This Flow Promoter may feel obvious, but as a flow hack it's magical. People with your type of lonely are often guided by the ultimate goal of Happiness. Flow state is more easily achieved by aiming for something within reach, and that's how we get to "usefulness'.
It's the perception of usefulness that drives deep connections and enduring habits.
Always Be Useful
Living your life with a strong sense of purpose may lower your risk for early death, heart attack or stroke . . . in addition to helping you to reverse your type of loneliness.
A life goal of 'happiness' is a great goal, but it's not a very tangible strategy. There are too many factors influencing our happiness relative to a strategy of 'being useful'.
For example, the opportunity for recognition by others might make someone hopeful, but only if the opportunity is seized (by exhibiting usefulness) and the recognition delievered with this opportunity lead to happiness.
Feeling useful is something that you can seek out and manage.
If we stop short of aiming for happiness, and instead aim for usefulness, then we are more likely to feel a concrete sense of purpose and accomplishment. Those factors more directly relate to factors that influence happiness, and then we are back around again.
MyCounterpane.com in conjunction with Johns Hopkins found that when we shared ongoing updates of their "Purpose in Life Study" back to a segment of individual participants, that segment decreased suicidal tendencies by 30% over those people who did not see their updates.
The updates demonstrated the higher order usefulness of the participants in the study for the participants themselves. Their encouragement was self-fulfilling and their health benefitted.
"Psychosocial conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress and social isolation have strong associations with heart disease and mortality," said lead author Dr. Randy Cohen, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City. Recently, however, his attention has focused on the impact that positive emotions have on overall health and well-being.
He believes that, "Purpose in life is considered a basic psychological need, and has been defined as a sense of meaning and direction in one's life, which gives the feeling that life is worth living.”
His research team reviewed 10 published studies and found that compared to people with a low sense of purpose, those who had a strong sense of purpose had a 23% reduced risk of death from any cause. The study also found that a strong purpose in life was also linked to a 19 % reduced risk for cardiovascular-related events such as heart attack or stroke, coronary artery stent placement or bypass surgery.
ASSIGNMENT #1 : Watch this short video by Daniel Pink. In it he proposes a way to quickly identify your "purpose". Understanding that our purpose evolves over time, this is not meant to be a fixed state, but, like your loneliness, knowing and naming your purpose is half way to framing your life with it.
ASSIGNMENT #2 : Click the image below to download the PDF. Try the test to see what you learn about yourself!