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How To Combat The Fear Of Loneliness/Autophobia (Fear of Being Alone)

Most people can appreciate and enjoy being alone sometimes, but some people simply cannot deal with even short periods of alone time.

Autophobia, also called monophobia, isolophobia, or eremophobia, is the specific phobia of isolation; a morbid fear of being egotistical, or a dread of being alone or isolated. Sufferers need not be physically alone, but just to believe that they are being ignored or unloved.

Here are some tips, tricks, and methods for combating the fear of loneliness from experts.

#1 We must acknowledge that these things take time

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Everybody gets lonely sometimes and that's completely normal. One way to combat that is finding people who have the same values and goals you do and working hard on your relationship with them. You may be tempted to swipe left or not want to reconcile after a fight; but working through issues with people who you have a genuine connection with will make your bond stronger.

Millennials grew up in a time where convenience overtook meaning sometimes- where modern advancements such as Netflix, Amazon, and smart phones instantly giving us the world at our fingertips. To combat loneliness, we must also acknowledge that finding these people could take some time. The easiest way to seek them out is to just try and focus on your life goals and go from there. Do you love animals? Why not volunteer at an animal shelter and maybe meet some people who value animals welfare as well. Bowling more your thing? Join a club or a team! Think deep about your core values and the rest will fall naturally into place.

Contributors: Mark Wildes, author of Beyond the Instant

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#2 Finding connection through cuddle therapy

In 2017, research was published by UCL which showed that affective touch (including hugs), has the ability to mitigate the impacts of loneliness. As a social species, we thrive on connection with others and we need platonic touch in our lives, which is crucial for our wellbeing. However, when we’re lonely it can be difficult to find the touch we need.

One potential solution is for people to see whether touch-based therapies such as professional cuddling or massage can help. Cuddle therapy enables a person to feel connected, and also delivers a wide-range of scientifically proven benefits such as lowered levels of stress and anxiety. It’s helped people in their late teens, all the way through to senior citizens and provides a sense of renewal and nurturing that many people are missing out on in life.

Contributors: Rebekka Mikkola from Nordic Cuddle

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#3 Reconnect

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We should fear loneliness because that's a sign that we are feeling disconnected from our Source. In truth, we are all connected, so when we are feeling lonely it is a reminder to take actions that can help us experience connection. How do we do that? We can text, email or call someone even lonelier. We can visit people in assisted living residences or nursing homes that don't get visitors. We can spend time with lonely pets at a pet shelter. And in that moment of reaching out and helping another, we become reconnected.

Contributors: Bracha Goetz from Bracha's Books

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#4 Become your own best friend

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Our relationship with our self sets the tone for all other relationships in my life. It's extremely important to be a support for yourself before you can rely on other people. We can often be let down by others, which can create an extreme sense of loneliness. Therefore, my advice is to become your own best friend. Some ideas on how to do this are spend some time reflecting on your thoughts and emotions and be sure to validate your motions, create a list of your strengths and review them daily, and take up a hobby that you've always wanted to try. 

Contributors: Nicole Lambert from Movement Counseling Services 

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#5 Journal about how you are feeling and what you want/need

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Although verbal communication is important, especially when it comes to loneliness, there is not always the opportunity for this to happen. Journaling promotes further self-exploration and can often be easier than saying things out loud. It encourages you to consider what you already have, how you are feeling and what you want/need e.g. one quality friendship with someone who understands you and makes time for you.

You might find that it isn’t friendship you are looking for but it’s the idea of the reassurance and accountability that would bring because you lack trust in yourself. It could be that you want a distraction for something that is hard for you to uncover. Journaling supports us to reflect, to dream, to inspire ourselves and to release more of our thoughts and feelings onto paper. As well as being a source of relief and healing, writing can also be very therapeutic and creative.

Contributors: Emmy Brunner from The Recover Clinic

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#6 Get creative

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Sometimes what we are really seeking when we are experiencing loneliness is to feel connected to something. It doesn’t have to be a friend or partner. It can be a pet, an object or an activity. Something that makes us feel grounded and mindful. Being aware of this can empower you to find comfort in being alone from time to time.

I recommend Creative Therapy as a way to express your emotions but actually, something as simple as acknowledging the ground beneath your feet as you walk, how it feels as you stroke your dog/cat etc, what you can hear as you meditate or what you can smell as you cook can all help you to feel more present and secure in yourself.

