Loneliness, Coping Strategies

Come back for more have you?
OK, the first part on loneliness detailed the problems,
This looks at possible strategies to cope with it.
It’s still pretty long so before starting
Coffee (or tea) up .

Coping strategies:-
Establishing discipline helps a lot to combat the effects of loneliness.
A rigid routine of personal hygiene, camp routine, and equipment maintenance is a good start.

By adding foraging, hunting, and scavenging on a daily basis these practical tasks may provide enough variety and stimulation to keep your mind going by having to constantly problem solve.

That and NOT establishing a long-term base of operations.
Why that?
Familiarity breeds complacency and you will almost certainly lose objectivity becoming ‘blind’ to what is out there i.e. you look at the same scene and, over time, you’ll filter out everything except what you want to see.

I don’t subscribe to the notion that you’ll always spot something different. Maybe in the short-term but long-term, the mind just blanks out the “always there” and  that is bad for security when you are on your own. A kind of familiarity breeds complacency sort of thing.

It takes an inner discipline to carry out routine whilst keeping awake and focus enough to recognize when something is wrong or different.  So moving camp (if it is safe to do so) can introduce new challenges for you and “NEW” is good for keeping the mind and body together.

Can training help you cope with loneliness?
Ultimately I don’t think you can dump “the average person” into the mire and they will cope with the mental shock of becoming lonely for a long time. I think you must have the correct mindset from the word go, either through military “conditioning” or by having a job that needs a strong core self-discipline. In the civilian world there ain’t many of them about.

Is there a type of person well suited for loneliness?
Some would argue that a leader type or warrior is the ideal choice here. Is it? A leader needs something to lead, a warrior something to fight. Such strong personalities need a counter balance else they simply shut down.

Would an extrovert be better than an introvert? Dunno!
Is a woman better suited than a man for coping with loneliness? I definitely don’t know that one.

Age is a proven factor. For some reason, the mature fare a bit better than the adult group of 25 to 40. Kids cope well although they will turn “feral” very quickly.

A bit from the FM 21-76 ‘bible’ on loneliness and guilt.
Man is a social animal. This means we, as human beings, enjoy the company of others. Very few people want to be alone all the time! As you are aware, there is a distinct chance of isolation in a survival setting. This is not bad. Loneliness and boredom can bring to the surface qualities you thought only others had. The extent of your imagination and creativity may surprise you. When required to do so, you may discover some hidden talents and abilities. Most of all, you may tap into a reservoir of inner strength and fortitude you never knew you had. Conversely, loneliness and boredom can be another source of depression. As a soldier surviving alone, or with others, you must find ways to keep your mind productively occupied. Additionally, you must develop a degree of self-sufficiency. You must have faith in your capability to “go it alone.”

The circumstances leading to your being in a survival setting are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident or military mission where there was a loss of life. Perhaps you were the only, or one of a few, survivors. While naturally relieved to be alive, you simultaneously may be mourning the deaths of others who were less fortunate. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilty about being spared from death while others were not. This feeling, when used in a positive way, has encouraged people to try harder to survive with the belief they were allowed to live for some greater purpose in life. Sometimes, survivors tried to stay alive so that they could carry on the work of those killed. Whatever reason you give yourself, do not let guilt feelings prevent you from living. The living who abandon their chance to survive accomplish nothing. Such an act would be the greatest tragedy.

Umm, I’m thinking Psycho-babble from a much admired military bible and probably written by an officer type shrink.

And finally
I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of this and definitely don’t know all the answers so feel free to comment. I would welcome your input.

Just one request though.
Talk practically please, pure psycho-babble is meaningless to most folk and especially me!

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One Response to Loneliness, Coping Strategies

  1. Your comment ‘familiarity breeds complacency’ is so true. How many times have we driven to work/home on remote control and not quite remembered the journey? And that’s a normal day.
    Also, looking without seeing, as we ‘know’ the landscape or lie of the land, so may well miss something vita. (as an aside, I noticed something different about my brother in law, but it took 3 weeks before I realised he’d shaved his beard off, so you get my point here). We need to refreshen our view, even if it means just looking at something from a different direction.

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