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PodcastThe Wisdom of Loneliness

The Wisdom of Loneliness

We don't always have to reject feelings of loneliness. Instead, Dora shares how to see loneliness as an opportunity to connect with ourselves.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

(air whooshing) (gentle music) Headspace Studios. (gentle music) Hello, beautiful people of the world. Welcome to Tuesday and to Radio Headspace. It's Dora here. Since moving to LA, I've been confronted with the growth edge of loneliness. Now a growth edge is an area of your life you're improving. And in this season of loneliness, I'm learning how to be with my loneliness and cultivate a relationship with it. And it's been interesting to say the least, because at first, I was trying to fight against it and put myself out there. You know, attend different gatherings and events, try my hardest to make friends. But the more I would do this, the more lonely I felt. And I came to the realization that I'm really in need of my own presence and attention. So what wisdom does loneliness hold? Its teachings are twofold. One, it shows us that we need and desire connection and belonging as humans. Way back in the day, our ancestors knew the importance of being together, finding safety in numbers. This is how we survived. That feeling of despair and isolation when we experience loneliness activates our fight-flight-freeze response. And it's really hard on us if that response is chronically stimulated. The other lesson we can learn from loneliness is that our connection to ourselves is most important. I'm realizing that I experience loneliness the most when I'm disconnected from myself. And this means that it can't be solved by another person, a place or things. As I've mentioned in previous episodes, you can't shop your way out of feeling lonely. Loneliness is an invitation to come back home to yourself. In working with my experience of loneliness, I wanted to share a mindful self-compassion practice that you can use in those moments you're feeling disconnected. So just take a moment to land and settle in. Eyes can be open or closed. (gentle music) And bringing to mind and body this experience and sensation of loneliness. Feeling into the body and seeing if you can notice where loneliness is present. Sometimes I can feel a hollow sensation in my chest or in my stomach. And then just saying to yourself, "This is loneliness. In this moment, I am experiencing loneliness. And this feeling is a universal human experience, which means I'm not alone." Now offering yourself a phrase of compassion like, "May I remember my way back home to myself." And then taking a deep breath and just letting that go. (water rushing) By working with that sense of loneliness in this way, we learned to actually be with it instead of running from it or trying to avoid it. (gentle music) The other day, I was likening the experience of loneliness to when we travel and leave our nest for a few weeks or even a month. And then we come back and things are feeling a bit drab. Maybe there's cobwebs, dust, plants are wilting, a big difference from when we are home....


Duration6 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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