Loneliness is something that everyone feels from time to time. And this year, we've felt it more than usual. So, neurologists from McGill University's The Neuro organization conducted a study to see what happens to our brain when we're feeling lonely.
"In times of confinement of social distancing, the experience of loneliness is only skyrocketing," Nathan Spreng explained.
This holiday season will be a lonely one for many. A new study from @Nathan_Spreng and @danilobzdok shows a sort of… https://t.co/GSIJPR4lrP— The Neuro (@The Neuro) 1608036503.0
The study found that the brain's default network, which we use for "remembering, thinking about the future, and mind-wandering" was "specifically impacted by feelings of loneliness," Sprenger explained in a video posted to The Neuro's Twitter page.
So, if you feel like you've been daydreaming about future events or rethinking things from your past more than normal recently, you're not alone.
"In the absence of desired social experiences, lonely individuals may be biased towards internally-directed thoughts such as reminiscing or imagining social experiences."
Danilo Bzdok goes onto explain that "this finding is consistent with the possibility that lonely individuals may more often engage in imagined social interaction" to fill some type of gap.
This new study teaches us that "perceived social isolation, or loneliness, affects physical and mental health, cognitive performance, overall life expectancy, and increases vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease-related dementias."