Insights Into Teens: Episode 146 ”Loneliness and Social Isolation”

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ar3pm-121551a

For many teens their social world is everything to them.  Who they hang out with, the kids they relate to, and the extracurricular activities they participate in all help the teenager to define a sense of self. 

Loneliness and social isolation are real issues for teens even without having to live through a pandemic. But add the required isolation associated with a pandemic on top of the normal sense of loneliness teens can feel and it quickly becomes overwhelming. 

In today’s episode of Insights Into Teens we’re going to take a look at what causes loneliness and social isolation, the physical and mental health impacts on our teens and techniques to help combat these issues.

Show Notes

[INTRO THEME]
[INTRODUCTIONS]
Insights Into Teens: Episode 146 “Loneliness and Social Isolation”
My refreshed and energized co-host Madison Whalen

Summary
For many teens their social world is everything to them.
Who they hang out with, the kids they relate to, and the extracurricular activities they participate in all help the teenager to define a sense of self.
Loneliness and social isolation are real issues for teens even without having to live through a pandemic.
But add the required isolation associated with a pandemic on top of the normal sense of loneliness teens can feel and it quickly becomes overwhelming.
In today’s episode of Insights Into Teens we’re going to take a look at what causes loneliness and social isolation, the physical and mental health impacts on our teens and techniques to help combat these issues.

[SHOW PLUGS]

But first I’d like to invite the listening and viewing audience to subscribe to the podcast. You can find audio versions listed under Insights Into Teens, you can also find video and audio versions listed under Insights Into Things. We can be found under most podcast providers including:
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[TRANSITION]

[SEGMENT 1]

https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/health-wellness/chronic-loneliness
https://bit.ly/3xnWtmE

While their social world is important to many teens, not all teens are outgoing and social by nature.
Some might be more introverted and some may have low self-confidence.
Some adolescents suffer from social anxiety, which can keep them trapped in isolation due to the irrational fear of being ridiculed or harshly judged while in a public setting.

When a teenager struggles socially, it can result in feelings of profound loneliness.
As a result, they may become depressed, which can then cause a cascade of other symptoms that only add to their suffering.
By understanding more about the causes of teenage loneliness parents can take steps to help their child overcome obstacles and improve social functioning.

What is loneliness and social isolation?

Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact.

Social isolation is a lack of social connections.
Social isolation can lead to loneliness in some people, while others can feel lonely without being socially isolated.

Short-term bouts of loneliness can occur to many people at some point in their lives.

These types of feelings are typically brief and not considered chronic.
However, when feelings of loneliness and isolation worsen and continue long-term, there may be more serious signs and symptoms to be aware of and steps you can take to help deal with chronic loneliness.

Chronic loneliness occurs when feelings of loneliness and uncomfortable social isolation go on for a long period of time.

It’s characterized by constant and unrelenting feelings of being alone, separated or divided from others, and an inability to connect on a deeper level.
It can also be accompanied by deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy, poor self-esteem, and self-loathing.

Ongoing loneliness can afflict even the most seemingly outgoing person.

Being the “life of the party” doesn’t necessarily exclude someone from being chronically lonely.
This type of chronic, or long-term loneliness, can eventually impact all areas of your life.

What Causes Teen Loneliness?
Moodiness is a given in teens for a variety of understandable reasons.
These mood swings can often results in feelings of loneliness
Some teens, however, may like holing up in their rooms.
These adolescents may be loners, preferring time alone to spending their spare time with peers.
Some teens are more studious and tend to gravitate toward solitude where they will not be distracted from their work.
Others may have solitary hobbies, such as creating art or writing, which results in reduced social time.

When a teen exhibits a distinct shift in their personality, going from a friendly, social person to being withdrawn and isolated, it is cause for concern.
There are a variety of factors that might contribute to teenage loneliness including:

Social media:
With more social time spent interacting through phone apps, the result is a more superficial connection with others.
The less you are connected with human beings in a deep, empathic way, the less you’re really getting the benefits of social interaction.

Being bullied:
Teens that are the target of bullies may naturally tend to avoid re-experiencing these distressing situations at school functions.
Bullying and social shaming can also be played out on social media, further marginalizing the teen.

Relationship problems:
They may be socially awkward, lacking the skills to interact with peers.
They may have issues with conflict resolution or anger management that results in other teens avoiding them, leaving them with few friends.
Low self-esteem or lack of confidence can contribute to problems relating to others.

Depression:
Teens that suffer from depression will tend to withdraw socially. As the teen succumbs to depression, they may sleep more, self-isolate, and experience more fatigue.

Social anxiety:
Some teens struggle with intense feelings of fear and dread around being criticized by their peers.
This anxiety will often result in isolating behaviors.
The teen wants to see their friends but cannot bear the thought of possibly being the object of ridicule, so they just stay home.

Body image issues:
Some teens may experience body dysmorphia, or the irrational criticism of their body shape or appearance. The teen may have an exaggerated view of their perceived imperfections or flaws, which can result in isolating behaviors.

[AD1: SSE]

[SEGMENT 2]

Signs and Symptoms

Chronic loneliness symptoms and signs can differ depending on who you are and your situation.

If you consistently feel some or all of the following, you may be dealing with chronic loneliness:

Inability to connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level.

Maybe you have friends and family in your life, but engagement with them is at a very surface level.
Your interaction doesn’t feel connected in a way that is fulfilling and this disconnection seems never ending.

No close or “best” friends.

You have friends, but they are casual friends or acquaintances and you feel you can find no one who truly “gets” you.

An overwhelming feeling of isolation regardless of where you are and who’s around.

You can be at a party surrounded by dozens of people and, yet, you feel isolated, separate, and disengaged.
At work, you may feel alienated and alone.
Same on a bus, train, or walking down a busy street.
It’s as if you’re in your own unbreakable bubble.

Negative feelings of self-doubt and self-worth.

Does it feel like you are always less than enough?
These feelings–long-term–are another possible symptom of chronic loneliness.

