Being Alone Is Bad For Your Mind, And Body

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Being Alone Is Bad For Your Mind, And Body

Being out in the wilderness with nothing but your own survival knowledge and a few key tools is a tough challenge for anyone. This is the premise of the HISTORY program "Alone." But a less obvious challenge comes along with surviving these conditions-the challenge of doing it, just as the title suggests, completely alone. Loneliness not only takes a toll on your mental health, but studies show that social isolation negatively affects your physical health too. Psychologists at University of Chicago and Ohio State University have done research that shows changes in the immune systems of socially isolated people. These changes can lead to a condition called chronic inflammation. Lonely people also have higher levels of cortisol, which, in high amounts, can cause inflammation and disease.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Loneliness can affect everything from how we feel, to how we sleep, to which genes are turned on or off in our DNA. 1:31

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    A study published in 1988 showed that social isolation could predict early death. 2:04

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    A recent study used hypnosis to manipulate the feelings of loneliness and found that when a participant was made to feel lonely he or she developed poor social skills. Loneliness caused people to feel shy, hostile, angry, socially uncomfortable, and depressed. What were once thought of as predetermining factors of loneliness turned out to be consequences. 8:06

Could You Survive Alone On An Island? Choose Your Tools

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Could You Survive Alone On An Island? Choose Your Tools

If you're going to survive on your own in the wilderness, your equipment is of the utmost importance. On HISTORY® "Alone," 10 survivalists must choose 10 items from a pre-approved list of gear before trying to last the longest in a solitary camp on Vancouver Island. Every contestant picked a saw, an ax, a ferro rod, and some kind of cooking vessel. Only some saw fit to bring a waterproof bivy bag for their sleeping bag, and there was variation in how much food they each packed. See how their choices differed, and watch the consequences of those choices play out beginning April 21 at 9 pm ET.

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from HISTORY®

Key Facts to Know

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    A bivy bag keeps your sleeping bag from getting wet in the wilderness. 0:19

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    A ferro rod is a tool that can reliably generate sparks to start a fire regardless of the outdoor conditions. 0:38

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    A straight-bladed saw allows for precise cuts during carpentry work or shelter-building. 1:05

The Most Isolated Human Being Ever

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The Most Isolated Human Being Ever

Al Worden really knows how to get away from it all. He was a pilot in the Air Force, then made a major career change in becoming an astronaut. Colonel Worden was the command module pilot on NASA'a Apollo 11 that landed on the moon on July 26, 1971. Worden returned from this historic mission on August 7, 1971. During this time, he became the record holder for the most isolated human being ever. While his companions were roaming around the lunar surface, Worden was floating in lunar orbit. The nearest human beings to Worden at that time were his companions, and they were 2,235 miles (3,600 km) away.

The Isolated Life Of The Lykov Family

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The Isolated Life Of The Lykov Family

After his brother was shot by a Communist patrol in 1936, Karp Lykov took his family into the Siberian wilderness. There they remained for 42 years, until a team of geologists stumbled upon their home. The geologists studied the landscape while learning about the family's survival methods and history. They shared news of civilization as well as technological advancements, including a television that the Lykovs found both frightening and entrancing.

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Key Facts to Know

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    In 1978, a team of geologists discovered the Lykov family in the Siberian wilderness after spotting a garden from their helicopter. 1:01

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    Karp Lykov was a member of the historically persecuted fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect called the Old Believers. 3:05

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    The Lykov family knew nothing about World War II or the Cold War, having retreated to the Siberian taiga in 1936. 4:08