Loneliness

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robertk
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Loneliness

Post by robertk » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:39 am

https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl= ... pt0-783968



British government targets a modern public health scourge: Loneliness
By MELISSA HEALY
JAN 17, 2018 | 7:05 PM

British government targets a modern public health scourge: Loneliness
The United Kingdom has a new plan to fight loneliness. (Pavel Kriuchkov / iStockphoto)

The country that put the starch in "stiff upper lip" has made companionship, conversation and human contact a national priority.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the creation of a new ministerial portfolio in her Cabinet: combating loneliness.



With more than 9 million British adults reportedly experiencing chronic loneliness — and a stack of studies documenting the corrosive health effects of such social isolation — May said it was time that a high-level government official coordinate a "first-ever strategy" to address the scourge.

May named the minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, to the role, and called on Britain's Office for National Statistics to devise ways to better measure loneliness.
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The newly created "ministerial lead on loneliness" was a tribute to Jo Cox, a Labor Party lawmaker who was killed in June 2016 by a white supremacist. Addressing loneliness was a cause championed by Cox, who represented a district in West Yorkshire.

"For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life," May said in launching the new government effort. "I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers and by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with."

The government campaign makes the United Kingdom a pioneer in tackling a public health challenge that has emerged in an age of transient families, growing social diversity and crumbling political consensus. The Campaign to End Loneliness, a British philanthropy, says that more than half of Britons over 75 live alone. And about half a million older Britons can go a week without seeing or speaking to anyone.

Laura Alcock-Ferguson, executive director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, has called the condition an "epidemic" in Britain.

And the U.K. is not alone. In 2016, then-U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned that Americans are "facing an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation." A long-running survey called the Health and Retirement Study suggests that roughly 28% of older Americans feel chronically lonely.

The result of all this loneliness goes beyond widespread emotional distress. Research has shown that people who routinely feel lonely or cut off from friends and family are more likely to suffer high blood pressure, develop heart disease and be diagnosed with dementia. UCLA researchers have found that lonely people suffer higher levels of chronic inflammation, making them more vulnerable to a wide range of health conditions.

Compared with people who have strong social connections, those who acknowledge chronic feelings of loneliness are more likely to see their function decline as they age, and are 50% more likely to die prematurely.

As a risk factor for early mortality, loneliness's impact is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than that of obesity, according to a review by experts from Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Unsurprisingly, social isolation greatly increases the risk for depression and the poor self-care that typically accompanies it — a vicious cycle that makes loneliness a root cause of all manner of illness. Psychologists have identified another vicious cycle: Lonely people experience brain changes that make it more difficult to form new social connections. For instance, they're more likely to view others' faces as threatening, making it harder for them to bond with others.

University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo, who has studied loneliness and its effects for decades, said the British initiative "constitutes an important recognition for the significance of loneliness in people's life."

Developing effective treatments to reduce loneliness "will not be achieved easily," he warned. "Loneliness has been allowed to go unchecked for a significant period of time."

In recent years, programs have sprouted across the U.K. linking older Britons with schools, nurseries and young families. Efforts like these, and to address loneliness as a national public health issue, represent a reversal of the trend and provide "hope for the improvement of the quality of life for millions of people," Cacioppo said.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:00 am

Much the same here in Australia.

The number of single-person households is a giveaway:
The Census aims to count every dwelling in the country. A dwelling is ‘any structure which is intended to have people in it, and is habitable on Census night’. For 2016, we counted almost 10 million dwellings.

While separate houses still account for most homes in Australia (72%), there’s been a large increase in other forms of dwelling, such as flats, apartments, semi-detached, row housing or town housing, which now make up more than a quarter (26%) of Australian housing – all higher density residential development. Our castles are getting closer together.

Of the 8.3 million occupied private dwellings, seven in 10 housed families (69% by one family and 1.9% by multiple families), one in four were one-person households, and one in 25 were group households.

Family: A small word that describes so much

What does our data say about the evolution of the ‘traditional’ family unit in Australia? Family composition changed little between 2011 and 2016.

The 2016 Census counted more than six million families in Australia on Census night – up from over five million families in 2011. About 45% of these families were couples with children; 38% were couples without children; and 16% were single parent families. Of all single-parent families, female single parents make up 82%, and male single parents make up 18%.