When you try to connect or reach out, it’s not reciprocated, and you’re not seen or heard.

Exhaustion and burnout when trying to engage socially.

If you’re dealing with chronic loneliness, trying to engage and be social with others can leave you feeling exhausted.
Continued feelings of being drained can lead to other issues like sleep problems, a weakened immune system, poor diet, and more.

How loneliness affects mental health

Long-term feelings of loneliness can affect your health in many ways.

For example, chronic loneliness can drive up cortisol levels in the body.
Cortisol is a hormone that your body creates when under stress.
Over time, higher cortisol levels can lead to inflammation, excess weight gain, insulin resistance, problems concentrating, and more.

If left unchecked, these chronic loneliness symptoms can put you at greater risk for more serious medical and emotional problems, including:

Depression
Sleep Disorders
Type 2 diabetes
Heart disease
High blood pressure
Mental health and emotional problems
Substance use

There is even the possibility that chronic loneliness and the health risks that come with it, could shorten one’s lifespan.

If you think you are suffering with long-term feelings of loneliness, talk to your doctor or a therapist.

What it does to your brain

Research shows that chronic loneliness can have a significant impact on your overall health, including your brain health.

Some studies even suggest that there may be a link between loneliness and an increased risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Long term feelings of loneliness and social isolation can also reduce cognitive skills, such as the ability to concentrate, make decisions, problem-solve, and even change negative self-beliefs. And it can ultimately lead to depression.

[AD2: ENTERTAINMENT]

[SEGMENT 3]

Who’s most at risk?

Chronic, or long-term, loneliness can afflict all types of people.

It’s easy to assume that someone who’s naturally shy and introverted might be most at risk, but outgoing, Type A personalities can also suffer from chronic loneliness, even though they may appear to be the life of the party.
This type of loneliness is not exclusive to any one personality type.

For some people chronic loneliness may become a side effect of a medical or emotional problem, including those dealing with the following issues:

Substance use
Depression and bipolar disorder
Serious illness or disease
Some mild forms of autism, such as Asperger’s syndrome.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Sexual orientation issues

All of these issues could also lead to long-term feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Make sure your doctor, therapist, or other medical provider knows how you’re feeling emotionally.

Tips for dealing with loneliness

If you are dealing with feelings of loneliness that just don’t go away, consider these tips:

Talk to your doctor, a therapist, or another health care professional.

Chronic loneliness isn’t limited to feelings of social isolation and alienation from others.
It is often tied to ongoing and deeply rooted negative beliefs about yourself that can eventually lead to other medical and emotional problems.
Let someone know what’s going on.

Engage with other people in a positive, healthy way.

Even though it may be difficult, try making the effort to connect with others.
Volunteering, hobby clubs, workout groups, and other opportunities, can help boost self-esteem and provide a safe and satisfying way to connect with others.

Get some exercise and sunlight.

Getting active and out in the sunshine can help elevate endorphins and serotonin.
These “brain hormones” can boost mood, help improve sleep, and make people feel happier.

Find a support group, especially if chronic loneliness is a side effect of some other issue you might be dealing with, such as substance use, loss of a loved one, loneliness from a divorce or break up, a chronic and isolating illness, etc.

Receiving support and encouragement from others who may share similar feelings, could help ease symptoms of chronic loneliness.

If you are dealing with long term loneliness, the kind that doesn’t go away, talk to your doctor or another health care provider so they can help.

Chronic loneliness is not just about feeling alone; if left unchecked it can put you at risk for serious physical and emotional issues.

[TRANSITION]

[CLOSE]

Closing thoughts shoutouts

[OUTRO AND CREDITS]

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Transcription

00:00:01:15 – 00:00:41:07
Michelle
Insightful podcasts by informative host for insights into things, a podcast network Welcome to Insights into Teens. A podcast series exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison Wayland, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of.

00:00:41:07 – 00:00:42:18
Michelle
The teenage years.

00:00:51:07 – 00:01:06:24
Joseph
Welcome to Insights in the Teens. This is episode one 46 Loneliness and Social Isolation. I’m your host, Joseph Wayland. And my refreshed and energized co-host, Madison Wayland.

00:01:07:01 – 00:01:07:22
Madison
Hi, everyone.

00:01:07:27 – 00:01:09:01
Joseph
How are you doing today, Matty?

00:01:09:18 – 00:01:10:27
Madison
I’m all right. How about you?

00:01:11:09 – 00:01:42:19
Joseph
Doing okay. So we are back from an unintentional extended hiatus. We’ll call it our spring break because spring break actually happened during our hiatus. So you had gotten sick? Just a cold. Nothing serious. And then you had probably gotten me sick, so that killed two episodes. And then I was down for two weeks or so. Then you were on vacation for spring break.

00:01:43:03 – 00:01:50:24
Joseph
So we didn’t do anything then. And now we’re back, and we’re getting back into the swing of things. So we had four weeks off, I think.

00:01:51:12 – 00:01:52:07
Madison
I don’t remember.

00:01:52:13 – 00:01:57:22
Joseph
That was quite some time. So you should be very refreshed and energized at this point.

00:01:58:04 – 00:01:58:14
Madison
Yeah.

00:01:59:11 – 00:02:02:11
Joseph
Anything exciting going on this week at school or anything?

00:02:03:23 – 00:02:05:19
Madison
Take your kid to work days tomorrow.

00:02:06:00 – 00:02:09:14
Joseph
That’s always exciting. Who you going to work with?

00:02:11:12 – 00:02:12:18
Madison
No one?

00:02:12:19 – 00:02:23:17
Joseph
No. Okay. Not that exciting. Then you did have your band banquet yesterday. Now that go pretty good. I mean, exciting. Come out of that.

00:02:24:23 – 00:02:27:08
Madison
I got a bunch of pastries that I brought home.

