When I lived with my grandmother, for the last year she spent most of the time in her room and we talked only 10-15 minutes a day in the kitchen. However, I did not experience any low mood. But when she left every summer, my mood plummeted and July-August was usually the worst of the year (not counting winter, when I have SAD). I didn’t see her, but I faintly heard sounds (the bed creaks, she walks around the room, coughs, and so on)
When I was in complete silence for many hours in a row (sound deprivation), I began to experience a sharp decline in mood, as well as delusional and negative thoughts and a bit of ringing in my ears. Feeling like the walls are pressing in
It seemed to me subjectively that turning on the TV 6-7 hours a day in the background (in another room or in the kitchen) significantly helps to live alone
Also, the topic is discussed on the forum (quora.com) And in the article (stylist.co.uk). Users call it “background TV” and argue that background sounds help them avoid internal monologue. I have studied cognitive therapy quite deeply and I know for sure that internal monologue and self-criticism in it is one of the deepest causes of depression and this is a well-researched phenomenon. So it all comes together here.
Here is a list of tips from me:
If you travel or live abroad, the most effective solution for you is to turn on the TV at a low volume. It’s especially cool when it’s in another room (or in the kitchen) and is barely audible and doesn’t interfere with your work. I started traveling in 2019 and couldn’t understand why they put TVs in hotels and rental apartments. I thought this was the most useless item, but now I have found a creative use for it.
You can try buying a radio (as a separate device) or broadcasting sound from a second smartphone or computer. Playing background sound on a work computer is not a good idea and makes me feel uncomfortable. At a minimum, the sound source should be at the other end of the room. Ideally in another room or kitchen
When choosing channels, I choose a channel with films in English. Ideally, any channel where people are talking will do. But don’t take overly emotional channels like TNT or news channels. I have been completely isolated from the news for many months now and am very glad that I took this step forward.
But not everywhere there are televisions, so sometimes you have to “simulate” a television. If you know where you can download very, very long MP3 files with sound recordings from channels like Discovery or just movies, please send me the link. The podcasts are too short and I would like to download 200 hours of such recording at a time, transfer it to a flash drive and plug it into the TV or play it from my smartphone. And streaming video for 8 hours a day via the Internet and not watching it (just listening to the sound) is too expensive, especially in countries with limited Internet.
Or maybe you know an application for Android that will allow you to watch online TV without broadcasting video. If you know, please send the link in a private message or in the comments.
Component #3: Smell Stimulation
This is the most complex and mysterious component, which plays a huge role and which needs to be worked out as deeply as possible. I originally wanted to call this the “pheromone theory” but… scientists are skeptical to the existence of pheromones in humans, so I didn’t. I currently have no idea what groups of molecules or substances or even microorganisms cause changes in mood when in contact with people. If you are a biologist or well versed in biomolecular chemistry or microbiology, please comment on my ideas in as much detail as possible.
So, I will now tell you a number of personal observations that need explanation:
I lived with my grandmother for more than 5 years and experienced major depressive episodes when she went away for the summer and I was left alone in the apartment. At the same time, she lived in the next room and we had little contact, communicating by voice only 10-15 minutes a day in the kitchen
When I was 12 years old, I experienced occasional low moods when my parents went away for the weekend.
I felt comfort when I came into a room where someone from my family had been there for several days, but was currently absent. This effect was not observed if the person did not live in this room for more than a week
That very pleasant feeling when a girl arrived at night and lay down on the bed next to you. I didn’t see her in the dark and we didn’t talk, but I seemed to feel her presence and a subjective feeling of “social warmth” appeared inside.
I always really liked hugging girls and snuggling with them.
I loved riding the St. Petersburg metro and felt a special feeling of comfort there. When changing companies and choosing among new companies, I even thought about giving priority to working in the office, which is located 40-50 minutes away by metro.
I loved riding buses and also felt a special comfort there when there were a lot of people around
There was a time when I was walking down the street in Thailand and felt fear and the feeling that there was danger and someone aggressive nearby. I didn’t see or hear anything, but I felt it. I stopped and entered the territory of an abandoned hotel and saw a bull tied behind the wall, which was really mad and looked at me as if it was ready to tear me to pieces. Obviously, I smelled “aggression substances”
Sometimes I think I can feel the mood of other people in the next room without seeing or hearing them
One friend told me that it was also bad for her to live alone and needed “a person nearby.” Perhaps the feeling of “a person is nearby” is one of the highest cognitive senses, which is formed from many factors, but the key one is smell. I have no other explanation at the moment!