Also, almost one in four Australians (24%) now live in single person households.
More: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/2024.0

:namaste:
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SarathW
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Re: Loneliness

Post by SarathW » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:55 am

Hi Kim
Is there a lonely people association?
Considering the development of communication it is hard to believe there are so many lonely people.
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Re: Loneliness

Post by DNS » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:02 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:55 am
Considering the development of communication it is hard to believe there are so many lonely people.
The website meetup.com is pretty cool in helping to unite people with common interests. You can lookup just about any interest from board games to meditation to sports, politics, book clubs, etc and there are scheduled group meetings to meet others with common interests. Many Dhamma groups have a meetup.com page to announce their meditation and Dhamma programs.

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robertk
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Re: Loneliness

Post by robertk » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:08 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:55 am

Considering the development of communication it is hard to believe there are so many lonely people.
Nicole: Do you live alone, Inspector?

Inspector Jacques Clouseau: Yes, I do.

Nicole: Do you ever get lonely?

Inspector Jacques Clouseau: No. Not since the Interne

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Re: Loneliness

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:14 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:00 am
Much the same here in Australia.
The number of single-person households is a giveaway:
It seems that more people are choosing to live alone. I don't see a direct correlation between living alone and loneliness.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:32 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:14 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:00 am
Much the same here in Australia.
The number of single-person households is a giveaway:
It seems that more people are choosing to live alone. I don't see a direct correlation between living alone and loneliness.
Not everyone who lives alone does so by choice.
Not everyone who lives alone will be lonely, but people living alone are more likely to be lonely.

:thinking:
Kim

Meezer77
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Meezer77 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:50 am

I've noticed when I go to Starbucks it's common to see young people sitting on their own with laptops. Maybe it's technology that's partly to blame for making us antisocial.

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Re: Loneliness

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:52 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:32 am
Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:14 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:00 am
Much the same here in Australia.
The number of single-person households is a giveaway:
It seems that more people are choosing to live alone. I don't see a direct correlation between living alone and loneliness.
Not everyone who lives alone does so by choice.
Not everyone who lives alone will be lonely, but people living alone are more likely to be lonely.

:thinking:
Kim
Sure, not everyone who lives alone has chosen that situation, and I suppose living alone makes you more vulnerable to the possibility of loneliness ( isolation? ), particularly as you get older. I've lived alone for some time and quite enjoy it - though I realise it wouldn't suit everyone.

I think this raises a number of questions from a Buddhist point of view. Can we be content with our present circumstances, and specifically the level of human contact we currently have? And can we give of our time if we know somebody who is feeling lonely or isolated?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Loneliness

Post by Justsit » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:40 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:55 am
Considering the development of communication it is hard to believe there are so many lonely people.
Communication isn't the same thing as social interaction, just as information isn't the same as knowledge.
Sitting alone day after day typing on a computer is hardly equivalent to a good hug and knowing someone cares about you.

Stronly agree that the rise in technology has contributed to isolation - texts, email, twitter, FB, etc., are now substitutes for face to face meetings and actual unfiltered dialogue. It has also given rise to an increase in "social anxiety," in which people are fearful of direct human contact. Children who "play" together by sitting with their devices in the same room don't develop good interpersonal skills, to their detriment later in life.

The figure quoted in another post re: single person households in Australia roughly correlates with US data - 25% here.

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Re: Loneliness

Post by binocular » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:11 pm

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:50 am
I've noticed when I go to Starbucks it's common to see young people sitting on their own with laptops. Maybe it's technology that's partly to blame for making us antisocial.
I think it's Thatcherism (and similar policies) that is a major contributor to people ending up lonely, because of the way that Thatcherism etc. cynically pits people against each other.

- - -
Justsit wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:40 pm
Stronly agree that the rise in technology has contributed to isolation - texts, email, twitter, FB, etc., are now substitutes for face to face meetings and actual unfiltered dialogue. It has also given rise to an increase in "social anxiety," in which people are fearful of direct human contact. Children who "play" together by sitting with their devices in the same room don't develop good interpersonal skills, to their detriment later in life.
I think it's because people are taught, from early on, that life is a rat race, and that man in wolf to a man, that people resort to what seem like safer modes of interaction with others, namely, via technology. True, the person on the other end can't hug you, but they also can't hit you, or at least you don't have to endure their contempt in a way that would really hurt.

