Photo used under Creative Commons from avlxyz
by Nigel Lawson
I've read all the articles and blogs dealing with loneliness after divorce. I'm up to my neck in self help books, actually reading some for the second time. I have friends I go out with on a regular basis. I have plenty of hobbies, so I don't really need a new one. I stay busy with work and community organizations. So, why am I still dealing with loneliness 4 years after my divorce?
Lately it's become a chore to even leave my apartment. I literally have to scold myself, "Hey, get off the couch, go somewhere, and do something!" I'm simply going through the motions of life, and that's not living at all. Many people get caught up in the notion that loneliness is a disease of the mind. Science tells us otherwise. We know physiology plays an important role in mental health. It affects the mind and vice versa.
My severe loneliness drove me to do a little research on the affects of a healthy diet and exercise routine on loneliness. As a result, I've come up with one of those annoying, but sometimes helpful, blog list of ways to combat loneliness through diet and exercise. Here it goes:
When we talk about loneliness, we might want to include depression which often accompanies it. The cycle of loneliness and depression can be debilitating. "I'm feeling lonely, and now, I'm depressed. I'm depressed and don't want to be around anyone, so I'm lonely again!" We all know by now that eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, and herring raise serotonin levels in the brain and reduce depression. These deep-water fish are staples at Sushi Bars. I recommend setting up a sushi night with a group a friends. It's a great way to stimulate your brain with good company, good conversations, and Omega- fatty acids!
Cut the Coke and Cut the Coffee !
High amounts of stimulates can throw off your brain chemistry. I thought drinking an extra cup of coffee could lift my spirits. Caffeine and sugar may only provide a temporary lift of energy and mood. In the long run, it may cause insomnia, irritability, and more depression! Hang out at a juice bar instead of a coffee shop. You'll still be surrounded by people, but without the caffeine.
Getting Back to Nature!
A great way to fight loneliness and depression is with exercise. Group nature hikes are a three-fold remedy. First, exercise produces that "runner's high" through the production of endorphins. Secondly, hiking in a group fosters the opportunity to interact and meet new people. Finally, studies have shown nature having a positive effect on the brain, reducing stress levels.
I plan on trying these suggestions out this week. I'm hopeful, so wish me luck. If any of you have tried these remedies for loneliness and depression or plan to try them out in the next couple of weeks, share your comments below.