Historically, philosophers, artists, and spiritual leaders have extolled the benefits of solitude; currently, advice on how to achieve solitude is the subject of many popular books and articles. Seldom, however, has solitude been studied by psychologists, who have focused instead on the negative experiences associated with being alone, particularly loneliness. Solitude, in contrast to loneliness, is often a positive state—one that may be sought rather than avoided. In this article, we examine some of the benefits that have been attributed to (...) solitude—namely, freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality. In subsequent sections, we consider the environmental settings and personality characteristics conducive to solitude, how time spent alone is experienced differently across the life span, and the potential dangers related to the attractiveness of solitude. We conclude with a brief discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of solitude. (shrink)
It is easy to envision marked progress in biological and physiological approaches to emotion, due to technological advances in imaging and other recording techniques. The future of social-constructionism appears more hazy: Progress will likely depend as much on new ideas as on new empirical discoveries. The most fruitful breeding ground for new ideas is where disciplines meet. Hence, the contributors to this special section represent diverse disciplines: biology, computer science, and the arts, as well as areas more traditionally associated with (...) the social construction of emotion, for example, interpersonal relations, cultural influence, and individual development. (shrink)
Spiritual experiences are characterized by a sense of vitality, connectedness, and meaning. Although often experienced within a religious context, spirituality is not dependent on a religious belief system or other ideology. The psychological mechanisms that help mediate spiritual experiences are analyzed, and the relation of spirituality to anxiety and depression is examined. Spirituality, it is often claimed, is a way of knowing as well as a way of feeling; that claim is rejected. However, spirituality is related to creativity and hence (...) to science and the acquisition of knowledge. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
The sharing of emotional experiences, whether in face-to-face interactions or anonymously through written communications, can influence a person's psychological and physical well-being. The mediating mechanisms are, however, poorly understood. The present comment concerns ambiguities that may result when concepts from ordinary language, such as emotion, cognition, and related metaphors, are applied to presumed mediating mechanisms.