understanding. It will allow you to have peace of mind. Worrying, being angry, bitter upset about what others, and what life has done to you serves you no purpose. It is human to have these feelings and you should, but there is a time to come to an understanding, look within yourself, improve what you could have done and move forward. Learning to change your story.

So what is the point of my post. Here are the things to take from this.

  1. Be honest with the story you tell yourself(it starts with you)
  2. Be honest with the story you tell others(communication is the key to understanding others and others understanding you.
  3. Look into the stories of others(look at different perspectives)
  4. Put control back on you/Change your story(We are as trapped as our minds/thoughts are.We can do whatever we want if we don’t allow our thoughts to control us.)
  5. Understand and accept the reality of the stories we tell of our lives

People will hurt you. Life will hurt you. This is all part of life. You can focus on the story of how they hurt you, or you can focus on the story of how you can learn, and grow from the hurt. You can change you. Others and life not so much. Do what you can control. Focus your story on you and your growth.

Thoughts to end the Work Week

I always enjoy reading my mindful day book, before heading off to work. I thought this message was perfect for these times. It is easy to get caught up in the negativity storm out there. Just remember there is beauty out there. There are things to be positive about. Things may look grim now, but we can get through this with a calm and positive mind. It is easy to be filled with hate and anger, but change can only happen from a peaceful, calm and positive heart and mind. I know this is hard to practice, but try not to look into the worries of tomorrow. Try not to dwell on the sorrows of yesterday. Look into the wonders of today. You can only change what happens in the moment. The moment is your chance to grow, learn, challenge oneself, evolve, make change etc,. Struggles are lessons to overcome. Try to live each day as happily as one can. See the good, see the possibility, see the positivity. I know for some it is hard, I get it, I empathize. Just remember a negative mind and soul does nothing for your peace of mind and well-being. I wrote a bit more than I thought I would. I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Try to do something that invokes peace and happiness within yourself.

Finding Your Passion/Finding a Job you Enjoy

I wanted to put these two topics together, because they seem to go hand in hand. We believe finding our passion in a career is the ultimate goal of finding a job you enjoy. I got to say, from my experience and from my research on this topic that isn’t the case. It is very rare to have a career in something you are passionate about. It takes a lot of factors for it to happen. Your drive, motivation, willingness to get out of comfort zone, environment, connections, personality, among other things. There is no one shoe fits all factor when it comes to finding your passion and having a career of that passion. Many factors must come together for one to have a career they are passionate about.

Things in life aren’t always black and white. You can be able to practice your passion and still find a job you enjoy. You don’t necessarily need to build a career from your passion. It is fun just to do it in your spare time. It may be even more enjoyable to do it freely, rather than doing it for work. Time constraints, rules, pressure from others can make your passion less enjoyable in a work environment.

For many, it is difficult finding what they are passionate about. Some people just don’t know. It is totally okay not to know. People tend to feel guilt and shame, because they don’t have anything they are passionate about. You can just have a job you enjoy, without feeling any passion about it. I enjoy my job, but I am not particularly passionate about it. The thing is, I still incorporate my passion in my life. I do what I am passionate about in my free time. Hopefully I’ll be able to build a business from it, but for now I appreciate the opportunity to enjoy my passion when I can.

It isn’t a great feeling dreading coming to work. We are at work most of the time, so it is imperative for your mental well-being to find a job you enjoy. If we enjoy our work, than we are able to enjoy our lives much more, and live more positively, since work fills up most of our lives. I like to write a list of things to look into when searching for a job that can spark joy, or at least make the work week more bearable. I will say searching for a career with your passion is very difficult and can be disappointing when it doesn’t happen, so these other things may be better to look into. I am not saying you shouldn’t find a job you are passionate about, but it shouldn’t be an ultimate goal.

