Four steps to combat loneliness

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In the March edition of Psychology and Aging, a journal devoted to adult development and aging, a new study found a link between chronic loneliness and aging. Here is an ease-y method for working through or helping a loved one beat their sense of loneliness.

John Cacioppo, Ph.D., author of several books including Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection and professor at the University of Chicago, explained in Psychology Today, a bi-monthly magazine, how four steps can break the cycle of loneliness. 

The basis of the four-step method is E.A.S.E, an acronym for extend yourself, action plan, selection and expect the best.

Step 1 - Extend yourself
Easier said then done but the key is to make an effort to step out of your comfort zone, which isn't very comfortable if you are lonely. Cacioppo recommends getting involved with a charity or volunteer your time to experience a new and different social environment.

Step 2 - Action plan
Don't set yourself up for failure, take an honest look at your strengths and time commitments to find social outlets that will enhance your quality of life and not cause more stress. One example offered is for shy individuals to consider working with animals. In any case make a plan and give your self the ability to be in control.

Step 3 - Selection
Selecting whom you want to be in your in social circle is important. People surrounded by numerous ‘friends' are not necessarily, not lonely. In finding social connectedness, it is important to find quality people that share similar interests. So frequent places where that incorporate your interests.

Step 4 - Expect the Best
Starting thinking more positive. Optimism will draw a more consistent and positive response from others and help reinforce social connectedness. As you become more open and positive about new situations and people, subtle changes can heppen in your attitude and perception of loneliness.

For more information on E.A.S.E.: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/loneliness/200812/easing-your-way-out-loneliness

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