Focusing Outwardly

By Julie Price

August 18, 2014 5 min read

Often the issues that cause seniors to feel loneliness are extremely preventable.

Sometimes it can be as easy as having a pet around -- this is proven to reduce anxiety by creating a sense of companionship. There is also something magical that happens when we as humans are taking care of someone else or focused outward. We feel like we have a purpose, and this increases confidence, self worth and overall happiness.

Focusing outwardly in general is a great way to cure the common pains of feeling alone. Depending on your level of health, there are many organizations out there that would love some extra helping hands. Whether it's through volunteering for events, being a part of walks for different causes or simply sending out Christmas cards to kids in need (especially if you get to play Santa), giving your energy away is often the one thing that will make you feel more energized than ever before! It's kind of like going to the gym; it can feel like a hassle and a lot of work, but once you finish your workout, you feel GREAT!

Speaking of the gym, staying active is a major way to keep your heart full and to embrace that social butterfly. Regardless of your mobility, there are classes for everyone -- every age, every level of skill. And at many gyms, they have new classes scheduled at every hour. Water aerobics is a great way to move around while being kind to your joints and any remnants of old injuries. Plus, it's a great way to meet new people without feeling forced into conversation at an event that you may not want to attend in the first place. There's something about participating in a group activity that automatically bonds the group with ease. This is a huge reason athletes on teams are so loyal to their sports "family." The team grows with them, supports them and becomes an incredibly important part of their mental and emotional survival.

With that in mind, any activities in which you're building a community are productive. Take a hands-on approach; don't sit back and wait for someone to come to you. Check out your local paper or your town/city's calendar of events online. Search for groups that meet to discuss common interests, goals or have regular get-togethers. Book clubs are quickly becoming more and more popular, thanks in part to Oprah reminding us all about the art of sitting down and finishing a book. If you don't have the best vision, there are audiobooks available on iTunes. They do a great job with keeping their book list current with both the top sellers and the classics.

Go on daily walks in the morning. You'd be surprised at how much this will put you in a place of gratitude. You can work out a schedule with family members to walk with you or maybe you have a friend close to your neighborhood who is on board to pound the pavement before (or after) that cup of morning coffee. Starting the day by getting outside is one of the most rewarding experiences and allows you to see the world with gratitude, something very important in keeping up spirits, which will in turn make you like a magnet, attracting new friends and people into your life wherever you go. If walking isn't an option, you can go on a little car cruise or even wheelchair cruise. Just make sure to keep it consistent no matter how bad the weather is or how little you feel like getting up.

If your family or friends don't live close by, or perhaps their schedules don't allow them to be your walking buddy, there are many services in which you can hire someone who is a good fit to walk with you. There's nothing wrong with this -- successful bosses and business owners hire people for all sorts of jobs and end up truly bonding with their employees, so make sure to find someone you really like spending time with, and think of it as something where you are both gaining experience from your time together.

So remember, focus outwardly. Think about how you can add value and help in situations. If you have grandkids, get as involved in their lives as possible, and if you don't, I'm sure there are many kids out there who would love a mentor that cared enough to share stories and spend time getting to know them. You are one special person with a lot to give. Make sure to keep giving that love away!

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