Is Love Actually All Around Us? How to Stop Holiday Loneliness
Surrounded by sparkling holiday decorations and the smell of holiday cookies baking, I sat down with a great group of friends to watch Love Actually. The movie opens with people reuinting around the holidays at Heathrow airport and the narrator reminding us, “Love, actually, is all around.” Although many people are surrounded by the companionate love of friends or the compassionate love of family during the holidays, it’s still possible for some to feel the sharp pangs of loneliness when they realize that they have no one to kiss under the mistletoe.
This feeling of being lonely in the midst of loved ones, illustrates one of the difficult aspects of loneliness. Researchers have found that even when people have a rich social network, focusing on the absence of just one type of relationship or one form of love, can induce deep feelings of loneliness.
So, what’s the lonely heart to do around the holidays? Like many things in psychology, it’s a matter of mindset. Some of the best advice can be taken from the holiday that just passed, when we gathered with loved ones to give thanks for what we do have, instead of wishing for what we do not have. When we can focus on being grateful for the love we have, and for the love we can give, then we can be reminded that love, actually, is all around.
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