Here’s how to compensate for the lack of odors if you live alone:
The most super-effective way to “recharge” smells is couple dancing (bachata, salsa, tango, etc.). Many people think that this is “not for them,” but I learned to dance bachata in just 2 months at the age of 29. I just regularly walked and repeated the movements, walked and repeated… It should be noted that dancing has a bunch of other antidepressant components, such as vocal communication, flirting and a rush of blood to the penis (or moisturizing your pussy), physical activity, pleasant music and new acquaintances. And sensual bachata involves dancing in very intimate and sometimes erotic positions. Either way, couples dancing allows you to get up close and smell 4-7 different girls (or men) in 1 hour
The second most effective means is public transport. Of course, it also has side effects (slight dizziness, infections and risk of accidents). But (in my opinion) the pros outweigh the cons. Any type of transport is suitable (buses, minibuses or metro). The main thing is that there are a lot of people there (more than 20%, ideally 50-60%). You can just ride a minibus to the depot and back, or set some goal (drink tea in a remote restaurant at the end of the city).
You can also try to have pets, but I (subjectively) do not feel a sense of social comfort from them, and in terms of their level of inadequacy, they are sometimes as stupid as people. Although I haven’t tried very many (kitten and hamster). It is unfortunate that there is no research on which animals emit which odors and how they correspond to humans. Here, of course, you can try to get a monkey, but this is expensive and cruel.
Try aromatherapy – buy an aroma diffuser and essential oils for it (such as lavender). There are studies that they can help with depression. But I haven’t really developed this direction, because (subjectively) I don’t like these smells, and it’s not very clear exactly how to choose essential oils.
You can try buying perfume with pheromones of the opposite sex and spraying them around the apartment every day. I plan to experiment this year
You can try to force your own body to produce different variations of odors (so that you yourself did not feel them, but there was an antidepressant effect). Here we need to find an answer to the question why the human olfactory system “gets used” to its own smell, but reacts to the smells of other people. It has been proven that what you eat changes your smell and (maybe) you can change your diet and change your smell and trick your olfactory system. For example, you can eat more spices.
There are 2 types of hotel layouts – separate houses and blocks with internal corridors (not blown by the wind). There is an assumption that in hotels with corridors, the smells of people seep under the door into the corridor and between rooms, and you should choose such hotels, they are more “social”.
Ideally, you would make something like a chemical antidepressant that you can sniff and you will feel good. So that it contains the set of substances that people emit and which bring an antidepressant effect, but does not stink.
I had an incident in my life that I call the “Istanbul miracle”. I lived in a hotel in Istanbul for a month and a half, I lived alone and my mood was surprisingly good all this time. This is the only time in my life when I was able to live alone without depressive episodes for a long time. I still can’t fully explain this miracle, but many of the factors described above were present (frequent calls at work, frequent trips on public transport with a bunch of people [метробус]and lots and lots of different food with different spices and additives), as well as a hotel with a corridor.
There are no studies on the effect of people’s smells on mood!
I have not been able to find adequate studies that specifically track the relationship between depression (measured numerically by the Beck Scale or other metrics) and living with (or being around) people or animals. Also, I don’t understand at all why no one has tried to make an antidepressant based on the social effect. Current antidepressants (SSRIs and similar) have low effectiveness. I myself have been taking Trintellix for a year now, but (it feels like) it can’t compensate for the lack of people at all.
I have a dream – to learn to live alone and without depression, to find complete happiness and independence. If you develop this direction, you can save from 10 to 100 million rubles. When calculating, I took into account not only expenses on a girlfriend/wife/children, but also potentially lost profits due to a toxic and shitty environment. I am shocked by how many of my friends (both men and women) suffer abuse and inadequacy in relationships, go through bad divorces, pay alimony, try to please a girl by buying an expensive wedding or an iPhone, please a man through humiliation, endure betrayal and manipulation . All this could have been avoided if we broke the chains of dependence on people!
I will be very glad to hear any feedback on my article, both in comments and private messages, and by email (email@example.com). The more and more detailed you write, the better! I’d love to hear your unique techniques, theories, and life hacks that help you cope with loneliness. I really want to try something new and learn from your experience.