Of course, creativity doesn’t have to be something done alone. You could go to classes where you meet people who enjoy the same activity or even just share your work online in a space that it will be appreciated. You have complete freedom with this. The most important thing is for you to feel connected to whatever you choose to do, alone or with others.

Contributors: Emmy Brunner from The Recover Clinic

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#7 Get A Dog

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It is always a conversation starter and many towns have dog parks which become great places of socialization. Dogs are like children… you can meet so many people at various dog parks and set up dog playdates!

Contributors: Alison Bernstein from Suburban Jungle

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#8 Face It Head On

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One of my pieces of advice I would offer to someone looking to combat the fear of being lonely is to face it head on. So often, we look for others to join us for dinner, for a movie, out for drinks - consider reclaiming your power; rather than wait for an invite from others, or for others to join you, take yourself to dinner, a movie, or drinks. A mantra to remember, how can others fully enjoy communion with you, when you do not enjoy communion with yourself.

Contributors: Darren Pierre from The Invitation to Love

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#9 Travel internationally, alone!

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Travelling alone is the epitome of combatting said fear. By the time I turned 21 - I had already lived in 6 different addresses in 3 countries and 2 different continents. 

Nothing is lonelier than being the new kid in school/ the neighborhood and the country. 

However, it does have its perks, like: it drives you to initiate conversations, tantalize your taste buds, see the extraordinary (which turns out to be pretty ordinary to the locals), explore the territory, get in trouble in said territory - which later makes for a really funny story! 

Being in the charted unfamiliar enhances all 5 of your senses. You are much more aware of your surroundings. You notice the different sounds, you notice the colorful lights, you notice a remarkable statue you've made as your personal landmark, you are enthralled, you are joyful, you are breathing, you are alive, you are exhilarated, you are gracious, you are in the moment...and so, what were you lonely about again? 

Contributors: Micaela Heights from The MindShift Catalyst LLC

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#10 Take Action: Sitting in fear causes it to grow

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Giving in to fear can stop us from living authentic lives and taking the opportunities that come to us. Living in fear will prevent us from moving out of our comfort zones and taking steps in order to change our lives for the better. One of the most powerful things we can do in life is master our fear. What we are afraid of is never as bad as we imagine. When we let fear build up in our mind it always seems worse than the situation actually is.

Fear keeps us from making the decisions we know we need to make in order for our circumstances to be different. It is fear that causes us to turn a simple decision into a complicated issue. We fear the pain that may result from our decision. We fear what life will be like after we have made the decision. We fear that the quality of our lives will be affected if we make the wrong decision. However, there is no wrong decision. There is simply the best choice we can make at the time. And if that choice does not get us to where we want to be, we can simply make another one.

Contributors: Skye McKenzie from Rechart Your Course

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#11 Get involved in local volunteer opportunities

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Each town has tons of opportunities - whether it is volunteering at the schools to get to know other parents…or a gardening club or local town library. There are tons of organizations in each town— find what interests you and get started! 

Contributors: Alison Bernstein from Suburban Jungle

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#12 Exercise classes

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Especially in today’s world of boutique classes - it is a great way to meet people! Going to the same classes — around the same time… you truly do develop friendships and bonds with those around you! And chances are, they most likely not only have the same interests as you but might also have children similar ages. Boutique classes such as Soul Cycle, SLT, Barre classes and so many more do go a long way to develop friendships with those folks you sweat in a class with! 

Contributors: Alison Bernstein from Suburban Jungle

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#13 KIDS are key and your entry way into meeting friends!

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Take them to classes, get to know other parents… chat at birthday party drop offs or sporting events! They are the key to meeting people that are in the same stage of life…and as your kids make friends, you automatically have things in common with them as you kids will go through all of the “firsts” together… starting kindergarten, trying new activities, gaining independence and ultimately graduation ! It is a common bond that goes a long way! 

Contributors: Alison Bernstein from Suburban Jungle

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#14 Embrace Hobbies

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My advice would be to embrace all these hobbies that make you melt on the inside, knowing that there's no one to compromise for, no one to convince of the worthiness of what's truly important to you. I've battled with loneliness over my semesters abroad in France and Italy and learned to embrace solitude, to allow myself the extra walk outdoors, a sweet treat, a long meaningful conversation with my mom.

Contributors:  Diana Stelin from The Plein-air Art Academy

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