How to Handle Loneliness and Other Difficult Feelings During the Holidays
The holidays are meant to be a time of gathering together to share good cheer. Any year, this preconceived idea of what the season “should be” can create or exacerbate feelings of loneliness for those who don’t have friends or family around or who feel lonely even when they’re with others. Now, with the latest lockdowns, COVID-19 restrictions, and suggestions from health advisors to limit the number of people at holiday celebrations, feelings of loneliness may become even more widespread and intense.
However, I firmly believe that this is a time to experience more joy, not less, and to appreciate all the good we do have in our lives despite our struggles. But trying to force good feelings is NOT the answer.
The Myth of Positive Thinking
Many prominent people speak and write about the power of positive thinking, and yes, it’s a great practice when things are already going your way. But when you feel lonely, you can’t just leap to false positivity and joy. You’ll be lying to yourself, and it might even make you feel worse. We’ve been sold the idea that positive thinking is a cure-all, so we beat ourselves up thinking we’re the problem when, in reality, it just doesn’t work.
In my latest best-selling book, Stressless Success: The Surprising Secret to a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Prosperity, I share a powerful discovery—it’s your mood, not your mindset, that most affects your life. And the two are not always in alignment. The feelings you have are what generate energy, and the energy you give off is what you will get back. The idea is that if you continue to allow yourself to feel lonely, life will continue to show you reasons to feel lonely. Don’t feel discouraged by this, but instead realize that you have the power within you to shift things for the better. Realize that and you are no longer the victim of outside circumstances!
Climb the Ladder of Positive Thoughts and Feelings
The key is to imagine climbing a ladder slowly away from feelings of loneliness into feelings of acceptance. Instead of trying to leap to a hugely positive thought that doesn’t feel believable, you’re going to take this one rung at a time. Instead of taking a leap, take a ladder. As you gain a grip on each rung and find your footing with small thoughts that feel more believable, those slight shifts will lead to huge shifts in your life. I call this the Stressless Success Shift™.
One way to begin to climb the ladder of feelings from loneliness to peace is to realize that you are never alone. No matter what your beliefs are, there is a great part of you that is wise and wonderful, existing in a constant state of peace and joy no matter what is happening in your physical life at the moment. Do you recognize that you are a child of God and therefore, always loved unconditionally? Can you begin to focus on your strengths and qualities and begin to love yourself more, even in the smallest ways?
When you can find reasons to appreciate and love yourself, you will enjoy your own company. Then, being alone won’t necessarily mean that you feel lonely, just like being around people didn’t necessarily make you feel more connected. Find things to appreciate about solitude and begin to enjoy time to yourself.
Know that what you give out is what you get back in life. So, when you realize that you are never truly alone and that you have the company of incredible parts of you that love you and adore you always, then the comfortable feelings you begin to cultivate will create more reasons for you to experience more comfort, love, and companionship.
How to Make the Shift:
- Take good care of your body by getting high-quality rest, eating naturally-grown food, moving your body, breathing fresh air, and drinking plenty of fresh water to hydrate the cells in your brain and body. Wellness is the foundation of a great life, and these habits leave you feeling clearer and more energized and better able to climb the ladder of thoughts and feelings
- Get out of your head and into your heart. Instead of wrestling with tough thoughts, do anything and everything within your power to feel better. I suggest activities like praying, meditating, singing and dancing, spending time outside, playing with a pet or a child, helping someone in need, volunteering, or pampering yourself.
- Focus on what you have instead of what you lack. Pause for a moment, quiet your mind, breathe deeply, and know that you are truly loved and never alone.
- Learn to love yourself. Treat yourself with kindness, find things to appreciate about yourself, and enjoy time spent alone… because it turns out you’re not so alone. You’re always by your own side!
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Once you realize that you’re never alone, more comfortable feelings will emerge, creating opportunities to experience connection, love, and companionship. You will soon notice wonderful people showing up in your life because what you give is what you get back.