  • Get out of safety Zone-“Do you want to expand or constrict?’ “You are not going to be stuck. You are stuck now.” I heard these quotes from a TED Talk I watched. I really liked them. These quotes are good reminders that staying safe and comfortable isn’t always best for our happiness and growth. Doing something that challenges oneself can be exciting and rewarding. But make sure it isn’t too challenging. That creates stress. A nice balance.
  • Variety– Trying different types of jobs can easily show you what you like and what you don’t. You may be surprised what you actually enjoy doing. This can give you the opportunity to find a job that you like and enjoy.
  • Work Environment Do you like office jobs?, do you like moving around?, do you like your own space? Do you like it to be more quiet? The environment can play a role in what you like about a job. I really like my job, because I get to move around. I am a very active person, so the environment suits my personality making the job more enjoyable.
  • Autonomy-Are you the type who likes to be free and do their own thing? It would be good to look for a job that allows you this freedom. If a place is too controlling and restrictive that can be a downer for an independent individual.
  • Skills-Look for something that enhances and incorporates your skills. Find what your skills are and search for a job that correlates with those skills.
  • Meaning/Value-Does the job add value. Having a meaningful job can be a great way to enjoy what you are doing.
  • Stress-A stressful job can make anyone miserable. The best thing to do is to find a job that reduces the amount of stress on oneself. Stress at a job is normal, but overwhelming stress can be detrimental, especially if there are no benefits to it. Some jobs are stressful that lead to rewards and benefits, but if the stress leads nowhere, than that can be problematic for the individuals well-being.

These last two are for people who have difficulty leaving the job that makes you feel stuck and miserable. It is hard for some to leave the financial stability and comfort of a job.

  • Perspective– See the job from a different point of view, find some good points about it, maybe there is something to it that you didn’t look at. Find some ways to bring joy and excitement to the job if you find it dull and boring. Figuring out ways to step out of the misery, instead of immersing in it.
  • Acceptance-Sometimes we have a job we don’t like. Not everyone will like the job they have. It is what it is. The job puts food on the table, gives you a home, gives you comfort. It does have its benefits. Accepting can be comforting, instead of fighting your disdain for the job. These two options are helpful and comforting, but finding another job would probably be best for your happiness and satisfaction in the long run. Change is hard, harder for some, but it can happen.

Passion for something is great, but it is also interchangeable. It evolves. I was once passionate about being a singer, but I no longer have that passion. This is why it isn’t always best to focus on what makes you passionate when choosing a career. Maybe some people prefer doing things they are passionate about in their free time, rather than the confines of having to do it on a schedule and have strict rules when it comes to their passion. Sometimes it is just hard to find a job with the thing you are passionate about. That is perfectly fine if you can’t find a job that incorporates your passion.

It is important not to beat yourself up for not finding a passion in life, or for not having a career that incorporates one’s passion. Be kind to yourself and realize that everyone’s journey is different. Not everyone know’s what they want to do in life. Having a passion doesn’t define your life. We as humans love to know everything. We are uncomfortable with the unknown/uncertain. It is best for your peace of mind to accept what is and move forward, because forcing yourself to find your passion creates negativity and despair. The problem is we compare ourselves to others who have passion, and have careers related to that passion. The thing is our journey is always different and we all have different paths. Focusing your energy on yourself and your progress is what is important. Remember passion and a career won’t always go together. Find a job that suits your interests, skills, schedule and personality can go along way.

Finding Peace, Joy & Happiness

These days it can be hard to find the good in life. The media is consumed with negativity at the moment. This is why it is important to step away and take time to be mindful. I went for a lovely walk at a park. The scenery was beautiful. It made me see the beauty and good of this world. The Earth is quite beautiful if you really look at it. Moments like these bring peace, joy and happiness. Find those moments that bring you these things. Our state of mind is very important. We must remember to remain at peace, so we can continue to live the best way we can. I always find clarity, inspiration and meaning through my walks. Nature is truly a beautiful thing.

Ways of Creating and Avoiding Negativity

It is easy to fall into the trap of negativity these days, so much is going on that can cultivate negative feelings, emotions and behaviors. We must remember that we have to take care of our minds and bodies. A stress or negative mind and body can’t solve anything or make a change. Taking care of your mental health is important. So being aware of what cultivates negativity and how it can be avoided is a good step towards a more content and peaceful life.

Negative thoughts, feelings and emotions are ubiquitous, but there are ways you can avoid having them rule your life. There are triggers that can cultivate a negative mindset and lifestyle. I wanted to list a couple of things that promote a negative mindset/lifestyle. The best thing for your well-being is to steer clear of these things as much as possible. I just want you to be aware of the things that create a negative world, so that you can figure out ways to avoid falling into this trap. You may not be able to control negativity all the time, but you can learn to alleviate these negative thoughts/behaviors/habits most of the time if one becomes more aware of these habits.