00:02:28:06 – 00:02:57:19
Joseph
Got to love the pastries. Anyway, that’s not what we’re talking about today. So for teens, for many teens, their social world is everything to them. Who they hang out with, the kids they relate to, and the extracurricular activities they participate in. All help the teenager to define a sense of self. Loneliness and social isolation are real issues for teens, even without having to live through a pandemic.

00:02:58:14 – 00:03:24:17
Joseph
But add to the required isolation associated with a pandemic on top of the normal sense of loneliness teens can feel and it quickly becomes overwhelming In today’s episode of Insights into Teens, we’re going to take a look at what causes loneliness. And in social isolation, the physical and mental health impacts on our teens and techniques to help combat these issues.

00:03:25:05 – 00:03:52:13
Joseph
But first, I would like to invite you are viewing and listening audience to subscribe to the podcast. You can find audio versions of all of our podcasts listed as insights into teens You can also find video and audio versions listed as insights in the things we can be found on. Most podcast providers, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and Tune In.

00:03:53:18 – 00:04:18:02
Joseph
I’d also like to invite you to give us your feedback. Tell us how we’re doing Give us your show suggestions. You can email us at comments and insights into things dot com. You can messages on Twitter at Insights underscore things. It’s also worth noting that as of this broadcast, we do send our live stream out on our Twitter feed as well.

00:04:18:02 – 00:04:42:09
Joseph
Now, too, as well as all the other feeds that we send out. So you can watch us live on Twitter now. You can also get us on Facebook at Facebook dot com slash insights into Things podcast. We’re on Instagram and Instagram accounts slash insights into things or as always, you can get links to all those and more on our official website and insights into things dot com.

00:04:42:09 – 00:04:44:23
Joseph
Ready to get into it. Yep. Here we go.

00:04:50:29 – 00:05:20:11
Joseph
So the research you did for this episode came from SIG, the dot com and wow, their social world is important to many teens. Not all teens are outgoing and social by nature. Some might be more introverted and some may have low self-esteem. Some adolescents suffer from social anxiety, which can keep them trapped in isolation due to the irrational fear of being ridiculed or harshly judged while in a public setting.

00:05:21:15 – 00:05:52:10
Joseph
When a teenager struggles socially, it can result in feelings of profound loneliness. As a result, they may become depressed, which can then cause a cascade of other symptoms that only add to their suffering by understanding more about the causes of teenage loneliness. Parents can take steps to help their child overcome obstacles and improve social functioning. So what is loneliness and social isolation?

00:05:52:27 – 00:06:20:17
Madison
So loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact. Social isolation is a lack of social connections. Social isolation can lead to loneliness in some people, while others can feel lonely without being socially isolated. Short term bouts of loneliness can occur to many people at some point in their lives. These types of feelings are typically brief and not considered chronic.

00:06:21:04 – 00:06:53:07
Madison
However, when feelings of loneliness and isolation worsen and continue long term, there may be more serious signs and symptoms be aware of and and steps you can take to help deal with chronic loneliness, chronic loneliness occurs when feelings of loneliness and uncomfortable social isolation go on for a long period of time. It’s categorized by constant and unrelenting feelings of being alone, separated or divided from others, and an inability to connect on a deeper level.

00:06:53:25 – 00:07:21:27
Madison
It can also be a mandated by deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy, poor self-esteem and self-loathing. Ongoing loneliness can afflict even the most seemingly outgoing person. Being the life of the party doesn’t necessarily include someone from exclude someone from being chronically lonely. This type of chronic or long term loneliness can eventually impact all areas of your life.

00:07:22:29 – 00:07:25:28
Joseph
So have you experienced loneliness in your life?

00:07:26:23 – 00:07:28:05
Madison
I’d say I have, yeah.

00:07:28:23 – 00:07:47:07
Joseph
And is that something that obviously during the pandemic it’s kind of hard to avoid that Obviously, social isolation is something that’s kind of been forced on us at this point in time. Was the loneliness the result of the pandemic or was it under different circumstances?

00:07:47:28 – 00:08:13:18
Madison
I mean, I kind of felt lonely before the pandemic when I realized a lot of my friends were either moving away or I’d get in fights with some of them. So I felt lonely before then. And at the start of the pandemic, I really didn’t feel all that lonely because I’m not really an introvert. And it wasn’t as hard on me until it started going on for over a year.

00:08:13:18 – 00:08:27:19
Madison
At this point, Over multiple years. And it started finally hitting me that I really didn’t get to interact with people due to the pandemic. And I kind of was held back from it.

00:08:28:03 – 00:08:48:03
Joseph
So it sounds like the root cause of the loneliness you’ve described has been having a social setting and then having elements of that social setting removed without your control. Is that a fair assessment? Probably So do you consider yourself a social person?

00:08:50:24 – 00:09:02:02
Madison
With certain people? Yes. Are there people? Not really. Most like if you’re a complete stranger? Probably not. If you’re someone I’ve already gotten to know. And yeah.

00:09:02:09 – 00:09:08:13
Joseph
So what is a factor that that plays into whether or not you get to know someone.

00:09:09:07 – 00:09:09:21
Madison
Um.

00:09:10:11 – 00:09:10:17
Joseph
Hmm.

00:09:12:00 – 00:09:32:00
Madison
I guess a lot of it depends if I can relate to that person or if the person comes up and talks to me or if I feel that I kind of want to talk to this person because I see that they’re interested in something I’m interested in. And there’s a few factors that really determines if I really decide to get to know someone.

00:09:32:18 – 00:09:43:06
Joseph
Are you typically the type of person who would initiate that contact, or are you introverted to the point that someone else has to initiate that contact before you reciprocate?

00:09:44:11 – 00:09:56:01
Madison
Most of the time, people normally wouldn’t. Would other people would initiate it, while sometimes I would initiate it if I felt like it.

00:09:56:03 – 00:10:06:11
Joseph
Okay. Now, is your hesitation a matter of trust in the other person, or is it a matter of comfort in expressing yourself openly like that?

