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February 20th, 2014
04:24 PM ET

"Piers Morgan Live, Rewind": Gayle King of "O, The Oprah Magazine" joins forces with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the science of loneliness, and the value of "Just Say Hello"

Whether you fell asleep early, stayed out too late, or simply want to watch it again, we realize it's not always possible to get your entire "Piers Morgan Live" fix from television. As an answer to this, we offer the below labor of love – "Piers Morgan Live, Rewind" – dedicated and designed to getting you caught up and connected to the conversation.

  • Gayle King of "O, The Oprah Magazine" joins forces with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the science of loneliness

It’s the type of thing that no one wants to talk about – feeling lonely.

“They don’t say that they are lonely because you think, 'if I say 'I'm lonely', you think 'I'm a loser', you think 'I don't have any friends', you think nobody likes me, you think 'what's wrong me',” said Gayle King, editor-at-large of "O, The Oprah Magazine."

King told Piers Morgan that this is precisely why the magazine chose the topic of loneliness, and, literally, she is not alone.

Both King, who anchors "CBS This Morning," and CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta were joined by Oprah Winfrey (via Skype) on Wednesday's "Piers Morgan Live," as the trio looked to break down the walls of isolation that restrict so much of the population.

“So when he [Gupta] brought this idea to us and said, 'If we could just encourage people to talk to each other,' was so in the DNA of the magazine,” said King, before noting that “Oprah is all about connecting people.”

"#JustSayHello" is the new social media and face-to-face movement that is as simple as its name. Lead by Oprah, the initiative centers around encouraging everyone, as the name implies, to just say hello, or greet a stranger, an old friend, or anyone at all.

Recent studies found that those suffering from loneliness are at a higher risk for early death as compared to those falling victim to excessive alcohol use, obesity and pollution. But what does the condition look like?

“When we see somebody who is suffering maybe from loneliness, just someone who is off to themselves, doesn't seem to be really be interacting in some way, we usually tend to avoid even more,” Gupta said.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent told Morgan that he's found that other serious conditions, which are more physically recognizable, are ultimately more likely to encourage people to come over and try to help.

“Thinking about this issue was in many ways thinking about what anybody could do to try and combat something that we see every day,” said Gupta, a neurosurgeon. “And, you know, as a doctor, I was sort of realizing that if someone had a cardiac arrest for example, you might know to go over and start pumping on their chest.”

This conclusion yielded a daunting question: what was the CPR for loneliness?

At the core, meanwhile, is there a difference between feeling sad and feeling lonely?

Gupta called this condition “situational loneliness”, and described it in detail:

“There is this concept that you know that that's going to end at some point. There's only – it's going to end at some point for those people,” said Gupta. “And that's a very different sort of blush on loneliness versus people who just don't have any light at the end of the tunnel. They don't see this getting better anytime soon.”

Meanwhile Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD,) while serious, has some specific differences from ongoing loneliness, which remains the central focus of #JustSayHello.

“When you have shorter days, you're more likely to give, you know, not as a brighter mood that could contribute to this but again, that goes away,” Gupta said.

Gupta told Morgan “the point of the whole campaign is just to make a connection with someone, someone that you know and you haven't talked to in a while or more importantly someone that you don't know that you think could use - that could use some engagement.”

As it turns out, meanwhile, there could be more years added to both participants of a “Good Morning” message.

“This is also for the people who are saying hello, as well. People receive the greeting but also the greeters themselves,” said Gupta. “You're empowered. You've done something for someone. You've done that chest compression.”

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Alinde O'Malley

    I really enjoyed this show (except that I did turn it off–a lonely person myself.) But I want to add–I retired ito Mexico, and one thing I still love so much about this country is that people DO say "Hello" (aka "Buenas Dias") to strangers. It always cheers me up, and makes me glad I live here.

    February 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Judy

      I think the truly lonely people in this world need a lot more than Oprah's superficial, "Just say hello." Seems Oprah is out of touch.

      February 20, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lucy

      Don't you think it's more than a hello from a stranger that cheers you up? Lack of communication from ones family is the root cause of loneliness.