Ways that create negativity:

Judging looking down on others, talking about others, questioning others lifestyle. This mindset is not helpful for you at all. Focusing on oneself is most important.

Complaining Leads to no solution

Reactive behavior Being cut off in traffic, arguments, angry outburst ,annoyance, someone saying things you don’t like or does things you don’t like. This can all make one react in a negative manner. It is best at times like these to step back and take breaths. These reactions can cause stress to the mind and body and raise one’s blood pressure, so it is best to avoid these reactions as much as you can.

Gossiping Wasting energy on others does nothing fulfilling or satisfying for oneself. This just promotes a judgmental mentality. Using your time to promote self-growth, learn, talk about insightful, in-depth topics.

Comparisons Looking at the positive of others and focusing on the negative of ourselves. People tend to focus on what we don’t have that others do. Try focusing on what you have that others may not have. No one is perfect. Comparisons can be problematic.

Victim mentality leads to no solution, one can’t improve or change with this mindset. Blaming others, circumstances, and the world takes the power away from you. I am not saying blame yourself, but one must remember that we have control of certain things in life. This mentality reduces that power. People with this mentality tend to feel helpless and the reality is that they are not.

Criticism This is towards oneself and others. It can lead or be a result of low confidence, or self-acceptance/love.

Controlling mindset The need to control others and the world around you is impossible and unrealistic. This can lead to a very stressed and angry individual. You can only control your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Let the rest be.

News/SNS We all know these things can be triggers, especially these days.

Pessimistic mindset Ah yes, the half glass full mindset. Focusing on the bad, negative and wrongs of the world.

It is easy for humans to focus on the negatives. From an evolutionary standpoint it makes sense. It was needed to ward off any foreign dangers, predators, other tribes, dangerous foods/plants. It makes sense that our brains are wired to focus on the negatives, but these days most of our negative thoughts are not cultivated from dangerous situations. They are just perceived that way. This is why it is so much harder to be positive.

Negative thinking is hard to avoid, but we do have control of how we perceive things in life. There are ways to promote a healthier, more positive mindset. I know this is repetitive, as I mentioned these a lot before, but it is important to keep mentioning it, so that these habits become habitual to live life with a more peaceful and positive mindset.

Ways to avoid negativity:

Take breaths Just stop and take deep breaths. This can help calm your negative thoughts and emotions. I always feel a sense of calmness doing this.

Take mindful breaks This is always helpful for me when I am consumed with so much information and negativity from the online world. Just getting back to yourself can create such peace and happiness.

Write down negative thoughts I saw this somewhere online, during my research. I thought this approach was interesting. Visually seeing your negative thoughts can be powerful. Letting it out on paper and to the world. Can put the negativity away from you and to these words on paper.It helps release the negative energy within you. Seeing your thoughts on paper may motivate oneself to change your perspective. I may try this one in the future.

Meditate Always a helpful tool when stressed, feeling down, or when negative thoughts consume oneself.

Exercise Known to reduce stress and depression. Gives one a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Go outside/walk in nature Something that is very helpful for myself. I always get a sense of peace coming back from a walk.

Change your language Avoid can’t,won’t, never, always, life is bad, people are bad. Push away negative words and put more emphasis on positive ones.

Practice gratitude Appreciate what you have, what is good, the beauty of yourself, others and life.

Practice compassion Show love for oneself, others and the world can help promote a positive and healthier mindset.

Practice forgiveness This can release a lot of tension and weigh on your shoulders. It will be much easier to move on and find peace if one does this.

Do things that spark joy Taking walk in nature, reading, listening to music are all things that bring me joy and happiness. Find things that do that for you. Feeling of happiness and content will exceed the negative feelings and emotions.

Be creative/productive Gives one a lovely sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and peace of mind. Doing something for your self-growth is always satisfying and rewarding. It can also help boost your confidence and give oneself a sense of appreciation.

Helping others There is nothing more rewarding, than helping others in need. We all can do our part in helping others in any way we can. It doesn’t have to be big, any small gesture helps.