00:10:07:20 – 00:10:13:01
Madison
Probably more of the second, but I can definitely see the trust also being a factor.

00:10:13:09 – 00:10:32:04
Joseph
Yeah, because I mean, anytime that you have to to approach someone that you’re not already familiar with or comfortable with, you have to kind of open yourself up a little bit. And that can be very scary and very uncomfortable for people. Or do you consider yourself lonely at the moment?

00:10:33:18 – 00:10:42:06
Madison
I mean, not really. I have people that I talk to on a daily basis, so maybe not.

00:10:42:12 – 00:11:04:15
Joseph
So what do you what do you think for you at least? And it doesn’t have to mean it’s a solution for everyone, but for you, what solves that loneliness? Is it finding new friends? Is it reconnecting with existing friends? Or is it just a social environment or is it talking on the phone? What is it that solves that loneliness feeling for you?

00:11:05:02 – 00:11:10:27
Madison
I guess it would be just talking to the people I know right now, forming stronger bonds and such.

00:11:11:04 – 00:11:39:18
Joseph
Okay, so there are other things. There’s a lot of things that can cause loneliness so what are some of the things that can cause teen loneliness moodiness? Is it given in teens for a variety of understandable reasons, these mood swings can often result in feelings of loneliness. Some teens, however, may like holding up in their rooms. These adolescents may be loners preferring time alone to spending their spare time with peers.

00:11:40:18 – 00:12:12:09
Joseph
Some teens are more studious and tend to gravitate towards solitude where they won’t be distracted from their work. Others may have solitary hobbies, such as creating art or writing, which results in reduced social time. Let me ask you that. You’re an artist. You write you. You produce movies, you draw. Does your hobbies do your hobbies contribute to that chance of loneliness, or are they a factor in it at all?

00:12:12:26 – 00:12:34:12
Madison
I mean, like, I found that I in certain ways I’ve been able to use my art in social scenarios in order to relate to other people. But taking the time to do it for the most part, I don’t really do it in front of people or with people, and I kind of do it in my spare time. So maybe it could be a benefactor of loneliness.

00:12:34:12 – 00:12:41:08
Madison
But I’ve also been able to connect with people with art. So kind of midway streak.

00:12:41:20 – 00:12:53:23
Joseph
So your art has been a way for you to kind of, I guess, break the ice, you know, express yourself to other people. Yeah, but you don’t do art in a social environment.

00:12:53:29 – 00:12:54:08
Madison
Yeah.

00:12:54:23 – 00:13:25:18
Joseph
I gotcha. That makes sense. When a teen exhibits a distinct shift in their personality, going from a friendly social person to being withdrawn and isolated It’s a cause for concern. There are a variety of factors that might contribute to teenage loneliness, including social media. Ironically enough, by definition, you think it wouldn’t. But with more social time spent interacting through phone apps, the result is a more superficial connection with others.

00:13:26:29 – 00:13:35:29
Joseph
The less you’re connected with human beings in a deep, empathic way, the less you’re really getting the benefits of social interaction. What else do we have?

00:13:36:08 – 00:14:11:03
Madison
There’s also being bullied teens that are the target of bullies may naturally tend to avoid expressing these distressing situations. At school functions. Bullying and social shaming can also be played out on social media, further marginalizing the teen There’s also relationship problems. They may be socially awkward, lacking the skills to connect with peers. They may have issues with conflict resolution or anger management that results in other teens, avoiding them, leaving them with with few friends.

00:14:11:18 – 00:14:16:09
Madison
Low self-esteem or lack of confidence can contribute to problems relating to others.

00:14:16:23 – 00:14:45:18
Joseph
And depression, which any of those things can certainly lead to. Teens that suffer from depression or tend to withdraw socially. As the teen succumbs to depression, they may sleep more self isolate and experience more fatigue, social anxiety You know, these are a lot of a lot of these things are things that we’ve talked about on the podcast. Some teens struggle with intense feelings of fear and dread around being criticized by their peers.

00:14:46:16 – 00:15:19:05
Joseph
This anxiety will often result in isolating behaviors. The teen wants to see their friends but cannot bear the thought of possibly being the object of ridicule. So they just stay home. And the last one they talk about here is body image issues. Some teens may experience body dysmorphia or the irrational criticism of their body shape or appearance. The teen may have an exaggerated view of their perceived imperfect genes or flaws which can result in isolating behaviors.

00:15:19:18 – 00:15:33:07
Joseph
So we have a fairly extensive list of possible causes here Do any of these or have any of these, do you think played a factor in the loneliness that you’ve experienced in the past?

00:15:34:04 – 00:15:41:14
Madison
Some of them do social media. Not really, because I don’t really use social media for units.

00:15:42:02 – 00:15:43:12
Joseph
It’s a cesspool.

00:15:45:01 – 00:15:54:00
Madison
Yeah, I might even need to do an entire podcast entirely. Just on that Being bullied, I’ve never really been bullied.

00:15:54:10 – 00:15:54:28
Joseph
That’s good.

00:15:55:01 – 00:16:17:14
Madison
Directly. So I don’t really have that problem. Relationship problems I have noticed that I do have a lot I tend to lack confidence in most social situations, and my self-esteem seems to take a complete nosedive during those situations.

00:16:17:15 – 00:16:20:04
Joseph
So and that’s fairly common in teens.

00:16:21:12 – 00:16:46:09
Madison
I don’t really have anger management issues. I’m decent with conflict resolution. So and I mean, I’m kind of socially awkward, but I do have decent skills for the most part. Just I like the confidence to initiate most conversations and self-esteem normally just is like, you don’t deserve to talk to these people. They they don’t want to talk to you.

00:16:46:10 – 00:16:47:16
Madison
You know, that kind of stuff.

00:16:47:19 – 00:17:14:20
Joseph
And, you know, it’s funny. One of the things that really helps to overcome that sort of hesitation is practice. The more you step out of that shell and into that uncomfortable zone of socializing, the easier it gets. It’s it’s like riding a bike you know, you may fall off a couple of times and skiing your knee, but if you keep getting back on it and keep doing it before long, it’s second nature to you.

