Brett.Ullman

Category - Loneliness

The Cure for Loneliness

Really great article here with solutions to the problem of Loneliness.

Improving social skills. Some researchers argue that loneliness is primarily the result of lacking of the interpersonal skills required to create and maintain relationships. Typically, these interventions involve teaching people how to be less socially awkward – to engage in conversation, speak on the phone, give and take compliments, grow comfortable with periods of silence, and communicate in positive ways non-verbally.

Enhancing social support. Many lonely people are victims of changing circumstances. These approaches offer professional help and counseling for the bereaved, elderly people who have been relocated, and children of divorce.

Increasing opportunities for social interaction. With this approach, the logic is simple: If people are lonely, give them opportunities to meet other people. This type of intervention, therefore, focuses on creating such opportunities through organized group activities.

Changing maladaptive thinking. This approach might seem surprising, and its rationale less obvious than the other approaches. But recent research reveals that over time, chronic loneliness makes us increasingly sensitive to, and on the lookout for, rejection and hostility. In ambiguous social situations, lonely people immediately think the worst. For instance, if coworker Bob seems more quiet and distant than usual lately, a lonely person is likely to assume that he’s done something to offend Bob, or that Bob is intentionally giving him the cold shoulder.


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The Loneliness Epidemic

Another great article to add more conversation on loneliness. This article on on Today’s Christian Woman’s website. You mighty need to get an account to read it for free.

Although loneliness is something the vast majority of people wrestle with, hardly anyone wants to openly address it, says John Ortberg, a Christian author, and pastor of the multi-site Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in the San Francisco Bay Area. “People will readily acknowledge being too busy because that makes them sound important,” he says. “But to say ‘I’m lonely’ is kind of like saying ‘I’m a loser,’ and nobody’s going to like a loser.”

Ortberg himself admits to having struggled with a deep, secret loneliness in his earlier years as a pastor. “It’s easy to hide and project an image, and pastoral ministry can sometimes actually reinforce that tendency and reward it if it’s done well,” he says. “What that leaves starved is the desire inside the soul to be fully known. And I can only be fully loved if somebody fully knows me. The degree to which I’ve felt unknown and unloved is the degree to which I have felt lonely.”

The holidays in particular can increase this sense of shame, Kinder says. “There’s so much stress and pressure about what we think Christmas should look like. Whether we’re part of the perfect Hallmark family, or have lots of gifts under the tree, or take the perfect vacation. We believe we’re not okay if we’re not having the experiences everyone else seems to be having.”

Ortberg believes one of the most effective cures for the drain that comes from a hurried, frantic pace in this technological age is to set aside regular periods of time to spend in solitude—an idea that, at first blush, people struggling with loneliness might fear will exacerbate their feeling of isolation.
“Ironically, one of the things you discover in solitude is that you’re not alone,” Ortberg asserts. “A big difference between Jesus and most folks in our day is Jesus was often alone but never lonely. We are often lonely but hardly ever truly alone.

“A lot of people wonder what they’re supposed to do in a period of solitude,” he continues. “The main point isn’t what to do, but what not to do. We don’t hurry or try to produce. Our bodies and minds realize we still have worth as human beings when we’re not doing anything, and we realize that God and the world get along okay without our striving. We begin to realize how much of our ‘to-do’ list is about our ego more than anything else. Eventually, our souls begin to rest, and we discover we’d rather live this way. Instead of obligation, solitude becomes a lifeline.”

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10 reasons people are lonely? It’s more complicated than that

I am going to be posting a number of articles on Loneliness. So much great conversation here.

The problem I think is that we’re all a bit scared of loneliness – of being alone. Of being left. Of not being loved. Or needed. Or cared about. “Lonely” hits a spot of fear in all of us even if we don’t acknowledge it. So a year ago, I set out to find people who were brave enough to admit and talk about how lonely they were. But I wanted to find people whose stories offered hope – either because they’d found a way of dealing with loneliness or because they had something in their lives that, even in a small way, alleviated their loneliness.

For the entire article click here.

Suicides Have Increased. Is This an Existential Crisis?

Really good read from the NY Times.

As a behavioral scientist who studies basic psychological needs, including the need for meaning, I am convinced that our nation’s suicide crisis is in part a crisis of meaninglessness. Fully addressing it will require an understanding of how recent changes in American society — changes in the direction of greater detachment and a weaker sense of belonging — are increasing the risk of existential despair.

All of which brings us to the changing social landscape of America. To bemoan the decline of neighborliness, the shrinking of the family and the diminishing role of religion may sound like the complaining of a crotchety old man. Yet from the standpoint of psychological science, these changes, regardless of what you otherwise think about them, pose serious threats to a life of meaning.

We are less and less connected with each other. This is such a big topic with so many different factors contributing to why people might take their life. I found this article has some good points. What are your thoughts?

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How the smartphone affected an entire generation of kids

As I continue my research into loneliness I find more and more articles talking about social media. We need to make sure we don’t have a knee-jerk reaction and just say all social media is bad. This article has a very balanced perspective.

However, that changed a few years ago, when I started to notice big shifts in teens’ behavior and attitudes in the yearly surveys of 11 million young people that I analyze for my research. Around 2010, teens started to spend their time much differently from the generations that preceded them. Then, around 2012, sudden shifts in their psychological well-being began to appear. Together, these changes pointed to a generational cutoff around 1995, which meant that the kids of this new, post-millennial generation were already in college.

These teens and young adults all have one thing in common: Their childhood or adolescence coincided with the rise of the smartphone.

Of course, correlation doesn’t prove causation: Maybe unhappy people use screen devices more.

To be clear, moderate smartphone and social media use – up to an hour a day – is not linked to mental health issues. However, most teens (and adults) are on their phones much more than that.

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Have you ever wondering how checking your phone every 5 minutes, every day for 4-5 years might affect you physiologically?

Love to hear your thought on this.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

In my Loneliness research, the conversation on how Social Media might be affecting a new generation keeps coming up. Here is a great yet scary article. Just because we like social media does not mean it is good for us. Love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

The experiences they have every day are radically different from those of the generation that came of age just a few years before them.

Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

But the allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens, who are less likely to leave the house without their parents. The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.

One line in the article stopped me.

So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed.

I feel like I could have just pasted the entire article. Just a taste above.
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