Take action These negative thoughts will consume your life if one does not decide to make a change. What exactly is creating this negative mindset, life. What can I do to change this and live a more positive lifestyle. It is important to take steps away from the negativity.

I will end this with some quotes on this topic. I hope you all learn to live each day more happily, positively and peacefully. I hope you all have a lovely week.

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Loneliness

I have recently felt lonely the past week. I no longer feel this way, but I thought this would be an interesting topic to write about.I haven’t done a post on this topic, so I thought this would be a good time to do so. We all have this feeling, some more than others. This pandemic may also cultivate these feelings, since we have to practice social distancing. I rarely feel this type of emotion, since I am an introvert and love my solitude, but there are times when I do get lonely. It happens to the best of us. We are social creatures. We need to connect with others from time to time. So it is only natural for us to get lonely at times.

So what is loneliness?

I compiled a bunch of different definitions from different sources to get a variety of ideas of what constitutes loneliness.

 A common definition is “A state of solitude or being alone”. The other definition is “Loneliness is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, “it is the perception of being alone and isolated that matters most” and is “a state of mind”. “A subjective, negative feeling related to the deficient social relations” “A feeling of disconnectedness or isolation.” etc., are the other ways to define loneliness.(IndianJournalofPsychiatry).

I am happy they changed the definition from the first one stated. Being alone and lonely are two different things. Wanting solitude and alone time does not mean someone is lonely. Me as an introvert enjoys my alone time. I can find peace being alone.

“Loneliness is a universal human emotion that is both complex and unique to each individual. Because it has no single common cause, the prevention and treatment of this potentially damaging state of mind can vary dramatically.Loneliness is defined by researchers as feeling lonely more than once a week. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people. Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, if you feel alone and isolated, then that is how loneliness plays into your state of mind.”(verywellmind).

“Susan Pinker, a psychologist and author of “The Village Effect,” said that loneliness is a subjective feeling of being alone against your will. She said that you can be alone and not be lonely or you can be lonely even if you’re surrounded by people. It’s “a feeling of being excluded and of existential angst,” she said.(nytimes).

Although, I was able to meet with my friend and connect earlier in the week. I still felt a sense of loneliness throughout the week. I became aware  this was due to my lack of connections at work and on SNS. I have close coworkers, but wasn’t able to chat with them at all that week. I was making posts online, but no one was interacting with them, and I haven’t been able to talk to my online buddies. I saw others at work connecting and talking. I also saw it online, so that made me feel even more isolated.

 Now I know I could reach out to people, but the definitions above explained very well that it can be hard to do so when feeling lonely. You would think we would want to seek out others when feeling lonely, but it is quite the opposite,which can perpetuate feelings of loneliness.I also had this distorted thought that others should reach out to me, instead of me doing so. I wanted to feel needed. But I and everyone else who feels this way when lonely must remember the world doesn’t revolve around us and people have their lives. We can’t wait for others to come to us, sometimes we gotta make the move. Take control.

There are plenty of people I could talk to at work. I chose not to. Sometimes we have to recognize that the feeling of loneliness is perception of the mind and not reality. There are plenty of people we can connect with, but sometimes choose not to for reasons listed above. Maybe it is the feeling of not fitting it, or maybe we think they don’t want to talk to us? We just don’t want to put ourselves out there to get hurt.

“Though our need to connect is innate, many of us frequently feel alone. Loneliness is the state of distress or discomfort that results when one perceives a gap between one’s desires for social connection and actual experiences of it. Even some people who are surrounded by others throughout the day—or are in a long-lasting marriage—still experience a deep and pervasive loneliness. Research suggests that loneliness poses serious threats to well-being as well as long-term physical health.”(psychologytoday).

Loneliness can be described in different ways, including

  • feel they lack companionship
  • feel left out
  • feel “in tune” with people around them
  • feel outgoing and friendly
  • feel there are people they can turn to

(psychologytoday).

All in all, loneliness stems from a lack of connection. It gets lonely when you have no one to talk to, or communicate with. This is why you can be around others, but still feel lonely, because it is possible you are not connecting or communicating with the people you are surrounded with. You may feel you are not able to be your true self, or talk about your deepest thoughts or concerns.