00:17:16:05 – 00:17:18:26
Joseph
How about depression? Do you suffer from depression, do you think?

00:17:19:08 – 00:17:20:25
Madison
Not that I know of.

00:17:21:05 – 00:17:35:22
Joseph
Okay. And I think we’ve discussed that. And you didn’t fit the symptoms that are typical. Yeah. Social anxiety a little bit that might be a factor.

00:17:36:26 – 00:17:40:27
Madison
Body image issues. We our last podcasts on.

00:17:40:27 – 00:17:42:05
Joseph
We just covered that.

00:17:42:17 – 00:18:02:27
Madison
And I don’t think I really have too many body image issues that would put me more like loneliness. Like whenever I do think these people don’t want to talk to me, I’m just annoying them. It’s not really relating to the fact of how I look because I would like to think that people don’t really have, you know, body standards.

00:18:02:27 – 00:18:19:25
Madison
Unfortunately, you know, we live in a society where that is a thing. But, you know, I like to see at least the best in people who I don’t know, it’s like they don’t care how I look they just think I’m annoying them because I can tend to probably I’m just annoying them as a person.

00:18:20:23 – 00:18:36:28
Joseph
Okay. Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it. So it sounds like you might be hit or miss on a couple of these. Yeah. So we’re going to take our first break and when we come back, we’re going to take a look at some of the signs and symptoms of teen loneliness. We’ll be right back.

00:18:37:04 – 00:18:37:15
Madison
All right.

00:18:46:06 – 00:19:16:12
Joseph
For over seven years, the Second Sith Empire has been the Premiere Community Guild and the online game Star Wars The Old Republic, with hundreds of friendly and helpful active members. A weekly schedule of nightly events annual guild meet greets and an active community both on the Web and on Discord. The second season of Empire is more than your typical gaming group.

00:19:17:06 – 00:19:40:21
Joseph
We’re family. Join us on the Star Forge server for nightly events such as operations Flashpoints, World Boss Funds, the Star Wars Trivia Guild Lottery and much more. Visit us on the Web today. And w w w dot the second sip and prior dot com.

00:19:47:21 – 00:20:10:00
Madison
Welcome back to inside and the teens. Today we’re talking about loneliness and social isolation. And now we’re going to delve into the signs and symptoms of loneliness. So chronic loneliness, symptoms and signs can differ depending on who you are and your situation. If you constantly feel some or all of the following, you may be dealing with chronic loneliness.

00:20:11:09 – 00:20:37:07
Madison
One of these is the inability to connect to Let me start over again. One of these is the inability to connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level. Maybe your friends and family in your life but engagement with them is at a very surface level. Interaction doesn’t feel connected in a way that is fulfilling. And this disconnection often seems never ending.

00:20:39:06 – 00:20:51:16
Madison
Also, you have no close or best friends. You have friends, but their casual friends or acquaintances, and you feel you can find no one who truly gets you.

00:20:52:29 – 00:21:13:24
Joseph
You may also experience an overwhelming feeling of isolation, regardless of where you are and who’s around you. You can be at a party surrounded by dozens of people, and yet you feel isolated, separate and disengaged at work or in school. You may feel alienated and alone.

00:21:16:08 – 00:21:47:00
Joseph
The same thing on a bus, train, or walking down a busy street. You’re surrounded by people, but you still feel like you’re isolated by yourself. It’s as if you’re in your own unbreakable bubble. You also may experience negative feelings of self-doubt and self-worth. Does it feel like you’re always less than enough? These feelings, long term at least, are another possible symptom of chronic loneliness when you try to connect, to reach out.

00:21:47:01 – 00:22:13:09
Joseph
Is it not reciprocated and you’re not seen or heard? Do you experience exhaustion and burnout? When trying to engage socially? If you’re dealing with chronic loneliness, trying to engage and be social with others can leave you feeling exhausted. Continued feelings of being drained can lead to other issues like sleep problems, a weakened immune system, a poor diet, and more.

00:22:14:03 – 00:22:47:28
Joseph
Now, it’s funny that they mention that because not being a particularly social individual myself, I find social interaction tends to be stressful and exhausting to me, which I think is probably one of the reasons why I’m not social, nor does it bother me that I’m that social. But like when I’m in a social environment, I just find it exhausting to have to maintain conversations with a group of people.

00:22:49:00 – 00:23:17:29
Joseph
Part of it’s my hearing to we’ve talked about this in the past where I have a difficult time in crowds with my hearing. I have a difficult time discerning individual conversations. Everything sort of blends together for me So it requires a tremendous amount of effort on my part to maintain a conversation, like if I’m at a party or at a bar or something like that, there’s a large group of people, there’s a lot of noise, and I’m trying to have a conversation with one person.

00:23:17:29 – 00:23:29:24
Joseph
That’s why I don’t like going to dinner at loud places. It’s a very difficult situation for me because I can’t hear it very well. How about you? Do you experience any of these symptoms, do you think?

00:23:30:29 – 00:24:05:07
Madison
Well, I don’t think I. I mean, like, I connect with you guys on a decently intimate level. I mean, we have the podcast, so yeah, at least with you guys and I have a deep connection with some of my friends. So I do think I have close friends at least, and I consider most of my friends to be my best friends, even though, like, I know that best friends is like a term only used for like oh, this is for one person, like this is her best friend.

00:24:05:07 – 00:24:08:07
Madison
And I’m like, no, I can have multiple best friends. Why not?

00:24:08:07 – 00:24:09:01
Joseph
Sure, why not?

00:24:11:05 – 00:24:36:15
Madison
Overwhelming feeling of isolation regardless of where you are and who’s around. Yeah, you can. Yeah. That that happens at the band banquet specifically. Like, I was sitting at a table with a bunch of people, but I still kind of felt socially isolated because, like, they all had come on off conversations with each other, and I was kind of just there.

