Singles Counseling Altus OK

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Safehouse Maffry Inc
(580) 482-6229
1313 N Forrest St
Altus, OK
 
Pathways Pregnancy Resource Center
(580) 477-4400
115 W Walker St
Altus, OK
 
Altus Counseling
(580) 379-4752
317 N Hudson St
Altus, OK
 
State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors
(405) 271-6030
1000 N.E. 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK
 
Comprehensive Psychological Services
(405) 329-7923
900 N Porter Ave Ste 202
Norman, OK
 
Cornerstone Clinical Services
(580) 482-2300
3000 N Main St
Altus, OK
 
Jackson County Memorial Hospital
(580) 482-4095
1200 E Tamarack Rd
Altus, OK
 
Dancing Hawk Counseling Services
(580) 379-4900
118 W Broadway St
Altus, OK
 
Allen, Geo T
(405) 755-5639
12028 Camelot CT
Oklahoma City, OK
 
Beard Jo Ellen Phd
(918) 744-7809
1221 E 33rd St
Tulsa, OK
 

Only the Lonely

The pain of social isolation can be harmful to your overall well-being.

by Claire Sykes

May 2010

It’s Saturday night and, once again, you’re home alone; your mind drifts to that party where everyone seemed to be having more fun than you. And then there’s all those overtime hours and solo drive-through dinners. It’s enough to make anyone feel downright lonely.

If you often feel lonely, you’re not alone. Roughly 60 million Americans are lonely right now, says John Cacioppo, PhD, a professor at the University of Chicago and author (with William Patrick) of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection (Norton, www.scienceofloneliness.com ). Everyone can feel a little isolated sometimes. But when loneliness becomes chronic, interfering with daily life and hindering happiness, Cacioppo says it can “become a risk factor for illness and early death.”

Broken Connections

Being alone doesn’t always mean being lonely. “Loneliness is the emotional pain you feel when your need for connection isn’t being met,” Cacioppo says. “What matters is your subjective response to the situation.” It’s normal to feel lonely when your daughter takes off for college, your husband divorces you or your doctor tells you you’ve got cancer. If you live alone and have neither an intimate partner nor a satisfying social network, or if you struggle with money or health problems, you are also more likely to feel lonely. But if you enjoy being by yourself for hours or even weeks on end, that’s not loneliness—that’s solitude.

Humans are built to feel loneliness because we are basically social animals who need to bond and cooperate with others—as couples, families, communities and cultures—in order to thrive. It comes from our prehistoric days, when being alone meant getting eaten by that saber-toothed tiger.

“Our research today with brain scans and physiological markers suggests that loneliness is a biological construct, much like hunger, thirst or physical pain,” says Cacioppo. “It has evolved as a signal to change behavior, to prompt one to build or renew connections, and to promote social trust, cohesiveness and collective action, in order to ensure survival.”

In loneliness, perception is everything. “Some people are more sensitive to the pain of perceived isolation,” says Louise Hawkley, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. People can feel lonely even when they’ve got friends and family around. “There is some indication of a heritable component to loneliness,” notes Hawkley. “An insecure maternal-attachment bond as an infant or a negative event in childhood can trigger loneliness in genetically susceptible individuals.”

Because we’re wired to experience loss of social connection as a threat to our well-being, feeling lonely can also leave us feeling scared. “This may translate as a hypervigilance about others and their perceptions of you,” says Hawkley. “Without necessarily being aware of it, you m...

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