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.
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.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.