00:24:36:26 – 00:24:41:12
Joseph
Okay. How about feelings of self-doubt? Or self-worth?

00:24:43:05 – 00:24:53:23
Madison
Yeah, I do kind of have that. Like, sometimes I feel as though I don’t entirely have a presence anywhere.

00:24:53:29 – 00:24:56:20
Joseph
Okay. And I can certainly see that as a symptom.

00:24:56:29 – 00:25:01:12
Madison
And I’m not really in existence or no one really acknowledges.

00:25:01:25 – 00:25:12:06
Joseph
How many times you hear about the exhaustion aspect of things. Do you get exhausted or do you find it exhausting or tiresome to to try to be social?

00:25:12:25 – 00:25:18:05
Madison
I mean, with some people, kind of, which is why I don’t really socialize with those people.

00:25:18:09 – 00:25:25:23
Joseph
Okay. I could see there’s a lot of people that didn’t that have that effect on me too, and I try to whole for them.

00:25:27:02 – 00:25:38:28
Madison
But like even with some of my close friends, I’ll come up with topics and then like when I’m on the phone with my one friend that will just sit in silence for a few minutes because neither of us can come up with something to talk about.

00:25:39:05 – 00:25:42:08
Joseph
But there are times that you could talk for hours with your friends too.

00:25:42:17 – 00:25:42:29
Madison
True.

00:25:43:29 – 00:25:54:07
Joseph
Okay. So it sounds like you may have some of these symptoms, so there might be a little loneliness that’s still creeping in the picture there. So what do you tell us? How loneliness affects your mental health?

00:25:54:26 – 00:26:06:11
Madison
So long term feelings of loneliness can affect your health in many ways. For example, chronic loneliness can drive up cholesterol levels in the body. Cholesterol is a hormone.

00:26:08:10 – 00:26:08:25
Joseph
Cortisol.

00:26:08:25 – 00:26:10:01
Madison
Levels. Cortisol.

00:26:10:08 – 00:26:12:18
Joseph
Cholesterol is a whole different thing, I find.

00:26:13:06 – 00:26:13:29
Madison
Imagine I said.

00:26:15:18 – 00:26:17:05
Joseph
You can just read saying it’s okay.

00:26:18:01 – 00:26:36:20
Madison
Okay. For example, chronic loneliness can drive up causal cortisol. Cortisol can drive up cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that your body creates when under stress. Over time, higher cortisol levels can lead to an.

00:26:36:29 – 00:26:37:24
Joseph
Inflammation.

00:26:37:24 – 00:26:48:27
Madison
Inflammation, excess weight gain, insulin resistance, problem problems concentrating and more.

00:26:50:13 – 00:26:51:29
Joseph
And more you actually got them working.

00:26:52:25 – 00:27:20:00
Madison
Anyway. If left unchecked, these chronic loneliness symptoms can put you at a greater risk for more serious medical and emotional problems, including depression, sleep disorders, type two diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, mental health and emotional problems and substance use. There’s even the possibility that chronic loneliness and the health risks that come with it could shorten one’s life span.

00:27:20:11 – 00:27:26:09
Madison
If you think you’re suffering with long, long term feelings of loneliness, talk to your doctor or a therapist.

00:27:26:28 – 00:27:55:15
Joseph
So all those things are bad, obviously. But what does it do to your brain? Because we’ve already talked about several new and emotional and mental things that this might, might do. So research shows that chronic loneliness can have a significant impact on your overall health, including your brain health. Some studies even suggest that there may be a link between loneliness and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

00:27:56:14 – 00:28:32:07
Joseph
Long term feelings of loneliness and social isolation can also reduce cognitive skills, such as the ability to concentrate make decisions problem-solving and even change negative self beliefs. And it ultimately can lead to depression. And I think really they conclusion of the health impacts here kind of is. Human beings are social animals and even people like me who I don’t particularly yearn for social interaction.

00:28:33:13 – 00:29:12:10
Joseph
There’s benefits from it. And you may not necessarily acknowledge those benefits. You may not recognize those benefits, but they’re there and they’re they’re clinically proven. You know, human beings are not built to be isolated on their own. We’re pack animals say. So there’s always been some social element. And when that social element is there and it’s working your body generates positive chemicals, positive hormones, and it operates at a different level.

00:29:12:10 – 00:29:38:03
Joseph
Your brain operates in a different level. And when there’s an overall lack of that, it’s almost like dieting, right? So you want to have a balanced diet. If you have too much of one thing, you know, you have too many carbs and not enough protein, then it’s bad for your body. Social interactions kind of the same way. You know, you have to have a balanced diet of social interaction.

00:29:38:26 – 00:29:53:28
Joseph
Otherwise, you suffer from loneliness and the loneliness. Has this detrimental physical and mental effect on you because human beings are just designed to be around other people. Your thoughts?

00:29:54:27 – 00:30:23:20
Madison
Yeah, that that is pretty much what to gain from this. It’s because we’ve it’s our natural instinct and the whole point up. One of the biggest attributes of us is that we’re social creatures and if we are important social situations, that can damage us at this point, since we’ve developed it for so long, it can genuinely have damaging effects.

00:30:23:20 – 00:30:27:29
Madison
And a lot of it’s kind of for survival purposes.

00:30:28:00 – 00:30:28:24
Joseph
Absolutely.

00:30:28:26 – 00:30:53:22
Madison
Even if it’s not like the primitive version of, Oh, we have to stick together and kill this thing or it’s going to kill us. It’s a lot more emotional and still very physical, but not in the ways that it used to be. But it’s still very psychological. It can still have damaging effects. And it even said that it can shorten your lifetime if it gets to a serious point.

00:30:53:25 – 00:31:20:24
Joseph
Yeah, that’s a very good point. You know, it’s it’s prehistoric. It’s built into us genetically from the time that, you know, we were cavemen and we have this, you know, hunting packs in order to survive. And it was a defensive mechanism. And through generations and generations, that defensive mechanism became something that we were dependent on for our mental and physical wellness.

