Loneliness, Mental Voices, and Relationship Advice

Being on summer break has been liberating, relaxing, and at times, a little lonely. So while I was browsing through some of my favorite psychology websites, some interesting articles on loneliness caught my attention. I discovered some pretty useful psychological studies on emotional isolation, and then eventually read some related articles on personal voices and relationships.

I was eager to share some of these discoveries, since I know there are tons of people out there who struggle with emotional isolation, relationships, and self-esteem. So here’s an outline of all the important details and advice I found:

  1. Shocking and Fatal Effects of Loneliness
    1. Loneliness can have a serious effect on our genes and cause epigenetic changes: According to Suomi, loneliness can alter gene expression, changing genes that regulate immune response, inflammation, and brain growth.
      1. The feeling of loneliness may have a major effect particularly on the prefrontal cortex, which restraints impulsive and inappropriate behavior. Thus, this might mean increased feelings of loneliness may increase the risk for diseases associated with faulty wiring of the prefrontal cortex, such as ADHD or schizophrenia.
      2. Since loneliness increases stress, prolonged loneliness and increased feelings of emotional isolation may cause chronic stress, which is known to disrupt the immune system.
    2. Loneliness may cause heart disease! According to Capioco’s study, loneliness increases vascular resistance, in which arteries narrow as tissues become inflamed, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood. This can wear out blood vessels, and if this prolongs, it can morph into heart disease
    3. “Emotional Isolation is ranked as a high risk factor for mortality is smoking.”
    4. Loneliness can interfere with our diurnal cycles and make it more difficult for us to sleep. Lonely individuals may even have micro-awakenings throughout the night (this might explain my mother’s occasional struggles with sleep!)

2. Five Positive Voices Inside Our Heads: the rational voice, the kind voice, the values voice, the motivator, and the Emotions Expert- https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/changepower/201506/how-5-voices-inside-you-can-make-your-day

3. What you should REALLY Look for in a Partner

If you want to have an ideal relationship, judge your partner’s ability rather than your partner’s emotions. It is important to consider how much your partner loves you, treats you, and behaves around you, but these are all based on your partner’s emotions. It is also important to judge, not only how your partner feels and behaves, but also their ability to feel and behave. Specifically, it is important to judge two important abilities:

  1. Self-control- can your partner delay gratification in order to fulfill important duties? Does he/she follow through with whatever goals he/she sets?
  2. Conscientiousness- Does your partner have good attention span? Are they easily distracted? Do they plan accordingly and stick to their plans?

Sources

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113176/science-loneliness-how-isolation-can-kill-you

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/changepower/201506/how-5-voices-inside-you-can-make-your-day

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-attraction-doctor/201106/how-pick-better-boyfriend-or-girlfriend

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