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5 Ways We Try to Fight Loneliness

5 Ways We Try to Fight Loneliness
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Did you know that loneliness is considered a major health issue? It’s true.

There are now calls to treat it as seriously as smoking and obesity because there is evidence to suggest a link between loneliness and an early death.

Due to the fact that we are, by nature, social animals, prolonged feelings of loneliness can be devastating to our health.

As such we have come up with several ways to reduce feelings of isolation, all of which have positive and negative aspects. Here are five major ways in which we may try to stave off loneliness.



1) Television

Recent studies have built on a body of existing research that says television really can help us feel less lonely.

Psychologists, dubbing the phenomena as “social surrogacy,” have observed that people are not only more likely to watch their favorite TV shows when they feel lonely, but actually will use this as a means to make themselves feel better.

In a recent test, subjects were asked to recall a fight they had with a loved one, in effect to create feelings of  low self-esteem and isolation. They were then given a choice of whether to write about a TV show they loved or one they hated.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, subjects were more likely to write about the shows they enjoyed.

They were also more likely to report purposefully seeking out enjoyment from watching their favorite program after experiencing a (simulated or real) fight.

The TV shows acted in a way to buffer their emotional hurt and allow them a feeling of social belonging.

Moreover, separate studies have suggested that for those people who find social interaction difficult, television programs can in fact help to facilitate better understanding of social cues, like facial expressions and the linguistic graces more socially aware people would take for granted.

There’s a downside of course. There are some startling statistics on the casual links between television watching and poor overall health. More than that though, people who use television as a means of social surrogacy may become reliant and miss out on fostering better relationships with those around them.


First image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to justcrono. Second image: Kansir.

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3:49PM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

May I suggest VOLUNTEER. There are too many organizations that need help. This is a WIN WIN. You get fulfillment and a need gets met. You may also connect with someone who has a similar interest/passion. We expereince things for a reason. To encourage and uplift another. Give back. Give someone else some hope. HOPE is a huge gift.

3:45PM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

I would like to add another- volunteer.. giving back always helps me feel fulfilled. There are too many organizations that need help. This is a WIN WIN. You give.. a need gets met... you encourage another and you may make friend a connection with folks who have the same passion/ interest as you. You have gone through the experiences painful and victorious for a reason. You can use it to give another hope. HOPE is a huge gift to give. Volunteer.. give back...

12:18PM PDT on Jun 16, 2013

To Terrance N - you're right in that being religious does not necessarily mean you are spiritual

To Diana C - get over yourself. Get your computer fixed if it goes so slow. It took but a few seconds to page thru this article on my computer.

To Adam C - yes, I agree, they should have included groups. You can see the change in many people after joining a group with the same interests as themselves. I would liken it to watching a flower begin to bloom.

Television has its place in our lives, as do computers and the internet. As in anything, if overused then it can make some personality problems even worse. The internet can isolate some people even more than they already are. It gives these people an excuse not to leave their homes. Even interacting with store clerks can be a good thing socially for introverts.

This article has some good points, but have some things I may not agree with - for example the internet, while a good thing for most, may not always be a good thing for all. I am sure the same thing was said about television when it first became popular.

11:51AM PDT on Jun 16, 2013

There is one more way to fight loneliness. And that’s Artificial Intelligence based computer games for fun and cognitive development. These games are specifically designed for play against the computer or another human being.
Hare’s an example…

RKNet Studios Announced Cognitions Bridge Games for Senior Adults; to Fight Loneliness and Cognitive Decline, the Known Risk Factors in Early Death

2:53AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

Thank you for sharing :)

7:23PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

I was right with this article until it mentioned religion. If it had said "join an institution" then sure as that covers not only joining a church or other spiritual group but also includes chess clubs, gardening clubs, book clubs etc etc. Any one of these are legitimate ways of fighting loneliness. The line "There is even some evidence to suggest a correlation between religion and dealing with feelings of loneliness. " is a spurious argument as that argument can be applied to any social organization as being part of any social group is going to impact your loneliness.

2:16PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

First of all, why do they list the points on different screens. It is so hard to get from one to the next since it takes forever. What a turn off. I did not get beyond one. Second, what if one chooses to keep to oneself because people totally get on their nerves. I can't stand people.

first of all. I hate

11:58AM PDT on Sep 28, 2012


10:05AM PDT on Sep 28, 2012


7:39PM PDT on Sep 27, 2012

Omly those who have suffered loneliness know about it - no one else does

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