00:31:20:24 – 00:31:24:17
Joseph
It’s evolution. It’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

00:31:24:24 – 00:31:26:13
Madison
I know. Thank you. Charles Darwin.

00:31:28:24 – 00:31:40:05
Joseph
So anyway, we’re going to take our last break and then we’re going to come back and we’ll talk a little bit about who is most at risk and then some tips for dealing with loneliness. We’ll be right back.

00:31:40:09 – 00:31:40:23
Madison
All righty.

00:31:49:02 – 00:32:10:24
Michelle
Insights into Entertainment, a podcast series taking a deeper look into entertainment and media Our husband and wife team of pop culture fanatics are exploring all things from music and movies to television and fandom We’ll look at the interesting and obscure entertainment news of the week.

00:32:13:01 – 00:32:43:14
Michelle
We’ll talk about theme park and pop culture news. We’ll give you the latest and greatest on pop culture conventions. We’ll give you a deep dove into Disney, Star Wars and much more Check out our video episodes at YouTube.com, Backslash Insights into things, our audio episodes and podcast insights into entertainment dot com or check us out on the web at insights into things dot com.

00:32:51:18 – 00:32:57:16
Madison
Welcome back to Inside the. Today we’re talking about loneliness and social isolation. Yay!

00:33:00:06 – 00:33:24:21
Madison
I want to do that. Now we’re going to talk about who’s most at risk. So chronic or long term loneliness can afflict all types of people. It’s easy to assume that someone who’s naturally shy and introverted might be most at risk. But but outgoing type of a personalities can also suffer from chronic loneliness, even though they may appear to be the life of the party.

00:33:25:11 – 00:33:30:13
Madison
This type of loneliness is not exclusive to any one personality type.

00:33:31:14 – 00:34:04:10
Joseph
For some people, chronic loneliness may become a side effect of a medical or emotional problem, including those dealing with the following issues, such as substance use, depression or bipolar disorder, a serious illness or disease Some mild forms of autism, such as Asperger’s syndrome, dementia and Alzheimer’s and sexual orientation issues all of these issues could also lead to long term feelings of loneliness and isolation.

00:34:05:05 – 00:34:16:24
Joseph
Make sure your doctor, therapists, or other medical provider knows how you’re feeling emotionally. And then that brings us to what can we do about this?

00:34:17:10 – 00:34:38:05
Madison
So here are some tips for dealing with loneliness. If you’re dealing with feelings of loneliness that just don’t go away. Consider these tips. The first tip they give is to talk to your doctor, a therapist or other health care professional Chronic illness isn’t limited to feelings of social isolation and.

00:34:39:00 – 00:34:39:26
Joseph
Alienation.

00:34:39:29 – 00:35:12:17
Madison
Alienation from others. It’s often tied to ongoing and deeply rooted negative feelings about yourself that can eventually lead to other medical and emotional problems. Let someone know what’s going on. You could also engage with other people in a positive, healthy way, even though it may be difficult. Try making the effort to connect with others Volunteering hobby clubs, workout groups and other opportunities can help boost self-esteem and provide a safe and satisfying way to connect with others.

00:35:13:04 – 00:35:41:16
Joseph
You can also get some exercise in sunlight. Getting active and out in the sunshine can help elevate endorphins and serotonin These brain hormones can boost mood, help improve sleep, and make people feel happier. Find a support group, especially if chronic loneliness is a side effect of some other issues you might be dealing with, such as substance abuse. Loss of a loved one.

00:35:42:02 – 00:36:11:20
Joseph
Loneliness from a divorce or breakup. Or chronic and isolating illness. Receiving support and encouragement from others. Who may share similar feelings could help ease symptoms of chronic loneliness. If you’re dealing with long term loneliness that can the kind that doesn’t go away. Talk to your doctor or another health care provider so they can help. Chronic loneliness is not just about feeling alone.

00:36:12:09 – 00:36:47:15
Joseph
If left unchecked, it can put you at risk for serious physical and emotional issues. Now that’s all kind of the clinical antiseptic descriptions that we were able to get from our research that you did, but you did a very good job on. But speaking from a personal perspective, I think everyone at some point in time and usually many times in their life experiences some form of loneliness and it can be brought on by a lot of different things.

00:36:47:18 – 00:37:12:29
Joseph
You know, when my mom passed away, I went through a real significant period of loneliness. I went through a depression you lose your job. You know, I went through a divorce. These are all things that contributed to feelings of loneliness and even simpler things like if Mommy and I get into an argument for something, you know, and she gets mad at me.

00:37:12:29 – 00:37:46:25
Joseph
There is a feeling of loneliness there. So it’s it’s all kinds of things. Sometimes it’s a big thing. Sometimes it’s little things. Sometimes it’s things you don’t have control over. You know, what are what are some of the things like you we’ve talked about friends moving away. Like, how does that make you feel if you’re you know, you had a close friend, it literally lived right next door and she moved away and she didn’t move too far away, but she moved far enough away that you don’t have very frequent interactions anymore.

00:37:48:01 – 00:37:50:24
Joseph
That make you feel from a loneliness standpoint.

00:37:51:16 – 00:38:18:19
Madison
Well, I did feel a little more isolated from her. What we had a whole thing before the pandemic where I would basically just walk up to her house, hope that her car was like her parents were home and she was home very quickly ring the doorbell and I’d go in and play and just like hang out for a few hours.

00:38:20:02 – 00:38:29:13
Madison
Now, I kind of have to plan it in advance and actually get Mommy to drive me over as opposed to, Oh, I’m ready, I can go and just see her and such.

00:38:29:28 – 00:38:35:18
Joseph
So you that relationship, that friendship is still there. It’s just not as convenient as it was.

00:38:36:08 – 00:38:37:04
Madison
I guess. Yeah.

