Can Meditation Help With Loneliness
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Loneliness certainly isn’t a new problem, but it may be one that modern life has a remarkable ability to perpetuate.
More and more we’re beginning to find that the very technologies that were designed to bring us together are the very things that can cause us to feel isolated and disconnected.
Maybe the solution to this problem doesn’t require a new answer, but instead one that has already been explored many time before.
People have using Meditation to help them cope with issues ranging from anxiety, loss of sleep and detachment for thousands of years and although it might not be as simple as sitting down and observing your breath, there are a few different approaches we can make.
How to reconnect with those around you
One of the most confusing things about loneliness is that feeling lonely isn’t always a result of being alone. Often we can become distanced and estranged from those we live in close proximity to or even share a home with.
Meditation can help us look inwards at the way we react to certain situations, which may be the cause of our inability to connect, as well help us generate empathy for those around us who may be feeling the exact same way, but we haven’t noticed it yet.
Read more about how we can improve our current relationships with meditation here or watch our MindEasy teacher Gia talk about it in this video.
The loneliness and sleep connection
Have you ever started the day after a terrible nights sleep and thought having to socialise with people is the last thing you want to do in the world.
Research from the University of California has made strong links between lack of sleep and loneliness.
In a test between well-rested people and people who suffered interrupted sleep, the latter liked to keep people approaching them at a distance of up to 60% further away. This is due to the brain registering strangers as a threat when we haven’t had enough sleep.
The positive of this is that there are hundreds if not thousands of sleeping aids being developed all the time. Combating loneliness and isolation can seem like a huge mountain to climb; however, getting a better nights sleep is totally achievable, and there’s plenty of help out there.
Try this meditation from our Sound Sleep course.
What does Buddhism say about loneliness
Looking towards the teachings of Buddhism, we find yet another way to overcome loneliness.
The Buddha called it ‘a better way to live alone’.
When we live mindfully, we learn how to not react out of habit.
By reflecting on our emotions, we become aware of how reactions can either be harmful or beneficial to us. Our social relations can be a significant cause of anxiety due to the fact we can’t have control over the way other people act and feel, and often our reaction to this can be harmful.
Buddhism teaches us to look inwards to find the connections that exist between all things.
Watch Buddhist nun Thubten Chonyi talk about loneliness and strategies to overcome it.
Meditation is mostly perceived as a solitary experience; however, this doesn’t always have to be the case.
Many people join mediation communities, sometimes called ‘Sangha’s’ to get together and practice a variety of meditation techniques in a group.
Not only can be this be a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, but it’s also a great addition to any meditation practise as you’ll find people there to support and motivate you. Group Meditation’s can be found in most towns, they normally take place in community centre’s and operate on a donation basis. Stick ‘group meditation near’ into google and see what you find.