11 episodes

"Is Anybody Out There?" a podcast series about loneliness brought to you by the Connectery. Join Jeremy Warshaw and Judy D'Mello, a couple of transplanted Brits living in NYC, on their journey to discover what loneliness really is. Why is it that people get lonely? Does loneliness attack us psychologically as well as physically? Is age a factor? Why do we not have a word for the opposite of loneliness? Can we become un-lonely? Or, is it simply a symptom of our disconnected modern-day world? The duo had so many questions but the trouble is, they're no experts. So, they talked to scientists, authors, gerontologists, psychologists, urban planners, and to everyday lonely people from ages 19 to 91. What they learned was truly surprising, and even upsetting at times. Ultimately, it left them facing the biggest question of all: What kind of a society do we want to be?
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Is Anybody Out There‪?‬ the Connectery

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 32 Ratings

"Is Anybody Out There?" a podcast series about loneliness brought to you by the Connectery. Join Jeremy Warshaw and Judy D'Mello, a couple of transplanted Brits living in NYC, on their journey to discover what loneliness really is. Why is it that people get lonely? Does loneliness attack us psychologically as well as physically? Is age a factor? Why do we not have a word for the opposite of loneliness? Can we become un-lonely? Or, is it simply a symptom of our disconnected modern-day world? The duo had so many questions but the trouble is, they're no experts. So, they talked to scientists, authors, gerontologists, psychologists, urban planners, and to everyday lonely people from ages 19 to 91. What they learned was truly surprising, and even upsetting at times. Ultimately, it left them facing the biggest question of all: What kind of a society do we want to be?
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Episode 10: Emperor for the Day

    Episode 10: Emperor for the Day

    If you were emperor or empress for a day, and you were blessed with superhuman -- but benevolent -- powers, what would you do to eradicate loneliness? 
    In this, the final episode of "Is Anybody Out There?", listeners from around the United States and Europe shared their answers -- really big, bold ideas for instantly ridding the world of loneliness. These were a mix of magical, wistful, and even doable strategies, but all equally thought provoking and heartwarming in their ingenuity and scope. Most of all, it's clear that people are ready to talk about loneliness, openly and honestly, and to view it as a societal ill that needs to be addressed rather than an existential issue. 
    Which is why, hosts Judy and Jeremy argue, that instead of thinking of loneliness simply as an evolutionary, unavoidable experience, we must face the possibility that it's partly a modern phenomenon, born of an ever-increasing individualistic society and economic and social conditions. Now is time for policy makers, institutions and society at large to do something about it.
    Links
    Johann Hari 
    "Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions" 
    Dr. Sam Everington
    Social Prescribing
    Daily Haloha
    Roland Griffiths, Johns Hopkins
    Look Up Movement 2020
    Medicare Costs for Treating Isolated Older Adults
    Dr. Vivek Murthy
    "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World"

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 24 min
    Episode 9: Community Architecture

    Episode 9: Community Architecture

    Why is that some of the world's most bustling and densely-populated cities are often the loneliest? In "Community Architecture," hosts Jeremy and Judy explore this paradox and discover that metropolises around the world were rarely developed with the well being of its inhabitants in mind. Instead, they were mostly built to pack in as many residents as possible in order to grow into economic powerhouses. As a result, looming skyscrapers, a lack of public areas in which to congregate and connect, and a dearth of green spaces, have made our cities such lonely places. And, certainly, following our collective experience of lockdown in 2020, we know now how important connection is to our wellbeing.
    Three young professionals in the field of community architecture -- an urban planner in Toronto, an urban architect in London, and an urban neuroscientist in Vancouver -- share their thoughts and ideas for designing healthier, more pro-social urban environments of the future.
    Links
    Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    Lonely Cities Index
    World Happiness Report
    15-Minute Neighborhoods
    Olympic Village, Vancouver
    MAKE, London
    Kinship in the City Report
    Uncommon, UK
    Happy City Consultancy, Vancouver
    Davie Village, Vancouver
    Superblocks, Barcelona

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 29 min
    Episode 8: A Lonely Planet

    Episode 8: A Lonely Planet

    In 2018, the UK was the first country to appoint a Minister of Loneliness, making the issue a parliamentary priority. Japan followed suit in February, while Sweden and Australia are actively campaigning to appoint a dedicated loneliness official in their respective countries.
    With such a top-down commitment to tackling the loneliness crisis, change makers in these countries have the necessary support to implement successful strategies to help fight loneliness at official and community levels. Some of these initiatives are highlighted in this episode.
    Here in the United States, three in five Americans reported feeling lonely or isolated (pre-Covid) with the issue costing Medicare over $6 billion a year. So, why do we not have an official tasked with addressing this problem? Isn't loneliness a significant enough issue that the US government should intervene? And why are this country's loneliness resources mostly aimed at seniors, when younger generations are lonelier than ever? By engaging in this frank and honest analysis of the situation here in America and worldwide, hosts Judy and Jeremy hope it will lead to more powerful narratives of togetherness in the future.
    Links
    Loneliness among millennials and gen Z'ers 
    New mothers and loneliness
    The Campaign to End Loneliness
    The Can't Sing Choir
    The Choir With No Name
    Minister of Loneliness UK
    The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness
    Jo Cox speech to Parliament
    Minister of Loneliness, Japan
    Robots to help with loneliness
    Single person households, worldwide
    The Swedish Theory of Love
    Erik Gandini
    Zygmunt Bauman
    Colive, Sweden
    No Isolation
    The Loneliness Project
    Australia campaigns for Minister of Loneliness 

