Welcome back, dear readers. In our previous discussions, we explored the loneliness epidemic in the United States, and its physical health implications. As we traverse the landscape of human connection, our focus now shifts to a more intimate terrain—the internal struggles that underpin loneliness and its impact on our mental health. It's crucial to understand that overcoming feelings of loneliness is not just about seeking external connections but also about bridging the inner gaps within ourselves.
One of my patients poignantly remarked that while the Surgeon General's report on the epidemic of loneliness addressed its external aspects, it overlooked the internal issues that prevent people from forming connections. Her insight is profound. Many, like her, struggle with childhood traumas and the internalization of a 'negating other'—often a parental figure whose critical voice continues to echo within, long into adulthood.
Our exploration into the loneliness epidemic began with the Surgeon General’s alarming depiction of its threat to societal health. As we delve further today, we focus on the tangible health consequences of loneliness, akin to the risks associated with daily smoking. The realm of human connection and its pivotal role in our health is one I have thoroughly examined, offering a deeper understanding, and some solace.
In the intricate dance of human experience, our physical health often mirrors the emotional contours of our lives. One such shape—loneliness—emerges not just as an emotional void but as a silent signal of numerous health risks. It is here, in the cavernous space of isolation, that we confront the consequences of disconnectedness—not just metaphorically, but in the very sinews of our being.
Loneliness is not a mere absence of company, but a deficit of meaningful connections—a malnourishment of the psyche that can manifest in the body. The...
The U.S. Surgeon General's warning in 2023 cast a spotlight on a silent epidemic sweeping across America—an epidemic of loneliness—likening its health impact to smoking daily. This critical issue underscores a significant public health priority, resonating with the core of human bonds and relationships. This is a realm that I have studied and nurtured for over two decades.
And this issue is not limited to the United States, it is being felt around the globe. Both Japan and the U.K. have formally appointed national Ministers of Loneliness to help their government more fully address the problem.
Loneliness and isolation gnaw at nearly half of the individuals in the United States, bringing grave health consequences akin to those of chronic diseases. Loneliness has been linked to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, but also to a myriad of physical health issues. Not only can it increase one’s risk of severe illness, it can also decrease...
The signs and symptoms of physical abuse are obvious and concrete, but the signs of emotional abuse are insidious and hidden to the eye. For this reason, many people underestimate the devastating and lasting effects of emotional abuse. In this article, we will explore the signs of emotional abuse and manipulation, the impact they can have on individuals, and how to protect yourself from these toxic behaviors.
To effectively combat emotional abuse and manipulation, it is crucial to understand the dynamics at play. Emotional abuse is about power and control. Remember, in a healthy relationship, both people have the capacity to respect multiple subjectivities. That means that both people understand that each individual has their own set of feelings, perceptions, needs and desires that are worthy of respect and consideration, and that they are bound to differ. Both people work to respect the subjectivity of one another.
Spring is a time of regeneration, and new beginnings. Research shows that happiness and health are profoundly linked to relational wellness—the depth and quality of your human connections. If you are ready to rejuvenate your relationship life this year, your relationship to yourself is like the soil in which you will plant all of your connective seeds.
Self-love has become a popular, yet highly misunderstood idea. Some fear self-love is self-indulgence, selfishness, or narcissism. In my work as a psychoanalyst, I help people leverage the power of their inner world and unconscious mind to achieve integration and agency. From this point of view, self-love creates personal balance, and is the essential foundation of emotional health and well-being, which deeply protects and enriches our ability to care for others. Self-love is less about spa days, good sleep, or exercise, and more about the vital relationship we have with our own inner world.
This kind of emotional...
A certain level of anxiety is normal, but here's how to calm down when it gets overwhelming.
Anxiety is a normal part of life, as well as a highly normal part of dating.
“Narcissism” is a term that gets thrown around too often, in my opinion. In popular culture, the term has come to be loosely equated with grandiosity, entitlement, self centeredness and a lack of consideration for others. This is not untrue.
However, this is an oversimplification of narcissism that leads to a lot of people mis-diagnosing friends, co-workers, bosses and mates.
First, let’s talk about the ways that the term narcissism can be used. Perhaps the world’s specialist in narcissism was Dr. Heinz Kohut. His contribution to the field is immeasurable; he described that every human being has a “narcissistic line of development,” and that we need to feel understood to develop a healthy, stable sense of self esteem.
In other words, narcissism is a healthy part of everyone that needs to be in proper balance; problems occur when one’s sense of self is simply unformed (psychotic or borderline personality),...
It doesn't have to stress you out.
Why is writing an online dating profile so difficult and anxiety inducing?
This necessary first step in the dating dance often feels loaded because you are painting the first impression that any potential love interest will see.
You are essentially saying, “Hey, stranger, please judge me! (And, um, please judge that I’m good for you!)”
And knowing how to overcome anxiety in order to write an effective dating profile for apps like Tinder, Bumble or Hinge is, like it or not, something you need to do if you want to find true love....
Are you anxious in your approach to love?
About 25% of the population approaches bonding with what scientists refer to as an anxious attachment style.
In the article What Is Anxious Attachment Style & How Can It Affect A Relationship, I walked you through an understanding of how this particular attachment style lends itself to predictable obstacles. Understanding who you are and what you need in any relationship is enormously empowering.
Let’s take this a step further and examine what to do about it when you’re dating!
If you know you are anxiously attached (not sure, take my Love Thyself course and I’ll walk you through all of that and much more!), you have a relatively hard time trusting, feeling safe, secure and loved.
Nonetheless, your ability and need to have a secure relationship can and should be met.
To get there, here are your basic rules of the road:
Attachment Theory is the scientific map of how we bond with others to increase our chances of survival! As mammals, we quite literally depend on emotional bonds with others to survive. Scientific studies have continued to underscore that the warmth and quality of our connections is the number one factor predictive of quality of life, longevity, and is even a huge factor in financial stability.
Scientists divide the styles that people adopt to bond into roughly 4 categories. About 50% of the population had a development such that they bond in a “secure style.” The other 50% of the population develop attachment styles such as avoidant, anxious or disorganized.
An anxious attachment style describes a person who finds it very difficult to rest in feelings of safety and security. Wondering if this is you?
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