Why loneliness is sometimes good for us

Loneliness is sometimes good for us - K.J. Hutchings

Loneliness is usually seen in a negative light. If we’re lonely it means something is amiss in our lives. A lack of friends. A lack of meaningful connections. A lack of sociability. Lack in general.

It’s true that chronic, ongoing loneliness, the sort of loneliness that endures day in day out for the long-term, is not a good thing at all. Loneliness can kill – it happens to many elderly, isolated people around the world, which is desperately sad.

But that’s not the sort of loneliness I’m talking about.

The loneliness I mean is fleeting; it comes and goes, despite good friends, loving partners, caring family and a busy, enriching life. It still pops up from time to time, often inexplicably, bringing along with it a myriad of uncomfortable emotions.

I think this fleeing loneliness is good for us. It’s actually beneficial. Don’t believe me? Let me put forward my case with 7 examples:

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Why keeping a journal improves your health, happiness and relationships

Why keeping a journal improves your health, happiness and relationships by K.J. Hutchings

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”  ― Christina Baldwin.

I’m a big, big, BIG fan of keeping a journal. I’ve kept a regular diary since I was 12 and Jude, the main character in my upcoming novel My Lover’s Keeper, is also an avid fan of journaling – something that drives her boyfriend Elliot to distraction (especially as he’s desperate to read it and she won’t let him).

Jude understands the first and possibly only rule of keeping a journal: to keep it for your eyes only.

Keeping a journal can be an asset to your mental health. It can save your sanity.  Don’t believe me?  Well, try this little test.

Think about something that happened in the recent past that upset you. It could be an argument, a betrayal, and an angry client.  Whatever it is, focus on how you felt; relive the experience.

How did it make you feel?  Upset all over again?  Well, now try writing down what happened.  Not only that, write down how you felt at the time, what you wished you’d done or said.  Vent your anger if you need to.  Put all your thoughts down on paper and write until you can’t write anymore.  Then assess how you feel.

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Compassion – the route to our emotional freedom

Compassion - the route to emotional freedom by K.J. Hutchings

Most of us want more emotional freedom in our lives. And the easiest way to get it is through compassion.

There are lots of synonyms for compassion: sympathy, kindness, love, warmth, humanity, but they all mean the same thing – sympathy and concern for the well being of others.

In my upcoming novel My Lover’s Keeper there at times appears to be little compassion, let alone emotional freedom, in the relationship between Jude and Elliot, which has devastating consequences for them both. Without compassion, we cannot have genuine, loving relationships with other people or ourselves. Without compassion, our world is a very dark place to be in.

The evolutionary importance of compassion

Scientists have claimed compassion is our strongest trait and that without it humanity would have died out long ago. They claim our survival relies not on the theory of “every man for himself”, but the “survival of the kindest”. But are we as compassionate to each other and ourselves as we should be? Do we often “forget” to be kind and instead allow our negative emotions to take over, and as a result forgo our chances to gain emotional freedom?

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Birdsong and mourning mornings

In every relationship there are tears and sadness. In My Lover’s Keeper Jude’s relationship with Elliot first time round is no exception. She wakes early many summer mornings to weep in solitude, while Elliot continues to sleep. These are her “mourning mornings, my tears accompanied by birdsong” where “my hair had trailed to the floor, cold tears slicing my face”.

A lonely place, but as the saying goes, This too shall pass.

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