How to survive social distancing according to science

Social distancing won't be easy, but science shows us how to make it more manageable.

  • Social distancing asks us to repress our evolutionary desire for human contact and interaction.
  • Experts worry long periods of the practice will have unforeseen consequences on our mental health.
  • We look at seven ways to help us mitigate social distancing's harmful effects.
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How should you react to speech you disagree with?

Disagreements should not equal censorship.

  • Defending someone's right to speak does not mean that you have to agree with what they say. The correct response is not censorship, but more discussion.
  • Physician and sociologist Nicholas Christakis argues that in politics, defending the principle of a contested election is not the same as agreeing with or endorsing a candidate. "We should defend that principle even if we don't like the outcome of the vote."
  • The best way to test your ideas and beliefs is to argue them against someone with a different stance/point-of-view.


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Social isolation linked to higher levels of inflammation – new study

Loneliness may change how our body responds to stress.

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Being lonely or socially isolated can negatively affect your wellbeing. There is even research showing that it increase the risk of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and depression.

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The 'opposite of addiction' theory: How community can drive recovery

The path to sobriety isn't one that can be traveled alone, studies suggest.

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  • The theory that the opposite of addiction is community was introduced by author Johann Hari and has been backed up by mountains of evidence from various studies over the past few decades.
  • A 1993 study showed that a spouse/significant other's involvement in behavioral marital therapy "significantly improved" outcomes for recovering alcoholics.
  • A 2001 study on the effectiveness of group therapy for depression showed that there are times when the sense of community, togetherness, and compassion found in group therapy programs is much more helpful than individual therapy.
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How is diversity being weaponized?

Striving for diversity is honorable — but the focus should settle on something much deeper than phenotypic traits.

  • In efforts to achieve diversity, whether within workplace teams or elsewhere, leaders often focus on variation of identities regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, and physicality.
  • Evolutionary biologist Heather Heying urges that these efforts be taken a step further to focus on diversity of viewpoints and socioeconomic status — two forms of identity that are less apparent without thoughtful conversation.
  • Achieving diversity in these ways adds varying life experiences and opinions that enrich office or team culture and provide more innovative solutions.
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