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 28 min
    Episode 7: PayPal or Venmo

    Episode 7: PayPal or Venmo

    Feeling lonely? Don't have anyone to go for a stroll with? Or, could you use a cuddle? A feel-good, platonic hug? Well, then a friend rental website or a cuddling service could be just the things you need. They could also be the very resources we need to help with loneliness, even if only temporarily.
    But what's it like to spend an hour with someone you've paid to be in your company? Hosts, Jeremy and Judy, decided to find out first-hand when they booked a couple of services through Rent-a-Friend and the Cuddlist, respectively. Both companies seem to be mining the commercial potential of loneliness and claim to be growing in reach and popularity. 
    You'll meet Maggie, Jeremy's rented friend, and Melody, Judy's hired cuddler. And you'll also hear the hosts' honest assessments on what each of their transactions felt like. They will also ponder broader, societal implications of why in an age when dating apps help strangers meet for meaningless sex and websites secure spouses from all over the world, paying for platonic companionship sill comes with moral burdens. 
    Links
    Noreena Hertz, A Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That's Pulling Apart
    Rent-a-Friend
    Cuddlist
    Awakening the Hands

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 30 min
    Episode 6: Friendship

    Episode 6: Friendship

    After a year of social distancing and isolation, the power and value of our friendships has never been more appreciated. And what's really come into focus is that healthy social connections is one of the best antidotes to loneliness. However, there's a deeper, evolutionary reason behind this longing to see our friends in-person again: face-to-face interactions with a few dear pals actually produces a surge of good hormones that makes us feel happy and less lonely, while boosting our immune systems and staving off viruses and even mental decline. 
    Lydia Denworth, a science journalist and author of the book, "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond," helps explain the science behind the life enhancing role of social connection. Sharing human stories and research findings, she brings to life the benefits of friendships. We learn, for instance, that the quality of a few meaningful relationships is more important when predicting mortality rates and happiness in old age than income, education or even cholesterol levels.
    Ms. Denworth also reminds us that hanging out with friends should never be optional or something that's squeezed in between work and family obligations. Make socializing a priority, she advises, because when we get together with our close buddies, we're doing something fundamentally important -- something that's good for our health and for the health of our friends.
    Links
    Lydia Denworth
    Friendship: the Evolution, Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond.
    University of Kansas research
    The Harvard Study of Adult Development
    Up Documentary Series
    John Cacioppo
    AARP survey on the cost of loneliness
    Guest Info
    Lydia Denworth is a science journalist and speaker. She is a contributing editor at Scientific American and the author of three books of popular science, including Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond. Adam Grant called Friendship one of the top 20 leadership books of 2020 and Booklist called it “the best of science writing.” Lydia’s work has also appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, Psychology Today and many other publications. 
     www.lydiadenworth.com 
     @LydiaDenworth. 
     (Photo credit: Jessica Barthel.)

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 23 min
    Episode 5: Being Alone

    Episode 5: Being Alone

    Are we in the midst of a loneliness epidemic? Well, it depends who you ask. This week's guest, Dr. Mark Epstein, a therapist in New York City and a practicing Buddhist, believes that loneliness is simply one of life's everyday traumas. A ubiquitous human condition that doesn't only visit the unlucky but almost everyone, much like sadness, fear and even death. 
    Dr. Epstein is also the author of a number of books that bridge Buddhist teachings with Western psychology. During his interview on this episode of "Is Anybody Out There?" he offers great insight into these two traditions, simultaneously quoting Donald Winnicott, a British child psychoanalyst, and the Buddha.
    In dealing with everyday traumas such as loneliness, he guides us away from quick fixes and instead, offers an alternative of mindfulness and self-reflection that's grounded in Buddhism. Through anecdotes, Buddhist fables and personal practices, he informs us that meditation encourages us to sit with these uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions in order to understand our feelings of incompleteness and to find solutions to help us navigate a way out. And when we do, we might even emerge more enlightened. Meditation and mindfulness, he believes, are ways for us to unlock the transformational potential of trauma because a hidden kindness often gets woken that we can apply towards ourselves and others who might need help.
    Links
    Mark Epstein
    Donald Winnicott
    Dhammapada
    Daniel Goleman
    Joseph Goldstein
    Jack Kornfield
    Richard Alpert 
    Sharon Salzberg
    Meditation and loneliness
    Guest Notes
    Mark Epstein MD is a psychiatrist and author of 8 books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Psychotherapy without the Self, The Trauma of Everyday Life, Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself, and the forthcoming The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life to be published in January 2022 by Penguin Press. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School.

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

Waywoo ,

Touched

I’ve known Jeremy a long time but have been out of touch for over a decade. I was widowed four years ago and know something about loneliness. But I have rebuilt my life and am far less lonely now. I was riveted to the episode. So true, so kind. So thoughtful. He spoke the lonely soul.

kegw012 ,

Important topic, well done!

What a lovely exploration of the very human experience of loneliness and the effects it has on us all. The stories are so relatable, as are the hosts, who extend a warm hand of connection.

awbny ,

ArthurB

Wonderful. Ironic isn’t it that loneliness is such a common human emotion sometimes felt by all of us despite our living on a planet with billions of other people—or perhaps because of it. Kudos to the creators of these podcasts for exploring this topic with wit, warmth and intelligence.

Top Podcasts In Health & Fitness

Scicomm Media
Jay Shetty
Lewis Howes
Aubrey Gordon & Michael Hobbes
Rob Dial and Kast Media
Dr. Mark Hyman

You Might Also Like