Loneliness is everywhere in the world of psychology these days – the subject of so many studies, articles and talks that you sometimes wish the loneliness researchers would go away, so you could just get some damn time to yourself. Perhaps you knew that loneliness can be lethal: it’s linked to heart disease, insomnia and depression, and is a better predictor than obesity of an early death.
But the new spin on loneliness is that we ought to welcome it, in modest doses. “As long as we then do what we should do – reconnect with people – then loneliness is a good thing,” the German psychologist Maike Luhmann told the US website Vox. “This is a sign from our psychological systems that there’s something off.” It’s a “biological warning system” that evolved over millennia, alerting us to potentially dangerous levels of isolation. True, isolation isn’t so dangerous today: a friendless Londoner is less likely to starve, or be eaten, than a friendless prehistoric hunter-gatherer. But there’s a reason the pang of loneliness hurts so much.
Read the whole story: The Guardian