There are many different situations in life that may leave you feeling lonely. Loneliness can be described as feeling cut off from others not by choice, being without company, and being unhappy alone. People may feel lonely because they don’t have a larger social network of friends, family and/or community. Loneliness can set in after a loved one dies, after children leave the home, following a divorce, or when there is a change in employment status or conditions. It’s possible to be lonely temporarily, or it could last a long term. It’s important to distinguish between feeling lonely and being depressed. We all feel lonely from time to time, but we don’t all necessarily experience depression.
People find a greater social connectedness through community centers, churches, schools, employment and neighborhoods. Community centers are often a hub for educational opportunities, health care, child care and socializing.
Many people turn to pets when they feel lonely or isolated. Pets provide a sense of responsibility and purposefulness. Pets, especially dogs, encourage you to develop an exercise routine, which then leads to a greater chance of being social. Walking a dog invites other people to stop and pet your dog and then have a conversation with you. There is also a tremendous sense of comfort that comes with a pet relationship. Petting an animal has been proven to reduce stress levels in people, and to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A pet leaves many people feeling less lonely.
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