I want to put this quote in, because I think it is a very true statement about why we can feel loneliness surrounded by others.”Experts believe that it is not the quantity of social interaction that combats loneliness, but it’s the quality.”(verywellmind). Quality over quantity is so important in building connections and relationships. This can be the difference in feeling like you belong vs. loneliness.

There are also situational factors that can contribute to loneliness, such as moving to a new area, a divorce, a loss of a loved one, or a psychological disorder, like depression. This is a natural emotion in those situations.

So how can loneliness effect a person?

“Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University who has studied loneliness extensively, says social connection is something we biologically crave. “We’re social beings and our bodies respond when we lack the proximity to others,” she said. (nytimes)


“Dr. Holt-Lunstad has found that loneliness can lead to serious consequences. One of her studies found that lacking any social connection may be comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day as a risk factor for mortality. “Another study found that loneliness increases the risk of an earlier death by 26 percent. She also found that social isolation, loneliness and living alone exceed the risks of death associated with obesity, physical activity and air pollution.”(nytimes).

According to an article The Health Consequences of Loneliness. They mention a couple of possible negative effects of loneliness.

  • Alcoholism and drug use
  • Altered brain function
  • Alzheimer’s disease progression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Decreased memory and learning
  • Depression and suicide
  • Increased stress levels
  • Poor decision-making

Feelings of loneliness can have a very negative effect on the mind and body. This is why it is important to find ways to cope and manage these feelings, so the feeling don’t consume our lives. I found the fifteen cigarettes a day comment very eye opening.

So how do we cope?

There are a couple of things I have done and some others I found online that may be helpful when coping with this feeling. I will list then below.

Be Aware Noticing these feeling is important. Once you notice. You can learn to understand and manage it.

Acknowledge it. Accept it.Name it and accept it. I am lonely and that is okay. Sit with it, let it flow through you. Accept the feeling of emotion is part of being human. When I was able to label it and accept the feeling I was able to move on from these feelings. It is all part of life. The feeling will pass.

Make small talk to make new deeper connections you got to start small. There may be some coworkers you are not familiar with, or maybe talking to a cashier at a shop you go to a lot, or maybe talk to someone at a place you go to a lot. This may be a hard step, but sometimes it may good for you to take the plunge.

Connect with family/friends I had plenty of family and friends I could have reached out to when I was feeling lonely. We should not forget that we have loved ones we can talk. It is okay to reach out to them.

Acknowledge you are not alone-Everyone feel loneliness. The feeling of loneliness can come from feeling like an outsider, that no one understand you, but being aware that everyone has these feeling from time to time can be helpful. Knowing we are not alone can be helpful. Humans love the feeling of belonging.

Reflect-why are you feeling this way,what is the cause,what can be done? These questions can be asked and answered when one is able to be mindful and reflect. Reflecting was really helpful for me to cope with my loneliness. I was able to recognize the cause and analyze what I can do to manage these feelings. I felt much better after doing this.

Connect with self-Now this may be counter intuitive. But taking time to yourself can cultivate clarity and peace of mind, so practicing this may be helpful. You can journal,meditate,do some yoga. This may reduce the feelings of loneliness, or it can give one the clarity to manage their feelings of loneliness and figure out ways to find the connections one needs.

Connect with nature-Go for a walk in nature. So much peace and energy can be found doing this. I always feel a sense of connection when I am immersed in nature. Maybe this type of connection is all one needs to get through these feelings. Trees, plants and flowers are all living things. Lets not forget to connect with them as well.

Reach out-Loneliness tends to keep us from reaching out, but we might learn to try to push that desire to keep our distance and reach out to someone. Connection is all we need,so we need to learn to take control of the situation at this point. It is harder to do, than say, but it being hard isn’t an excuse not to do it if it helps bring peace of mind to yourself.

Join a club/forum A good way to meet like-minded people and connect.

Volunteer Another way to meet like-minded people. You are also doing something rewarding that can make you feel good.

Be creative- Negative emotions can always be used in a positive way. It can be inspirational.Use those feelings as fuel for creativity. Write, draw, paint, compose using the ideas from these feelings of loneliness.

Avoid SNS-can drive the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Sometimes a break can be helpful.

