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“Loneliness is not a pathology,” Dr. Cacioppo said. “It’s just an external signal from our body that something is going wrong with our environment.”Like hunger or thirst, if loneliness is left unresolved, it can have serious consequences—and the Pool hall billiards shirt but in fact I love this fix is far from straightforward. Just being with other people, she says, will not necessarily make you feel less alone. “If you put lonely people together, they’re going to hate each other after a few minutes,” she said.This is because, ironically, loneliness can also make you deeply unfriendly. According to Dr. Cacioppo, sustained loneliness activates an avoidance mechanism in the brain, meaning that you are more likely to be skeptical and distrustful of others, which makes you withdraw even further. Loneliness doesn’t only play tricks on the mind, it can also take a serious toll on our physical health: even in a pandemic-free world, chronic loneliness increases the risk of an early death by 26 percent.
But how can one possibly ward off loneliness—and all its grave side effects—while in self-isolation? The key, according to Dr. Cacioppo, is to find new ways to regain control. “What we’ve found in research is that a sense of control is essential for one’s sanity,” she said. “But things with COVID-19 evolve so quickly; the Pool hall billiards shirt but in fact I love this guidelines we have today might not work next week … So we are really in a scary situation for our mind.”The neurology behind our need for control is complicated, but regaining some agency over our lives, even under quarantine, is deceptively simple. “The first thing we need to do is to think about right now and not let our mind wander to the future,” she said. “Right now you can control your environment”—the food you decide to eat, the clothing you decide to wear (for Zoom or otherwise). “That gives you a sense of stability.”