00:38:37:08 – 00:38:48:26
Joseph
Was there any other kind of replacement that that came into play there? And did you become friends with anybody else in the neighborhood? Did you get another hobby? What did you do to fill that that gap.

00:38:50:24 – 00:39:01:14
Madison
I yes, I still just tried talking to her more. I’d send her more stuff. We’d still have calls. I just tried to keep still keep in good contact with her.

00:39:01:15 – 00:39:08:07
Joseph
So it shifted less face to face because you couldn’t have that to phone calls and chat sessions and stuff like that.

00:39:08:11 – 00:39:08:21
Madison
Yeah.

00:39:09:02 – 00:39:12:25
Joseph
So you were able to, for the most part, compensate for something like that?

00:39:13:03 – 00:39:13:14
Madison
Yeah.

00:39:14:00 – 00:39:21:23
Joseph
Has there been something some other kind of loneliness that happened that you couldn’t compensate for, that you had to learn how to deal with?

00:39:22:18 – 00:39:23:03
Madison
Um.

00:39:23:11 – 00:39:46:24
Joseph
Like, for instance, we, we’ve had bats pass away on us. Now, any time there’s a death in the family and the pets are always members of the family, but any time there’s a death in the family, there’s always a loneliness that’s there, a familiarity that’s not there anymore. That causes in loneliness. You can’t easily replace that. How do you deal with something like that?

00:39:47:27 – 00:39:58:26
Madison
Um, I guess with that, um, I try to, um, take comfort in the other cats we had.

00:39:59:02 – 00:39:59:17
Joseph
Okay.

00:39:59:21 – 00:40:14:01
Madison
Um, I’d spend more time with them. I would try putting them more. I’d ask them how their day was, um, and basically just try to, you know, spend time with them.

00:40:14:12 – 00:40:35:28
Joseph
So it’s almost like a physical injury. Right. So you’ve hurt your knees in the past just with marching band. So when you hurt your knees, what do you do? You don’t, you don’t just sit there and not do anything. You find another way to get around. You know, you twist an ankle, you wind up limping or you use crutches or you, you know, whatever it is.

00:40:37:05 – 00:41:16:15
Joseph
Loneliness is sort of like that, too. When when you experience the loneliness, you can’t just shut down you know, you don’t fall into a ball in a corner somewhere and crying and, you know, give up on the world. You find a way to get around it. You you know, you lean on something else. And whether that’s a finding an alternative to what called the loneliness or finding a new way to distract yourself from that loneliness, whatever it is, that loneliness is sort of like having an injured limb where you can’t put the same pressure on that you had before because it hurts.

00:41:17:05 – 00:41:46:22
Joseph
So you find a way to compensate for it. And I think that’s probably the most important takeaway here is that everyone’s going to experience loneliness. You can’t avoid it as much as mommy and daddy want to shelter you. You’re going to experience that at some point in time. The important thing is how you handle that. You know, how you compensate for that loneliness, how you know, how crippling is it to you, and how quickly can you recover from it?

00:41:47:18 – 00:41:53:28
Joseph
Because just like a physical injury, loneliness is something that you can recover from What do you think about that?

00:41:55:00 – 00:42:16:21
Madison
Yeah, I definitely think that’s an accurate assessment to make because it is a good allegory because you’re not really going to be the same afterwards and you’re going to have that moment where it’s like, okay, you kind of have to find alternative ways to deal with it or alternative ways to think and such, and eventually you will end up healing from it.

00:42:16:24 – 00:42:49:05
Joseph
Exactly. Exactly. And you’ll get stronger from it. You know, the first time you feel that loneliness it can be overwhelming depending on the type of loneliness. Once you overcome that, the next time that happens. And, you know, I don’t want to say it gets easier, but you get more capable of dealing with it. It’s part of the process of growing up and maturing adversity makes us stronger, and that’s kind of the best way to look at it anyway.

00:42:49:06 – 00:42:55:03
Joseph
I think that was all we had today. We’re going to take a quick break, come back and we’ll get your closing thoughts.

00:42:55:09 – 00:42:55:22
Madison
All right.

00:42:55:29 – 00:42:56:20
Joseph
We’ll be right back.

00:43:03:07 – 00:43:35:01
Madison
All right. So I just wanted to let everyone know that loneliness is something that going to happen to all of us, no matter who we are. You can be the most outgoing, extroverted person and you’re still going to eventually feel lonely. And the best thing to take away from this is that you shouldn’t give up on it. If you do feel as though you have chronic loneliness or are experiencing long term symptoms of loneliness, yes, go and seek help because you’re not there is a way to deal with it.

00:43:35:02 – 00:43:46:18
Madison
You’re not going to immediately feel better and it’s going to sting for a while. But you’re going to find alternative ways of thinking and alternative ways to heal, and eventually you’ll come back stronger.

00:43:46:28 – 00:44:15:16
Joseph
Very good sage words, as always. That was it for today. Before we do go, I would want to once again invite our listening and viewing audience to subscribe to the podcast. You can find audio versions of this podcast listed as insights into teens. You can find video and audio versions of this podcast listed as insights in the things we’re on every place you can get a podcast.

00:44:15:16 – 00:44:37:03
Joseph
I’m not even going to list them. I would also invite you to read and give us your feedback, tells how we’re doing, give us suggestions on what you’d like us to talk about. You can email us or comments and insights in the things that come. You can hit us on Twitter and insights underscore things. We do stream five days a week on Twitch at Twitch that TV’s insights into things.

00:44:37:23 – 00:44:52:10
Joseph
You can find high rise versions of our videos on YouTube at YouTube.com, slash insights into things, or you can get links to all that and more on our official website at WW W dot insights into things that come to you.

00:44:52:20 – 00:45:02:11
Madison
And don’t forget to check out our other two podcasts, insights and entertainment hosted by you in Miami and its AdSense tomorrow, our monthly podcast hosted by you and my brother Sam.

00:45:02:14 – 00:45:05:12
Joseph
That’s it. Another one in the box by everyone by.