Understanding Loneliness

What makes us happiest in life? Some people may point to fabulous fame and fortune. But hands down, surveys show that friends and family are the real prize. Even though our need to connect is innate, some of us always go home alone. You could have people around you throughout the day or even be in a lifelong marriage, and still experience a deep, pervasive loneliness. Unsurprisingly, isolation can have a serious detrimental effect on one's mental and physical health.

Recent Posts on Loneliness

It’s Complicated: Ten Years After

By A Guest Blogger on March 27, 2015 in Brainstorm
Grief is a fickle and complicated lifelong journey that can assault its victims with debilitating symptoms at any time after its origin. Understanding that grief knows no time limit can ease the path toward acceptance.

Affairs: The Healing Process

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on March 26, 2015 in Fixing Families
Affairs are devastating on so many levels, but at its core it is about trust and loss. A map for moving through the normal healing process.

What Makes You Say You’re Lonely?

By Peter Toohey on March 26, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
What does it mean to be lonely and how do say that you are lonely? Is language enough to describe it? Are you lonely just because you think you are lonely and say you are lonely? Or are specific circumstances required for there to be loneliness? What does loneliness mean for the animal and human brain? Is loneliness and the word “loneliness” common to all cultures?

6 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline Today

Self-discipline isn't an innate characteristic, it's a learned skill. The good news is, we all have the ability to start improving our self-discipline today.

When You Don't Have Time for Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Now that spring has sprung, it's a good time to focus on becoming healthier. For many, this may sound like an overwhelming task. But creating small, reasonable goals is the best way to make lifestyle changes.

Yet Another Study Reporting Loneliness Can Kill You…

By Sean Seepersad Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in Web of Loneliness
Apparently the media have long-term memory loss. Every time another study comes out showing that loneliness is indeed deadly, they jumps on it like it was not something we knew before. But I guess you would expect that with a topic like loneliness. After all, who remembers anything about loneliness?

We Really Do Die Alone

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in Brick by Brick
When working to improve public health, there are often many things that we simply can't change. Social isolation has proven to be a robust and significant risk factor of poor health and early mortality. And there is something we can do about it.

You Can't Have Real Intimacy Without This

Being human means being vulnerable. But oftentimes we try to control love and intimacy, not realizing that true intimacy can only arise as we develop the awareness to notice and the courage to embrace our vulnerabilities. Our task is not to transcend our humanity or take flight into a spiritual self-image, but rather to engage with vulnerability in a skillful, gentle way.

Is A Bad MarrIage Dangerous To Your Health?

Is an alienated spouse a matter of life or death?

Book Review: Wisdom from the Couch

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on March 22, 2015 in In Therapy
Dr. Jennifer Kunst shares the warmer, friendlier side of Kleinian psychology in this interview and book review.

Why John Hughes Still Matters

Filmmaker John Hughes died unexpectedly in 2009 at the age of 59, yet his movies remain staples of teenage angst and adolescent transition still relevant today. Kids of the 80s (now in their 40s) identified with these characters, and the movies resonate as nostalgic outlets for them.

The Blissful Torture of Unrequited Love

Whether fast or slow, it comes on hard—as powerful as a bludgeon, but one covered in the softest velvet. It’s two-faced as well, like an optical illusion. And it’s also supremely paradoxical. How can an unreturned love engender such ecstatic, sublime feelings? Yet the chemical dynamics of reciprocation fantasies can be incredibly powerful...

Good Friends Make for Better Health

By Katherine Bouton on March 19, 2015 in What I Hear
Psychologists Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin found that the single strongest social predictor of long life was a strong social network. People with hearing loss sometimes have to make themselves keep up those social connections. Those who work with the elderly should be aware of how much hearing loss may be contributing to social isolation.

Is a Solitary Life a Shorter Life? Results of Big New Review

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on March 19, 2015 in Living Single
A new review of a huge amount of data suggests that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone are all linked to shorter lives. Does that mean that living alone is bad for your health even if you love going solo? That's what the New York Times claimed. Here's why they are wrong.

Is Introversion Interfering With Your Friendships?

By Sophia Dembling on March 18, 2015 in The Introvert's Corner
You might not need a lot of friends and you might not need to see them often, but you do need friends. Introversion is no excuse--or reason--for letting friendships lapse.

No Longer Alone: How to Help Others "Get" You

If you are one of the many people who are “afflicted” with loneliness, it is extremely important that you know there is hope. You can help yourself to feel more connected to the world around you.

The Interpersonal Consequences of Schizophrenia

This article is comprised of an argument that introversion, divergent thinking, and isolation, as qualities in the schizophrenic individual, may be causally related to the emergence of schizophrenia.

Making Saves

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on March 17, 2015 in In Excess
Extreme couponing is an activity that combines shopping skills with couponing in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most groceries. Extreme couponers spend hours and hours on the internet or scouring scouring rubbish tips or supermarket car parks looking for coupons. But can it be addictive?

Why the Best Relationship Advice May Be to Stay Out of One

Is your fear of being alone killing your relationships?

To Fix or to Build?

People prone to irrelationship commonly make projects of fixing other people’s problems in much the way some people are drawn to the challenge of rescuing a foundering business. However, while saving a failing company is an exhilarating exercise for some, fixing another person’s life is usually attractive only to people who need to deflect awareness of their own anxiety.

Tackling Mid-Life Weight Issues: A 5-Step Plan

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on March 16, 2015 in Cravings
Maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level as you get older is as much about getting enough sleep and stress relief as it is about eating right and exercising.

Grief, Loneliness, and Losing a Spouse

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Sooner or later, every married couple will face the prospect of their relationship coming to an end, whether due to death or divorce. For those people dealing with the loss of a spouse, overcoming loneliness represents the greatest challenge in moving on with life afterward. A new study looks at how grief and loneliness are linked to depression in older adults.

Adolescence and the Dominating Friend

For many adolescents, after letting go the childhood dependence on parents, there is a need for a transitional dependence on an assertive and strongly defined same sex friend before feeling ready to rely more independently on themselves.

Top 10 Ways to Get Over a Breakup

The time immediately following the shock of a breakup and the time of a mad obsession are driven by the overflow of stress chemicals released by your brain in response to what is happening to you. This is a time when you are likely to act crazy! Breakup chemistry is insanity chemistry. Temper your stirred-up emotions by sticking to these 10 pieces of breakup advice.

Are Most of Us Touch Deprived?

From professional "cuddlers" to the massage craze, are we touch deprived? Why do we pay to be touched?

Finding Meaning in Work

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 10, 2015 in The Prime of Life
How can we find significance and purpose in work in today's economy?

5 Mind-Body-Behavior Practices That Can Change Your Life

By practicing these research-supported actions in your emotional life, physical actions and behavior, you can enhance your overall health and wellbeing.

23 Quips for Marriage Skeptics and Lovers of Single Life

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on March 10, 2015 in Living Single
Some great insights about solitude, single life, and marriage, offered with brevity and sometimes a touch of humor