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How to Trounce Loneliness

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, I post a Simple Living News Update that includes links to some of my favorite articles of the week. In addition to the update, I answer a reader question via video.

Kathy sent me an email last week and asked:

How can I widen my circle of friends and get over my feelings of loneliness?

Here’s my response . . .

For those of you who can’t watch the video read this article: 8 Simple Tips to Overcome Loneliness. I wrote the essay last year, when I feeling lonely. 🙂

Also, if you have questions please leave them in the comments section. I’ll add them to my Q & A spreadsheet for future video blogs.

Now onto the news . . .

Neo-Minimalism and the Rise of the Technomads

“I decided to value the gathering of experiences over the acquiring of stuff, and to get rid of stuff which would enable the gathering of more experiences. I’d have more cash from the sale of my stuff, and less stuff to worry about, should I want to move or travel for a while. Stuff gets old and breaks and takes up room in your house, experiences stick with you for life and make you a better person. The more I thought about this, the more obsessed I became. The more I traveled, the more I realized how much less stuff7

I actually need to be happy, and how much happier I was with less stuff. I knew I had physical clutter, I didn’t realize how much mental clutter came with it. The more I travel the less I pack, and the more I realize that increasing what I own is just increasing cruft— and, that I should get rid of it.”

Cost of driving

“The true cost of driving a car is usually estimated, as of 2010, at about $16 a day, plus an additional 17 cents or so per mile driven. At 15,000 miles per year, that comes out to $8,390 annually, or 56 cents per mile.”

You have shelter. I have shelter. Let’s give Japan shelter.

“If you have people who love you, and you are warm and safe, and your belly is full, you are fortunate too. Every single one of you. Do something with your fortune. Don’t sit on it and think it’s boring and things are never going to go your way. Believe me, things are very much going your way.”‘

How to Start Over

“It is not physical and emotional comfort we ought to seek. It is the discomfort that comes when you extricate yourself from a society that has promised false security, love and freedom so long as you give them your entire being. One which cannot be given back to you, let alone in one complete and untattered piece.”

Cool Stuff


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nicole March 18, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Hi, Tammy. I’ve been following your blog since the Times article, but this is my first comment. I really appreciate this post because I, too, am an introvert, and though I know that I need to push myself to meet more people, it is not always easy. I appreciate your willingness to be open about your own experiences.
    I also wanted to tell you that I find your apparent joyfulness about life very uplifting.

  • Tammy March 18, 2011, 2:35 pm

    @Nicole – Thanks for leaving a comment! It’s great to hear from you. 🙂 And thank you for the compliment.

    I’m a pretty happy person. Of course I get depressed once in a while. But when that happens, I go volunteer. I try to be grateful for all the gifts in my life, both big and small. 🙂

    Since you mentioned joyfulness, I wanted to share this quote. It’s one of my favorites . . .

    “Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness. Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love.” ~Adela Rogers St. John

    • Nicole March 19, 2011, 4:53 pm

      That is beautiful; thank you for sharing. I would definitely agree, too–happiness is elusive, but joy is more of a constant if you are living well. I think that gratefulness is the most important thing…and something I am trying to work on as well!

  • Sandra / Always Well Within March 19, 2011, 1:42 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    Those are astounding facts on the cost of driving. Thanks so much for that link. I too am an introvert so I really take to heart your advice on giving oneself a nudge to break out of it. All the best!

  • Domestic Kate March 20, 2011, 7:12 am

    I’m glad you’ve written about loneliness. The more I think about it, the more I believe that the reason there are so many of us choosing simplicity as a reaction to overly-complicated lives is that we’ve become lonely and isolated from one another and from the natural world. For all the glowing remarks about the internet bringing people together, many choose to use it to stay away from people. And even for the ones who establish close ties via the internet, we still crave physical contact. The more we plug in, the less opportunity we have to connect physically to our world. It prevents us from having the richness in our lives that we want.

  • John Hayden March 21, 2011, 7:38 pm

    It is possible to be alone without being lonely. And we introverts usually need some alone time every day.

    However, being chronically alone is a curse. Some people are more blessed with the ability connect with other people, and some people have trouble connecting for any number of reasons. People who are lonely or alone are particularly in need of kindness from others.

  • Cheryl Gajowski March 26, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Your response covered a lot. Doing something for someone else is a good thing- if you can manage one good deed a day, it helps. It helps you. And we can’t eliminate loneliness – if we never experienced it, we wouldn’t be fully human, but we can learn to be with it and counter it.

    There’s a concept called Morita or Constructive Living therapy- a proponent, David Reynolds, COos Bay OR, wrote a simple little guide – Water Bears No Scars. What I took away from it — terribly important to those of us who get stuck ” in our heads,” is that to feel better, you have got to bypass the thinking brain ( or paradoxically think around it) by doing rather than analyzing. And the doing can’t be intentionally for yourself… ( even tho’ you grasp that it is in your best interests)

    What made me think of this is that I just came in from a walk, where some friendly greetings were rebuffed. At a time when I was in a depressed state ( treated w/meds , and not metaphors), that would
    been more than enough to stir up ruminations about loneliness …. now I can just accept the (lack of) response as having nothing at all to do with me. A Dr. Reynolds quote: “Cats don’t make mistakes. When anything happens, even an unusual happening, cats just do something” if imagining yourself as water doesn’t work,try being a cat. Or at least be the match of the average cat ( or rowdy kitten) in getting on with living.
    Again, tho, having had problems with depression, and knowing that isolation is both a trigger and a warning sign, I have learned over time – not to be a different person, but to actually plan and schedule time with friends or potential friends, whether or not I feel like it. Because otherwise, when I NEED company, I have no right to expect it if i have made no efforts to create a bond. And if you’ve been down, you know that’s not the time to reach out – you have no energy, and your company stinks.

    One of my best friends is wildly extroverted, and would have no clue what i am talking about – the more contact she has with other people, the happier and more energized she is. It’s exhausting! Those of us who NEED alone time, and also have feelings of loneliness, must actually build our social network more thoughtfully. Its just a different way to be.
    Re: Online friends. I’m 64, have gone through a period of massive internet use and — think that in many ways it is highly isolating… The more people use it as a chief means of connection, the less, it seems to me, that they connect in reality. I’m not an ascetic, find a lot that is delightful, but I like to see people face to face. I think we remain primitive, tribal, emotionally, and need that sort of contact to feel part of life.

    I’m an occasional visitor, dying to see how your tiny plans turn out. I think that in this blog, you have also been touching on how all the stuff – and energy spent on buying, maintaining, protecting and storing — too much stuff keeps us from either following our bliss or connecting with others— in other words it foments loneliness. [In actuality I am pretty stuck in a material junkheap at the moment. — theory and practice at war!] I wonder if the idea of a family compound, or friend compound, or cohousing, is perhaps a good way for many of us to live more simply, yet be able to have access to tools and larger spaces when we need them – for art, or gardening, or dancing or whatever. A place for privacy, public places to share.
    Anyway, looking forward to seeing the steps towards the making of your smalltopia.

    Hope this wasn’t too scattered>

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