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10 ways to decrease isolation

Thread starter #1
Self-imposed isolation occurs for many reasons. You may be incapable of handling further stress caused by relationships at a given time; you may have been isolated for medical reasons; you may have moved away from friends and family. Never fear. Removing isolation is just a choice--fighting a little fear of the unknown.

We're all strangers until we connect, and then we become acquaintances, friends, best friends, partners. You have to take the step though. Nobody else can do it for you.

These 10 steps are just the beginning. Maybe the below points bring other solutions for you? Comment below and share what has worked for you, or what ideas you have.

#1 - Take a class

Be creative, take a local class that is creative, social and gets you out of your comfort zone. Maybe you want to learn a skill or just do something relaxing. Classes consist of people just like you, often wanting to connect.

#2 - Join a group

If you have a hobby, there are others who will have the same hobby. Do a little online research and find local groups for your hobby or activity, and join them.

#3 - Community activities

Take a trip to your local council and ask them about joining local activities. Help out as a volunteer for a few hours each week. These are the perfect situations to meet diverse people, and you control when and where you volunteer.

#4 - Talk to a random stranger

Believe it or not, this works. You get on a bus or train, something that people use to commute enough distance for you to strike up conversation, and do just that. This not only helps you connect with other people, it helps you build your communication skills by listening and approaching people. You can even talk with them about what you're doing: talking with a random stranger to help yourself connect with people. You will often find another person in your day, doing this, that will take quite an interest and talk openly about it.

#5 - Go to church

If you're religious, even if you're not, a great place to meet people is church. No, you don't have to become that religious person you may dislike already. We're simply talking about meeting other people. Churches are great communities for open dialogue. Believe it or not, I know people who only go to church to find dates for themselves. It works for them too.

#6 - Get a dog

Honestly, if I hadn't done it myself, I wouldn't believe it. Owning a dog and walking it each day, taking it to the local dog park? Conversation gold mine. You have a common interest about your pets, and you quickly hone your communication skills striking up conversations on that common ground.

#7 - Join a gym

It doesn't matter your age; a gym promotes exercise and health. People at a gym are there for the same reason, wanting to feel good and be healthy. The only downside to this one is that gyms are often expensive. Many do have daily pay as you go rates, so you can choose when you attend and only pay for those times versus the expensive annual memberships.

#8 - Reconnect with those you have isolated

Sounds simple, yet it can be a little daunting. Everyone has a past, and you met people along the way you connected with. Reconnect with estranged friends and say hello. You have an immediate connection, and then its just catching up and remaining connected.

#9 - Use the Internet

Yep, you're using it now to read this article. Yelp and other social apps can help you find things open surrounding you. Yes, proximity to people will determine success or failure here. Living in the country, you may not have a lot around you. The Internet can still help you find people and live chat with them. Skype is a simple and effective online tool to meet others with whom you share similar interests. Or find what's open around you and go strike up one of those random stranger conversations!

#10 - Put in effort to stay connected with those you meet

You may think this is a bit simple, yet this is also likely part of the problem as to why you became disconnected in the first place. When you meet new people, get their contact details and really put in effort to remain in contact with them. Make yourself available to catch up with them.

What do you have to add to this list? Please share your ideas to help us all connect with others.
 
F

Fadeaway1

#2
Awesome post. I am actively working on this myself. Location has been a huge barrier in my past. I am in a decent sized city now, but I lived a good chunk of my life places that not only had small populations, but the population was spread out over large distances. Thank goodness for the internet.
 
#4
I believe that friends on myPTSD page is going to be a positive experience for me. As I continue to work my program, I needed something to help me realize that I am not alone. I do talk with some people about my issues.. try not to be a bore. The therapy that I had for eight years has really been the gateway for better self esteem, however, I will always need to be able to ascertain what of my behaviors are correct reactions, low self esteem issues, PTSD or the internal rage that I feel sometimes. I am hoping for discernment and with reading your posts, I feel less hopeless… So, we have to work on ourselves independently, however the responses from others can have profound & positive affects on our lives as a group. Practice, not perfection; easy does it, how important is it?, do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?, and Let go and let God, are just a few of the slogans that I try to practice daily. Thanks for being here.
 
M

Muse1

#5
This is an important issue for many people, especially for those with PTSD and who are already also introverted by nature.

Having a dog with me in particular helps on several levels and has been, besides my husband and kids, the most healing aspect of life, by:

breaking the ice

sense of safety and freedom; I’m not alone, but I don’t have to make conversation with my dog, and I can enjoy the outdoors without as much fear

takes focus off of me; less self-consciousness around people

oxytocin is released. Petting the dog while out as needed to lower blood pressure and increase positive chemicals in the brain is a sustainable way to treat anxiety

seeing others and nature through the dog’s eyes takes me out of myself and my trauma-mindset

feeling like I’m caring for my dog’s needs makes me feel good about myself

chi of the dog; if you believe in chi, life force energy, then you know that animals who love their person have a positive chi that helps yours be more positive, too.

I believe my animals love me as much as I love them. Enjoying a walk together is a form of relationship and bonding that is not likely to overwhelm my coping skills as fast as human relationships can with all their drama.

Dogs are simple. That is their best feature.

Priorities: I guess my dog’s enjoyment of the simple goodness of life reminds me to enjoy the same.

Thank you for this article. Very positive insights!
 

SumOneSomeWhere

Policy Enforcement
#7
I can pass as extrovert. I’m not. The anxiety is often near-overwhelming. But I do little hacks, like:

1) Just say hello, how are you. Or even just nod my head and smile when I pass a stranger on the sidewalk or in the hall. I keep moving usually, but I’m a little less isolated. And I’m generally OK if they don’t say hello or smile back.

2) When out at an event, I make it a goal to talk to just one person. Just one. It doesn’t have to be a full conversation, bit that little interaction makes me feel less isolated.

Even if it’s just commenting on the weather in the supermarket checkout, that little step can help.
 
#8
Really good article Anthony. I've been isolating for several reasons over the past year and it sucks. I've used some of your examples before and I'm going to again because I need to be social. Making these little steps can keep a person more buoyant. I'd like to find more people to chat to on here aswell. Good luck everyone!
 
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