Feeling a little lonely? Join the club. We talk about the discomfort and stigma of loneliness, and the negative impacts it has on our well-being. We explore why social isolation has become more common (even as we’ve gotten more “plugged in”), and how we can connect with each other in more meaningful ways.

This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Lonely — the experience and stigma of that feeling, and the negative impacts it has on our well-being. We explore some of the reasons more of us are feeling lonely these days, and how we can get out of the vicious cycles that keep us more isolated that we’d like.

We also suggest some experiments that help you create more time, space and energy for social connections that support your own health and happiness.

“Lonely” Episode Highlights

  • What is loneliness? Why do we get lonely? Dallas and Pilar share their thoughts (1:30)
  • How loneliness affects our lives and overall health (6:35)
  • Skin hunger (10:55)
  • Using television as a social crutch (13:30)
  • Recognizing loneliness and social withdrawal as a societal issue (15:00)
  • Untangling the knot of loneliness (20:25)
  • Social feeds as digital junk food — calories but no nutrients (24:30)
  • Why face-to-face contact matters (35:50)
  • Building the skills of assessing and alleviating your own loneliness (39:50)
  • Experiments for the week (50:30)

In the places in your house where you have the most opportunity to interact with the people you live with, make your phone invisible. Put it on silence and hide it in another room. Notice how often you find yourself unconsciously reaching for it, and the excuses that arise for going for your phone rather than taking advantage of in-person social connection opportunities.

Look at your schedule for the week, and try to find three 15-minute windows for interacting with people you like. Eliminate those that involve work. Notice whether committing to the interactions makes you feel a sense of euphoria or dread.

Share the Love!

Each week, we offer you a few life-shifting experiments to try on your own. We’d love to hear how they turn out, and what insights they provoke! Connect with The Living Experiment on Facebook and share your stories with us there.