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Do You Experience Strong Feelings of Isolation? Here is How to Finally Overcome Th...

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  • Do You Experience Strong Feelings of Isolation? Here is How to Finally Overcome Th...

    Do You Experience Strong Feelings of Isolation? Here is How to Finally Overcome Them for Good

    "No man is an island"
    --English poet John Donne
    The 21st century has brought with it a unique quandary that has never before existed on earth: people who feel socially isolated despite being surrounded by crowds of people. In the past, social isolation was more the result of physical distance that kept people living in rural communities from being with others. Today, feelings of isolation run rampant even as many spend their days with scarce time alone.

    In fact, according to a study by Lynn Smith-Lovin, a Duke University sociologist, and colleagues, social isolation has grown significantly even in the past two decades. After surveying close to 1,500 Americans, the researchers found:
    • One-quarter of Americans have no one to confide in, more than double the amount in 1985.
    • Compared with 1985, in 2004 nearly 50 percent more people said their spouse is the only person they can confide in.
    • Nearly three-quarters of people in 1985 said they had a friend they could confide in, compared to only half in 2004.
    • About 19 percent of people in 1985 had a neighbor they could confide in, compared to only 8 percent in 2004.


    "We know these close ties are what people depend on in bad times," Smith-Lovin said to the Washington Post. "We're not saying people are completely isolated. They may have 600 friends on Facebook.com and e-mail 25 people a day, but they are not discussing matters that are personally important."

    Theories abound as to what is spurring all of this isolation. Television, the Internet, and even long commutes have all been blamed, as has the American trait of feeling pride in being completely “self-sufficient” or “independent,” whereas other cultures accept the need to rely on others as a part of life.

    The Health Risks of Isolation

    Isolation is not only hard on your mind, it’s hard on your body.

    For instance, a 2007 study by University of Chicago psychologists found that the toll of loneliness accumulates as you age, and being lonely actually accelerates your rate of physiological decline with age.

    Further, people who lived alone or had few friends were twice as likely to die over 10 years than people with more friends and family, according to a study of 37,000 people, conducted by James House, PhD, a University of Michigan sociologist.

    Meanwhile, studies have found that:
    • Lonely people have higher blood pressure, up to 30 points higher, than those who are not lonely.
    • Having close friends keeps your immune system strong, even when you’re under stress.
    • Women with advanced breast cancer live twice as long if they join a support group, according to Stanford University psychiatrist Dr. David Spiegel.


    Overcoming Feelings of Isolation

    If you feel saddened by feelings of isolation, remember that you are not alone.

    “Everyone feels isolated to the degree that they are identified with their sense of being a separate individual,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. “So even if you are in a great relationship you can still feel some sense of isolation.”

    The Sedona Method is a highly recommended tool to learn if you are feeling isolated because it will show you how to easily release this emotion from your life.

    “If you simply welcome the feeling of isolation and let it go you will immediately feel much less isolated,” Dwoskin says. “You can also check to see if you are willing to let go of identifying with being a separate individual.”

    When you let the negative emotion of isolation go, it will undoubtedly free up your hidden motivations to go out and meet new people, along with soothe any inhibitions you may have about doing so.

    “Either way,” Dwoskin says, “remember you are not alone. Everyone goes through the same thing even in the midst of an ideal life so be easy on yourself and know that you will reconnect and make new friends over time.”
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