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No_Mind
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Re: Loneliness

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:02 am

I refute the premise that people who are married are not lonely, that those who have four siblings are not lonely, that those who have lot of real life friends are not lonely.

Being alone is the natural state of a human being. In recent decades, it is this natural tendency that is becoming more and more visible.


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Re: Loneliness

Post by manas » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:01 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:02 am
I refute the premise that people who are married are not lonely, that those who have four siblings are not lonely, that those who have lot of real life friends are not lonely.

Being alone is the natural state of a human being. In recent decades, it is this natural tendency that is becoming more and more visible.


:namaste:
I thought that like the apes with whom we share so much DNA, humans are intrinsically social animals...to be content alone, is the exception, rather than the rule. But I do agree that, with traditional family structures being questioned and overturned - to some extent this can be a good thing, I mean, in olden days, many girls ended up living with their husband's extended family, mother-in-law hovering over them, can you imagine that kind of stress! - that we may actually be evolving in the social sense, to a more individualistic way if life.
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Re: Loneliness

Post by befriend » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:41 pm

there was a study done on a group of Italian Americans who lived in a tight knit community town they ate far worse foods than most average Americans but had an exemplary low percentage of heart disease way less than the average american. Eventually this town over decades grew less close knit as there houses got bigger because they made more money they stopped socializing as frequently meaning neighbors wouldn't pop in anymore and chit chat. The study showed there heart disease rate increased to the level of the average American when they became wealthier less sociable and isolated.
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Re: Loneliness

Post by JohnK » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:17 pm

A small challenge to us if anyone wants to particpate:
We have ideas and questions about causes and such, but what is loneliness? How do you know that what is happening in experience equals lonely?
(preferably using the dhamma to offer answers).
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:57 pm

JohnK wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:17 pm
A small challenge to us if anyone wants to particpate:
We have ideas and questions about causes and such, but what is loneliness? How do you know that what is happening in experience equals lonely?
(preferably using the dhamma to offer answers).
Hi, John,
I don't think the suttas will offer much on loneliness but you can always go to https://www.accesstoinsight.org/index.html and search, which I just did, and then read the linked results - which I didn't.

I suspect that "loneliness" is a relatively modern thing, a product of the loosening of family and community bonds which started with the Industrial Revolution, and wasn't common enough in the Buddha's world to need much attention.

:namaste:
Kim

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:42 pm



:namaste:
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http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

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Re: Loneliness

Post by JohnK » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:27 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:57 pm
...
I don't think the suttas will offer much on loneliness...
I suspect that "loneliness" is a relatively modern thing...
Thanks, Kim.
I wasn't thinking that the suttas would need to discuss loneliness specifically to help address the question of how we come to the conclusion that what we are experiencing is "loneliness," but that teachings in the suttas could be used to explore that question. This exploration could be in the abstract, or even more interesting I think, reflecting on actual experience.
For example, in the abstract, using the khandas, we perhaps have a bodily sensation and vedana that we perceive to be loneliness (but how? especially if it may be as you suggest a modern thing, so probably trickier than perceiving "anger"). Or, using DO, visual contact with an old photograph or a happy family causes an unpleasant feeling that we experience as loneliness. Do we recognize it as loneliness when we begin to recognize thoughts of loneliness? Or before that? So I was just wondering if anyone wanted to explore what I think is either an underlying aspect of the topic or maybe just plain off-topic!
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: Loneliness

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 am

MN 122: Maha-suññata Sutta — The Greater Discourse on Emptiness

Discovering that the bhikkhus are beginning to enjoy life in society, the Buddha emphasizes the need for isolation in order to remain in the void.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


:anjali:
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Kim OHara
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:06 am

Lucas Oliveira wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 am
MN 122: Maha-suññata Sutta — The Greater Discourse on Emptiness

Discovering that the bhikkhus are beginning to enjoy life in society, the Buddha emphasizes the need for isolation in order to remain in the void.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


:anjali:
Yes - absolutely. It has a lot to say about the benefits of being alone.
But being alone is not at all the same as loneliness. As this dictionary https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dicti ... ish/lonely says, "Someone who is lonely is unhappy because they are alone or do not have anyone they can talk to," and the unhappiness is central to loneliness.
The good monks in the sutta actually suffer the exact opposite of loneliness, since they suffer the unhappiness of being with (too many) people.

:namaste:
Kim

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