It is the holiday season and a happy active time for many perhaps most people.  However we should remember that for some it is an emotionally painful time.  Loneliness has been written, talked and sung about for eons.   It is often defined as a complex and unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship.  It can be felt even when surrounded others.   Some philosophers, such as Sarte the existentialist, believed that loneliness is a fundamental part of the human condition because of a person’s desire to have meaning in life that conflicts with mortality and isolation of the universe. 
 
Chronic loneliness can cause adverse health conditions such as increased risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, alcoholism, depression, schizoid characteristics and in children hostile and delinquent behavior.  It is estimated that 20% of the U.S. population suffer from some degree of loneliness. 
 
However there are some published tips on how to deal with loneliness:
1.      Understanding the reasons.  Identify when, who and what invokes the most loneliness.
2.      Comfort yourself.  Realize you are not alone. Get active in work or extracurricular activities.  CONSIDER GETTING A PET is a frequently repeated tip.  However if you do be a responsible owner.
3.      Get social.  Sports, a class and volunteering, book clubs, church groups and political campaigns are just some examples.
4.      Enjoy solitude.  Loneliness is when you are unhappy to be alone.  Solitude is when you are happy to be alone.   Work on self-improvement.  Maybe learn a language, join a gym, and learn a new skill.  DO SOMETHING BIG that you always wanted to do but never had the time or courage to do.
5.      Don’t be self-conscious.  Realize that other people are not focusing on you but rather their own faults.
6.      Be positive and in a good mood. Be happy with yourself. People like being around those who are upbeat and confident.
7.      Be yourself! You don’t have to be someone else to make others like you. People will like you for who you are not who you want to be.  If they don’t then you don’t need them either. 
8.      Realize that being lonely in a crowd is not unusual.
9.      Get good rest, eat healthy and exercise.