The psychology of loneliness: why it matters and what we can do
This report by the Campaign to End Loneliness looks at how psychological approaches can help tackle loneliness. Due to lockdown, more people than ever before are reporting feelings of loneliness. The report is focused on older people but has lessons for all adults. It gathers the current research and evidence available to us about what we can learn from psychology, as well as making policy recommendations for how this learning can be applied and help the millions of lonely people across the UK.
There are a number of psychological approaches that show promise for easing loneliness in later life. The three with the most relevant research evidence are cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and positive psychology.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy helps people understand their thoughts, feelings and behaviours so they can change some of these to manage their difficulties.
- Mindfulness can help people become aware of their thoughts during difficult times and choose to accept or reject them.
- Positive psychology promotes positive emotions, helping people to override negative feelings and thought patterns.