Their interventions in coping with loneliness
Published on: Sunday, October 11, 2020
By: Rev Dr Peter Abas
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STAYING connected. The incidental themes of interactions with others, importance of friends and keeping pets were the foundational texts that support the essential theme of “staying connected.” 

Some of the participants described the importance of interactions with others as either being in relation to families, siblings or to their own children. 

The interaction was important to the participants because it was perceived as the time that enabled them to share their thoughts and feelings with others. 

According to Andrew, “The daily interaction with them (the mall-walking club) is a help, and recharges my feelings to be more appreciative of myself.”

Other participants, who do not have extended families, expressed that staying connected with friends is a very essential intervention utilised for coping with loneliness.

 The participants also mentioned the importance of friends being something that enabled them to reminiscence and to share their journeys of life. 

Jessica states, “I have kept in close contact with many of my friends from work.”

Besides having friends, there were two participants who affirmed that having pets such as dogs and cats had helped them to cope with loneliness. 

As Sonia expresses, “Of course I love animals, and pets are an important part of my life and they certainly help me combat loneliness”.

Keeping oneself active. In the process of conversation, some of participants spoke about their involvement in a wellness exercises program. 

Vicky expresses, “I am at the wellness programme and do my exercises.” Walking is another activity mentioned by the participants. 

They spend their spare time walking at the mall. 

At least two participants stated that they listened to music and played the guitar. 

Alice interestingly says, “I take guitar lessons and also painting.” Through these interests, most of them continue to be joyful and satisfied with what they experience in their present lives.

 Some participants read books to stay occupied during their free time. Others continue to keep themselves active and eat the proper foods. 

They also believe in the establishment of the practice of having visits with regular  healthcare providers. 

Sonia says, “My health is very important to me. Therefore, I always try to be attentive to my appointments with my doctor.”

Having a strong faith. All participants hold strong faith convictions. Some participants were able to communicate and express the fact that faith played a key role in gaining the ability to move forward with their lives. 

Josephine expresses, “Oh, very much, I do not know how, if I did not have faith. I would not get through this.” 

Some participants expressed being rooted and strengthened in their faith and expressed the comforting belief that they were not alone, even in times of the deepest losses. 

Prayer became the vehicle to allow them to proceed in order to better cope with loneliness. 

Sandra expresses, “I try to put it (loneliness) out of my mind if that does not work, I have to pray.” 

The practice of prayer to help them connect with their greater power was common to most of these participants.

Believing in God (who is always available to them) was a predominant theme among these participants. 

This gave them the assurance at the lowest moment of their lives that they were not alone. 

A greater power was believed to be at work in their lives, and their faith allowed them to rest in their beliefs. The personal importance of prayer became apparent in all eight participants.

Coming to terms with the here and now. Some participants expressed that acceptance is the key to knowing how to move forward with their lives. 

As one participant expressed, “I seem to be accepting it more, and accepting it more helps me to feel less lonely.” 

Other participants verbalised how important it was not to live in the past, but to look steadily at the present. 

As it is indicated, “The only way I can cope with that, is to focus on what I do now and not on what I have lost,” says Sonia.

An ability to look at the problems in life as opportunities would certainly assist one to be seen as resilient to being able to overcome adversities and even experience growth as a result of facing them. 

While each of those interviewed related many special memories in their lifetimes, they had shared them with spouses, children and significant others and by the same token they seemed to know intuitively that they could not dwell in the past. 

Three participants, in their own unique way, indicated that in spite of

missing their spouses, they feel the need to let go and move on. Josephine states, “I know that my husband is gone but my heart still longs for him; I accept it and move on.” (Each week, I will share the findings of my doctorate dissertation, on some themes on the causes of loneliness, interventions and interpretation of loneliness, it should be noted that names used in the article are pseudonyms)

- Rev. Dr. Peter Abas is a mental health counselor and psychologist, founder of Home of Hope: Counselling and Professional Development Centre, a non-profit organization. He formulated a program on: Hidden Stories – Express through group painting.





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