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Loneliness and WRAP Presented By Sherri Rushman 248-975-9531 or Source: Mary Ellen Copeland The Loneliness Workbook April 27, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Loneliness and WRAP Presented By Sherri Rushman 248-975-9531 or Source: Mary Ellen Copeland The Loneliness Workbook April 27, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Loneliness and WRAP Presented By Sherri Rushman or Source: Mary Ellen Copeland The Loneliness Workbook April 27,

2 What is this Webinar based on? It is based on Mary Ellen Copelands book The Loneliness Workbook. This book is a Guide to Developing and Maintaining Lasting Connections Her book was drawn from her own life experiences and from a research project the Loneliness Study she did. 2

3 Gathering Information 3 Mary Ellen reached out to people from her work shops, to her colleagues and website on the internet. She held focus groups where people helped define the questions to ask in a written survey that she gave to volunteers. She held interviews and more focus groups to get extra specific information on topics for the Loneliness Workbook.

4 What is Loneliness? According to Mary Ellen loneliness is always a unique experience. The word means different things to different people. A description of Loneliness would include words that describe feelings. There is no one way to define feelings. 4

5 Others Personal Definitions of Loneliness According to a forty-two year old women living with her husband and five small children. Loneliness is an old ongoing human condition. It is a feeling of having no common bond with people around you. 5

6 Others Personal Definitions of Loneliness The feeling is akin to being an alien and all those around you are speaking of a language and life that you only can see in magazines. Loneliness is feeling disconnected and lost, even in the midst of family. 6

7 Other Personal Definitions of Loneliness Without friends or a companion. Feeling like you dont have anyone who wants to be with you. Feeling abandoned and unable to connect with anyone on either a physical or emotional level Being alone and not comfortable with yourself. When you have a chance describe on paper your own definitions of loneliness 7

8 The person dreamed of a great chasm-a chasm so deep that she couldnt see to its bottom with steep rock cliffs on either side. She was alone on one side of the chasm, looking at the other side. On the other side people were talking to each other, laughing, and having a good time. There was no way for her to get to the other side where the people were. The person felt excluded and utterly alone. Personal Images of Loneliness 8

9 One women said that when she was lonely, she imagines herself enveloped in a plastic bubble, just floating in space where no one can hear her and no one cares about her thoughts and feelings. When you have a chance, describe on paper your personal images of Loneliness. 9

10 What Loneliness Means to you Lets explore what loneliness means to you in a exploratory exercise? Sit back in your chair. Make sure you feel comfortable. Take a few deep breaths. Now focus your attention on feelings of loneliness. 10

11 What Loneliness Means to You To do this you may need to think of a time in your life when you were lonely. Focus your attention on physical sensations if they occur. Pay attention to all your feelings Hold your feelings in your mind for a few minutes. Take your time. Now Note how you felt during the exercise. Describe anything that comes into your mind. 11

12 Sometimes There is a Reason You Cant Keep Supports or Friends Connections Gone Wrong Overly dependent One sided relationships When one of the people is negative When one person assumes things about the other person Being too needy 12

13 People Avoid me-Why? Complaining constantly Being self-centered Being fearful of rejection Having low self-esteem Being excessively angry Worrying and fretting needlessly 13

14 Things That Dont Enhance Relationships Being embarrassing Interrupting, You messages Sarcasm, Break confidentiality Labels, One person doing all the talking Threats, Wanting you to be their only friend Ridicule, Rudeness 14

15 Remember, There is Hope! People have changed their lives and shape their life the way they want to. Takes time and work to improve circumstances 15

16 Connections Can Go Right Mary Ellen Copeland knows after conducting a loneliness study that being lovingly supported and supporting others are powerful contributors to our social, psychological, spiritual, and even physical well being. Mary Ellen discovered: Strong connection with and support from others is essential to healing, recovery, and ongoing health. From her research she found it is important to have at least 5 supporters. 16

17 Connections Gone Right 17

18 Connections Gone Right 18

19 Think About the Opposite of Loneliness Just as you have times when you feel lonely, you also have times when you dont feel lonely. One man said in the Loneliness Study, When Im not lonely, I feel connected to the people Im with. I feel they understand and respect me and that we are all enjoying this time that we are sharing 19

20 Not Feeling Lonely One key word related to not feeling lonely is balance- a balance between being with others and being alone. Some other words and phrases that people in the Loneliness Study used to describe not being lonely were: feeling loved, togetherness, feeling whole and complete and a sense of belonging. 20

