Plain English Plus+ Sample Lesson

Alone and lonely aren’t the same: navigating loneliness during a pandemic

Living in lockdown has unleashed a wave of loneliness
Loneliness is on the rise during pandemic
Whether you’re at-home quarantined with your family, alone in your apartment, or just seeing the same small group of people at work from six feet away, everyone is likely seeing fewer people than normal. Weeks of social isolation has caused a surge in feelings of loneliness, but scientists have some tips to make people feel less lonely. Plus, learn the English expression “set in.”
Also in Today's Lesson

2. Expression

Set in

When something “sets in,” it begins and is likely to continue for a while.

3. Video

4. Lingo

Under one roof

If a group of things or people are all “under one roof,” they are all at the same location.

Transcript

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The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions, including stress, fear, sadness, worry, and anxiety. Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof. At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted, meditating or doing yoga: these are ways to use solitude to your advantage. A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation, periods of solitude, cause anxiety. Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind. There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people—but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology.

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone—to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance, and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness; some simple isolation. Others might feel anger, resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable. Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief—the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair, hopelessness.

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker. Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness—things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses—of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation.

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially, make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more, they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components: a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums. These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap. We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

The difference between solitude and loneliness

Lesson summary

Why hello there, thanks for joining us for Plain English lesson number 262. I’m Jeff; JR is the producer; and the complete lesson can be found online at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Coming up today: We are living in unprecedented times—and for many people, that means unprecedented isolation from others. Today, we’ll talk about the difference between being alone (which can be good) and being lonely (which is not). The expression is “set in,” a difficult one today. And on the video lesson, we’ll be talking about how to say two things are true simultaneously; how to say two things are true at the same time. That’s the video lesson at PlainEnglish.com/262.

Differences between solitude and loneliness

The global pandemic is causing people around the world to feel a wide variety of emotions , including stress , fear , sadness , worry , and anxiety . Many of these are emotions that we feel, in one way or another, throughout the course of our lives. But one of the emotions unique to this pandemic (for a lot of people) is loneliness ; many of us are living through a period of physical isolation that we’ve never known before.

Loneliness is not the same as being physically isolated; not the same as being, well, alone. It is possible to feel lonely even in a huge crowd ; it’s possible to feel lonely even while living with a large family under one roof . At the same time, it’s possible to be alone a lot and not feel lonely at all. Let’s talk about the difference between these two—the difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Solitude is the word that describes being alone. Going for a long run, reading a book uninterrupted , meditating or doing yoga : these are ways to use solitude to your advantage . A lot of people are comfortable with solitude. Introverts like me—we like it. We derive energy from being alone. It helps clear our minds and gives us the energy we need to enjoy social situations in the future. For introverts, periods of solitude are like a special gift. It’s not all we want, but it is necessary for us to be happy. This certainly helps during a situation like the current pandemic.

Extroverts are different. For most extroverts, prolonged periods of isolation , periods of solitude, cause anxiety . Times like this take energy away from extroverts; they want to fill this time with contact.

In many ways, solitude is a state of mind . There are times when I’m out in public, surrounded by other people —but listening to noise-cancelling headphones at the gym or on public transit. At a time like that, as an introvert, I can still get the benefits of solitude, even while surrounded by people. An extrovert could spend a lot of time physically alone, but be happy by connecting with others through technology .

In normal times, we can regulate the amount of solitude we get—the amount of time being alone— to align with our needs and to make ourselves happy. The problem comes when a person can’t strike the right balance , and that’s when loneliness sets in.

Loneliness is about not getting the type or amount of social connections that you want to be getting. Some people will be happy with a lot of connection; others will be happy with less. Introverts and extroverts can experience loneliness because loneliness is less about the amount of connection and more about not getting the level that you need to be happy.

Different people experience loneliness differently. Some may feel sadness ; some simple isolation . Others might feel anger , resentment or jealousy toward others who are more sociable . Some might experience loneliness as a feeling of grief —the sense of sadness and loss you feel when a loved one has died. Others may feel despair , hopelessness .

These are not good emotions. Scientists have studied the negative health consequences of being lonely and they’ve found that it’s as bad for your physical health as being obese ; it may even be as bad as being a moderate smoker . Scientists have discovered physiological markers of loneliness —things in our bodies that correlate with feelings of isolation. Lonely people have low levels of a particular kind of blood cell that aids in fighting viruses —of all things. They also have more of another kind of cell that causes inflammation .

Having identified two physiological markers of loneliness, a team of scientists sought to discover any types of behaviors that would lower these physiological markers and, potentially , make people feel less lonely. They directed a sample of people to purposely do simple acts of kindness toward others, such as running an errand for an elderly neighbor. They found that lonely participants who did these acts of kindness not only felt less lonely afterward, but also had lower indications of loneliness in their blood. What’s more , they also found that doing random acts of online kindness—like donating to a gofundme campaign or writing a thank-you email—had similar effects.

Social components of PlainEnglish.com

We’re getting really close to our new web site—a week from today, it will come out. So now I thought I would tell you about the best feature of the new site, the one that I am most looking forward to, and that is the social feature. There are two components : a free component and a component that is going to be part of our membership.

Let’s start with the free component. People have asked and asked, almost since the beginning of Plain English, for a Facebook group. I didn’t love the idea at the beginning, but now I think we could really benefit from having a Facebook group just for Plain English listeners. So we will be opening one up and we will share the details of that with you shortly. That will be open to any Plain English listener on Facebook and it will be free.

There are two new huge benefits to Plain English Plus+ that I want to share with you. The first is our online forums . These are private discussion groups on PlainEnglish.com where you’ll be able to practice your writing and get answers to your questions in English. Those are the two objectives. A Facebook group is going to be more informal, more social. But in the Plain English forums, we’ll be giving you the prompts to practice writing in a longer and more thoughtful way. Secondly, you’ll have the chance to ask me anything in English—anything at all. This could be, asking for clarification about one of the video lessons, practicing an expression, or just asking me about something you saw elsewhere. And I’ll answer it for you in the forums. So that’s open to Plain English Plus+ members. We’ve had a select few members in there testing and I love how it has gone so far.

The second big benefit to Plus+ members will be live video calls. Two live video calls on Zoom will be included every month for Plus+ members. Those were really popular and I’m happy to be able to include them in the Plus+ membership.

So, to recap . We will be creating a free Facebook group for any Plain English listener. And we will have online practice forums and live video calls for Plus+ members. All that starting on June 1, 2020 at PlainEnglish.com.

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