Have you ever played the “deserted island” game? You know, the one where people ask you questions about what would be the one thing you would take, eat or do if you found yourself stranded on a deserted island.
I have not only been asked to play this game many times about exercise and nutrition, but I have also written about my potential answers. Of course, broccoli, deadlifts, and sprints (as well as swimming) were on the list.
Now that I have been to a deserted island, I stand corrected.
If I were on a deserted island, I would not be spending my time deadlifting or figuring out how to farm broccoli. I would not be working on my breast stroke or hitting some sprints on the beach. I would instead find myself saying two words in my every action: HELP ME!
This past week, I found myself by surprise on Tokoriki Island which is one of the 332 islands of Fiji. This island was a 20 minute helicopter ride from the main island of Fiji which is another few thousand miles from any major continents. You could say I was on a deserted island, but I still had wifi, a hotel room and food. It wasn’t until I took a day trip to neighboring Monoriki Island, that I got a real experience of how “deserted” really feels.
Monoriki Island is uninhabited. It is wild and untamed. In fact, since it so defines the term “deserted” it was selected as the island on which to film the Tom Hanks classic, Cast Away. The ride to the island by small motor boat took over 30 minutes. The handful of us were dropped off to snorkel out on the reef surrounding Monoriki. The reef was shallow and sharp and the sea leaches biting us in the warm water were far from hospitable. As I swam up to the beach, the transporter notified me he would be leaving us on the island since one of the members of our party had gotten sick (I like to think “scared” was a better term.) As the boat left our sight, we were really deserted. The only difference between my experience and the movie at this point might be that I didn’t have a volleyball with which to talk.
As I explored the island, I imagined what it would be like to be stranded here. I began asking myself questions like, “Could I survive here? What would I eat? Where would I sleep?” Due to this feeling of isolation, instead of thoughts of exercise or agriculture, my thoughts were focused on something much more primal: survival. As I walked in front of the “HELP ME” written in coconuts in the sand, I realized feeling alone is not reserved only for people stranded on islands. The following list covers five simple solutions to help you feel less alone.
5 Ways To Get Off Your Deserted Island
- Ask For Help
When I was “deserted,” I immediately thought about ways to ask for help. Of all the things I was afraid of on this island, asking for help was not one of them. Too bad the instinct of asking for help doesn’t overtake you the same way during your daily life. People want to help you. It is one of the best gifts you can give them. But it will only work if you have the courage to ask. If there is some help you could really use right now, go to the right person and ask for it today.
- Offer Some Help
Now that you know you can often be either too proud or nervous to ask for help, you should realize other people around you also share those same emotions. Instead of waiting to be asked, offer some help instead. By helping someone else, you gain both purpose and connection. There are people in need of your skills. Maybe they feel abandoned too. Find one and share.
- Build A Team
Want to get away from solitude? Surround yourself with people with similar hobbies or interests. Maybe you have heard there is no “I” in “Team,” or that T.E.A.M is really an acronym for “together everybody achieves more. Whichever you have heard, they are both true. Great ways to build your team would be to join or start a club. Once you see how many people think just like you, that deserted island will quickly become a distant memory.
- Build Something Of Value For Someone Else
You won’t be lonely when you spend your time serving others. When you are engaged in improving the life of someone else, you have no choice but to improve your own. Is there anything missing right now in your community that could make it better? What is some skill or knowledge you have that could improve the life of someone around you? Find that need and then fill it.
- Do A Gratitude Inventory
One way to feel less alone is to make yourself feel grateful for all the positive things in your life. Spend a few minutes each day being thankful for all the things going right. Taking a minute or two to right them down is even better. Not only will this new habit divert your focus from loneliness, but gratitude has also been shown to improve your health and well being as well. Hint: If you are having trouble forming a list, start with all the people, skills, health, and technology you have around you every day.
I am sure you have found yourself feeling helpless with your personal challenges like diet, family or work. There have probably been times you felt there was no one to help with your survival. Unfortunately, instead of taking action, you may be keeping yourself “out on an island” longer than you should. Use the list above and you will be sending out an S.O.S that is sure to get noticed.
Ask For Help
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