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

Patients with Misophonia require help and understanding

Sufferers cannot tolerate certain sounds, and avoidance leads to social isolation.

Approaching the Holidays With a Positive Attitude

By Thelma Duffey Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 Works in Progress
Are you experiencing the holiday blues? Here are some expert tips to help you out.

Loneliness: Perceived Social Isolation Is Public Enemy No. 1

For the first time, a new study has identified how "perceived social isolation" triggers fight-or-flight stress responses that can lead to illness and premature death.

We Need a National Anti-Loneliness Campaign for the Holidays

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
The holidays can be an acutely lonely period for millions of people. Here's what you can do about it:

An Epidemic of Suicides

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Hidden Motives
Why are suicide rates rising so rapidly in the U.S.?

Stress Relief in Seven Minutes, Doggie Style

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Animals and Us
Yale University researchers have found that just seven minutes in the presence of a dog named Finn caused a major decline in anxiety levels of med school students and a big upswing in their moods.

4 Reasons Thanksgiving is the Loneliest Holiday

By Kira Asatryan on November 18, 2015 The Art of Closeness
Can a holiday cherished for family togetherness induce the most loneliness? Absolutely. Learn why it's so common to struggle to connect with others on Thanksgiving.

6 Little Known Factors That Can Affect Depression

By Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. on November 18, 2015 Fearless You
These 6 little known factors can affect depression.

It's Back Again . . . Those Holiday Blues

By Susan B. Winston LMFT on November 16, 2015 Shift Happens
The holiday blues started when those first Christmas decorations appeared in the stores in August. That was followed by the change in Daylight Savings Time; a mean trick contributing to depression (no sunlight left after the typical workday). Now many people are facing the holidays alone and crawling deeper into their sadness. How can we help?

Ten Ways to Manage Your Grief During the Holidays

Here are ten ways to cope with grief and loss during the holiday season

Replaced by the Ex in a Very Public Way?

Did the ex replace you in a very public way? #GetOverIt

The Naked Emperor and the Vanishing Veteran

Whispered about but generally hidden, the dramatic decrease of support for veterans must be exposed and changed.

Social Isolation Can Kill You

By Amy Banks on November 07, 2015 Wired For Love
After controlling for age, sex, race, economic status, physical health status, stressful life events, and cigarette smoking, researchers still found that those who perceived their social support to be impaired had a 340% higher rate of premature deaths than those who felt their social support was good.

A Way Out of Loneliness

A great amount of what leads to chronic loneliness is the way we think and feel about ourselves and the world around us. Because loneliness may have more to do with how we think about our circumstances and less to do with our actual circumstances, we have a lot of power in changing it.

If You Spot It—Maybe You Got It

What we have found when working with people, couples, families, organizations and groups with the irrelationship model the real trick is to keep the focus on ourselves. We've also found that most people who have thus far been interested in the irrelationship notion are interested because it speaks to them. That is, it speaks to us.

The Trouble with Modern Love

By Stephen Snyder M.D. on November 02, 2015 SexualityToday
We have many more choices than our parents and grandparents had, but this hasn’t made it any more likely that couples will find fulfillment. In many ways, it’s made it less likely.

Overcoming the Loneliness of Leadership

By Bill George on October 30, 2015 What Is Your True North?
How can you overcome loneliness? The answer lies in the psychology of a support group.

Bliss Molecules and Love Hormones Propel Our Social Networks

Neuroscientists from the University of California, Irvine have discovered that the “love hormone” oxytocin stimulates the brain production of self-produced cannabis neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids—which are also known as the “bliss molecule." This dynamic duo enhances the pleasure of social interactions and drives our human urge for intimate relationships.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer --Already??

Why had I never realized that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is built around the bullying, shaming and rejecting a child who is different?

How You Can Tell that Deep Down, Solitude Is Your Thing

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on October 27, 2015 Living Single
A wildly popular article identified 10 signs that you are perfectly happy with solitude. Most of them were spot-on. But the author got it wrong about the kinds of people focused primarily on fulfilling their own needs.

Fortress of Fear: Why We Sometimes Sabotage Opportunity

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on October 26, 2015 The Dolphin Divide
Is psychic re-wiring worth the effort after the damage is done? When our experiences teach us to fear, opportunity-sabotaging anxiety, isolation, and distemper can result. The causes of fear are numerous and wide-ranging. Is turning the tide with new behavioral history worth pursuing?

Why Do the Lonely Stay Lonely?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on October 24, 2015 Media Spotlight
A new research study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology takes a closer look at chronic loneliness in adolescents and how they respond to being socially included or excluded. Results suggest that fear of rejection can play a powerful role in reinforcing long-term patterns of loneliness.

Trauma Destroys Time

Because trauma so profoundly modifies the universal or shared structure of temporality, the traumatized person quite literally lives in another kind of reality, an experiential world felt to be incommensurable with those of others. This felt incommensurability contributes to a profound sense of alienation and estrangement from other human beings.

The Role of the Brain in Love and Relationship Dependency

Have you trained your brain to want dependent relationships? Understanding the factors – emotional and physical – that contribute to certain behaviors, either within a single relationship or within a relationship revolving door, are important.

The Stunning Appeal of a Story About a Man Who Died Alone

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on October 20, 2015 Living Single
The New York Times published an extraordinarily long and wildly popular story of a man who died alone, undiscovered until a neighbor smelled his rotting body. What was the story really about? Why were readers so drawn to it?

Wanted: A Home

By Frances Kuffel on October 14, 2015 What Fat Women Want
A few remarks against rental housing regulations.

The Martian Totally Neglects the Behavioral Sciences

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on October 13, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
The Martian is very proud of it's accurate depiction of sciences--so why was psychology entirely absent?

Could a Social Network Motivate You to Exercise More?

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communication have identified a new way to use social networks to motivate people to adopt healthier behaviors and exercise more.

Inside the Mind of a School Shooter

What may cause a person to become a school shooter is when his mind becomes so disorganized that the three brains that make up his triune brain react by becoming "locked and loaded" and focused on a mission to get in and get even with a world that caused him to feel put down and pushed away.

10 Ways to Feel Better About Your Life, Today

Appreciating your life is not supposed to be work. It’s a way of allowing yourself to forgive any transgressions and make the promise that you won’t go down that path again. It’s easy if you do things that you know will be appreciated.