Be kind to yourself Show compassion for yourself. Try not to blame yourself for feeling this way. Try not to see yourself as the enemy or someone who can’t connect with someone. Believe there is nothing wrong with you. We all have these type of feelings. You are not wrong. You are not unlovable. You are not a freak. You are human.

We will all feel lonely from time to time. That is normal. It is a part of being human. It is totally okay to have these feelings, as long as it is short-term and not persistent. There will be extreme cases where loneliness is a reality, but in most cases it is a perceived threat. We must remember we aren’t as alone as we think we are.

Sources:

https://www.verywellmind.com/loneliness-causes-effects-and-treatments-2795749

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/loneliness

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a28915137/what-to-do-when-lonely/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890922/

Saturday Food for Thought Post

IMAG0487Practicing mindfulness doesn’t quickly alleviate anxiety, depression, or any other negative emotions. It takes patience, practice, persistence and training. I like the comparison of training for a marathon. Just like you build endurance for a race. You got to take the same steps to get to a more peaceful state of mind. My mind is a lot more at ease now that I have been practicing mindfulness for a couple of years. I keep improving, my negative emotions continue to reduce. Things I couldn’t handle before I am much better at coping with it now. Baby steps, how you cope and handle stressful situations, or difficulties in life will get better. You will be able to find more peace, calm, and happiness in your life. It isn’t a quick fix, but it will eventually get you to a more peaceful place with continuous practice. You will see results little by little.

Coping With Disappointment

I have written a previous post on this topic Rise From Disappointment I like to talk more on this subject, since I have been feeling a bit of disappointment lately. Disappointment is defined as sadness, or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one’s hope and expectations.

We may have to face lots of disappointments, during these times with lots of plans being undetermined, or cancelled. I had plans, and goals this year, but it will most likely not happen, due to this pandemic, and how things are changing. I am a bit disappointed at the probability of the many concerts I planned to go to this summer not happening.

I will say, it is okay to feel disappointed, these feelings are part of life, and being human. Learning to accept these feelings can help one move forward. Hopes and expectations can lead to a person feeling sad, angry, disappointed, and unfulfilled. It is okay to make plans, hope, and be excited for future experiences. We just have to remember that life is unpredictable, and there is a possibility things won’t work out as planned. When we look towards the future, we are creating a world that doesn’t exist, whether it is an exciting, or scary experience. We don’t know what the future holds. The future experience we create in our minds doesn’t always mean it will become reality.

I found something interesting online that discusses the set-up of disappointment. They mention five steps.

1.You are in a situation where the outcome is uncertain

2.You hope for a positive outcome

3.You feel you deserve the positive outcome

4.You’re surprised you didn’t achieve the outcome

5.You couldn’t control the outcome through personal achievement

Source:https://www.bestpsychologydegrees.org/the-psychology-of-disappointment/

Number 3 is a key point. We tend to feel things are owed to us in life, but the reality is nothing is owed to us. Good things are not owed to us. Great experiences are not owed to us. Being aware of this can help one from not feeling anger, or bitterness towards oneself, or the world. It will stop you from asking why questions, like why me?, or why does bad things happen to me?, or why does the universe hate me? Questions like that, which necessarily doesn’t serve you in any way.

The last point is also important to look at. It sucks when something is out of our control. We don’t like when we can’t control a situation. It makes us feel powerless. Although, we can’t control the situation. We can control how we handle it, and how we can move forward from it. And that is also a powerful thing.

My plans may not happen, but I know there are plenty of other joyful experiences out there that I can experience, like taking scenic walks, going to the park, and going on hikes. I will just hope that I can experience these concerts someday in the future, that is all I can do. I know the excitement of the experience was created in my mind, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen the way I envision it, and that is okay. This mindset can also work towards stressful, or scary future situations that make you anxious. It may not be as bad as you think it will be, just like a fun experience may not be as exciting. Reality is different from our mind’s expectations. I will try to focus my energy on the experiences I can control.

Disappointment is a reality we should try to face, so we don’t end falling into a world of despair, sadness, and anger. In the end, with mindfulness, and life’s unpredictability. It is about facing reality, and the acceptance of that reality. This will help set your mind at ease, and create a more peaceful and happy life for oneself. It definitely helped for me.

Meditation: Life is not controlled. Expectation creates ...