Who doesn’t love a loooong, steamy shower or luxuriating for hours in a soothing hot bubble bath?
If that question gave you the urge to immediately strip, hop in the tub and spend the next hour enveloped in a toasty cocoon of tranquil water; you may have a deeper issue than just a profound love of cleanliness.
You may be feeling lonely.
And, what is loneliness?
The Psychology Department at the University of Chicago defines it as:
“The distress that results from discrepancies between ideal and perceived social relationships.”
In other words, it’s about disappointment; you don’t feel as intimately connected to people, or as happy in their presence as you think you should and that upsets you.
Psychology Today points out that many factors affect how different people respond to loneliness, from how we regulate our emotions about isolation to the level of connection that we feel we need.
And it doesn’t always look the same for everyone. Sometimes it’s not as obvious as a person sighing while staring off into the distance and listening to depressing sappy country music.
Surprisingly, one of the key signs of loneliness isn’t feeling like you don’t have enough friends. Some people who experience loneliness are well connected socially, yet experience a feeling of isolation and disconnection from other humans.
A Long-Hot Shower or Bath Can Be An Indicator of Loneliness
According to the researchers at Yale University, people who take a long-hot shower or bath may do so to subconsciously ward off feelings of loneliness or social isolation.
“The lonelier a person is, the more showers and baths they take, the hotter the water, and the longer they stay under the water,” said psychologist John Bargh, PhD, a researcher at Yale University.
The research revealed that hot water in a bathtub or from a shower acts as a substitute for a companion and can actually dispel feelings of isolation and exclusion.
The study was able to uncover a fascinating truth: that feelings of social warmth or coldness can be sparked by experiences of physical warmth or coldness, and vice versa. In other words, if you want to make dinner out with acquaintances warm and less awkward — wear a warm, cozy sweater.
Even more interesting is the notion that something as simple as holding a glass of warm drink can make someone more trusting and generous towards others.