21 Not Feeling Lonely Once again, lets do an exploratory exercise. Sit back in your chair. Make sure you feel comfortable. Take a few deep breaths. Focus on feeling not lonely. To do this, you may need to think of a time in your life when you were not lonely. If you cant think of a time, imagine such a time. Focus and enjoy these feelings. Luxuriate in them! 21

22 Finding Wellness Tools Following this slide will be lists of things you can do to feel less lonely and we can also call them wellness tools that can help you build a strong support system and a strong WRAP. If you find yourself without friends and supports, be encouraged it will not last forever if you explore the loneliness topic in Mary Ellens book and here today in this webinar. 22

23 How To Create Change Join a support group Find a peer to do peer counseling with a few times each week-which is getting together and divide the time equally, listening and sharing without interruptions. Go to interesting things in the community Commit yourself to learning and to improving your life Learning to enjoy time alone 23

24 Raising Your Self-Esteem Mary Ellen Copelands book The Loneliness Workbook has many good self-esteem exercises in it. These activities are designed to help you improve your self-esteem. Working on improving your self-esteem is a life long process. The more you do this kind of work, the better your life. 24

25 Techniques To Relieve Loneliness Recognize the feeling of loneliness and make a clear decision to be with those feelings Act cheerful until you really feel it. You might sing, dance to the radio or favorite CD, watch a funny video, recall jokes, practice laughing out loud. 25

26 Techniques To Relieve Loneliness Read a book of cartoons Meditate or pray Keep busy doing something you consider useful, productive and has a sense of accomplishment Have a good cry Call a friend who is upbeat and cheerful Go out to dinner with someone who is positive Go to a movie 26

27 Techniques To Relieve Loneliness Help Others Write a letter Send a card Send an Write in your journal Do a task and be happy you did it Exercise 27

28 Techniques To Relieve Loneliness Give yourself a massage Play a musical instrument Read Do something creative Play with your pet Focus your attention on self esteem and enjoy your time alone 28

29 Enjoying Time Alone Looking back at childhood for some activities you liked as a child you might like now Build on your interests and special abilities Making a list of things you could do during your times alone that would keep you from feeling lonely 29

30 Finding the Courage to Reach Out To reach out to others, you have to know that there are good things about you that would make other people want to be with you. Use the following list for ideas and add any others you can think of, and then write down the assets and strengths that you would bring to a friendship. 30

31 List of Strengths to Bring to a Friendship I am a good listener. I am warm and friendly. I like being part of a good conversation. Im supportive to others. I have a lot of interests I like to share. I am very compassionate. I am playful and enjoy humor. 31

32 List of Strengths to Bring to a Friendship I am passionate I am entertaining and witty I am generous and kindhearted I am interested in a variety of ideas, issues, and activities. I make it a point to affirm and validate the experiences of others. 32

33 List of Strengths to Bring to a Friendship I accept others as they are. I dont try to change them. I enjoy sharing fun and interesting activities with others I will go out on a limb for others if they need and want me to do that. List your strengths that make you a good friend 33

34 Feeling Good About Being With Another Person One person in the Loneliness Study said that when she feels good about being with another person she feels whole. Others said they felt good about being with another person when they felt they had unconditional love and support of that person. 34

35 The Qualities of Good Supporters Someone you can trust and respect you. Be Confidential Have time for you. Who will allow you the space to change, grow, make decisions and make mistakes, who accept you-both as you are and as you want to be. 35

36 The Qualities of Good Supporters Who care about you. Would advocate for you. Make decisions when you cant and willing to follow your pre-determined plan. Someone who will treat you well. Not force advice on you. 36

37 The Qualities of Good Friends You feel good being with them. Who allow you to talk freely and express your feelings and emotions without judging, criticizing, teasing, or putting you down. Describe your relationships with people with whom you feel you have deep, rich friendship. If you feel you dont have any, write what you would like in a friendship. 37

38 Mutuality Friendship needs to go both ways. In any friendship it is important for each person to be there for the other. Both people in the friendship need time to talk and time to be heard. Friends take turns in suggesting activities. 38

39 Mutuality From time to time, each calls the other. For example, if a childless person watches her friends children occasionally, then the parent needs to return the favor by doing something special for the childless person. Do you have mutuality in your friendships? It works! Describe how it works for you. 39

40 Reconnecting with Family Have you worn out your family relationships? Try to reconnect and be with Family Stop thinking they dont understand and try to meet them where they are at. If they wont reconnect no matter what you do, find a new family made up of supporters who are interested in you. 40

41 The Loneliness Workbook by Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD is on SALE at or by phone:

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