Episode 2: What is Loneliness?
Understanding loneliness was the first step in trying to figure out its solutions. So, hosts Judy D'Mello and Jeremy Warshaw pondered these questions: Is there a universally accepted definition for loneliness? Is loneliness an emotional or physical pain? Can you feel it in your mind, your body or both? What's the tipping point at which feeling a bit lonely turns into into a chronic condition? Can you measure loneliness neurologically? Can you identify where it occurs in the brain?
The duo decided they needed expert help and turned to Dr. Fay Bound Alberti, a cultural historian and the author of "The Biography of Loneliness," for her expertise and knowledge of this incredibly complex human emotion.
Dr. Alberti takes us on an enlightening journey, from the provenance of the word "loneliness," to the emergence of mind sciences, to Hollywood's version of loneliness, and to a future where we we might be able to pop a loneliness pill. She also speaks about her personal encounters with this often painful issue, and offers people who are not suffering from chronic loneliness, some practical advice. Her techniques include meditating, taking a warm bath, or doing something creative like doodling or writing -- all ways to re-engage the senses and re-gain that feeling of belonging in the world.
Editor: Christian Sawyer
Music: Seaplane Armada
Guest Photo and bio:
Dr. Fay Bound Alberti is a writer and cultural historian who works on medicine, health, the body and emotions. Her books include A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion (2019), This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture (2016) and Matters of the Heart: History, Medicine and Emotion (2010). Fay is Reader in History, co-Director for the Centre for Global Health Histories and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of York, U.K. where she is working on the history of face transplants. www.fayboundalberti.com
If you have stories of loneliness and social isolation, please share them with us. Drop us a line or pass this along to a friend.
And please do subscribe to "Is Anybody Out There?" wherever you download your podcasts.