      February 21, 2014 at 4:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Pat Ottinger

    A group of us get together to decorate tray liners for a local hospital. we make small cards to put on the trays.The card might say "thinking of you." Have a great day, Hope this puts a little sunshine in your day. Some patients have written to the hospital saying how much it meant to them. It is only a small gesture but there are times when the little things mean a lot.

    February 20, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mary

    Depression has caused me to break away from my family. i have estranged them. I have countless FB friend. I am very ill & no one knows this. I am lonely.

    February 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mom Cares

    When will mental health workers see the importance of keeping the family together than breaking it apart? We need family unity.

    " More people are lonelier today because of the changes that have occurred in contemporary society — busier, more hectic lives, more divorces, more single-parent homes, more people remaining single for longer or not marrying at all. Family and friendship ties aren’t as strong anymore and because of this fewer people have someone who they can rely on and confide in."

    February 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Karen

    Genuine happiness is free and can be found in simple acts or things.

    My son KJ, and I had a rough start one morning and ended up leaving the house late. KJ spilled cereal all over his school shirt, and because it was a Friday, he did not have a clean uniform shirt in his closet, so I had to dig into the laundry basket and pull out the cleanest of his dirty school shirts. The dog did not want to get out of the house and into the cold to relieve himself in the backyard, and when I served him breakfast, he sniffed the food and tipped his bowl over. With all this happening, there was no way that I was going make my regularly scheduled express bus ride to the office, but there was still hope for the following bus—which was also the last bus in the morning. If I missed that one, the next bus was scheduled to run at one o’clock that afternoon.
    I walked KJ into his classroom and quickly helped him take off his coat, hat, and gloves. He didn’t like that I was rushing things, and just when I about to open my mouth to let him understand what a rough morning it had been, one of his classmates, Drew, came up to me and said, “You look beautiful today.” 
    He then planted an itty-bitty kiss on the back of my hand, and the stress that I was carrying made an immediate exit from my body. With the stress gone, my posture was no longer stooped; my chest was pushed forward; and my shoulders and buttocks were pulled back. I thought to myself: “Why am I in a hurry? The last express bus to downtown is scheduled to leave in twenty minutes. It only takes me eight minutes to get to the parking lot assigned for the bus commuters.”
    I gave KJ a big hug and apologized for the crazy morning. I then took time to look at various pieces of work that were pinned on the wall. I noticed a few errors and unfinished work on some of KJ’s pieces, so I pulled out some crayons from my handbag and made adjustments while the teacher was not looking. As I was putting the crayons back into my handbag, I heard, “You look beautiful today.”
    I smiled as I looked up and turned around, expecting Drew to be complimenting me again.
    “Drew, you are so kind,” I started to say. As I was about to thank him again, there he was, planting a kiss on the back of the hand of a mum who was dropping off her child in the class. I watched her smile and sashay out of the class. Next, a father and his daughter walked in. Drew went up to the man and repeated the same words! The man even had a little swagger as he walked out of the class.
    As my earlier feelings of crappiness hit my body again, my posture quickly resumed its stoop; my smile turned upside down and changed my mood. My mind was telling me to run up to the man with the swagger and let him know that every parent coming through the classroom was being paid the same compliment by Drew.
    After getting over myself, I could not help but imagine that several parents were going to have an awesome day because Drew planted a kiss on their hands and said those beautiful words to them. I had to remind myself of how I felt when he said the four special words to me. Next time, I will be sure to run out the door as soon as I am paid a compliment.

    Author: The Kid, The Single Mum and the (crazy) Community

    February 21, 2014 at 7:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bill Bokamper

    Dear Piers,

    "Just say 'hello' strikes me as a very shallow response to a severe problem in our society. The loneliness comes out of a
    dog-eat-dog society set up by Calvinist Puritans so that it would be revealed who is saved, (the wealthy), and who is damned, (the poor). What is needed in America and the West is community: Community enterprize, county-communities of local labor, business, and government working for the good of their community. -County communities with river and creek basin borders, a worldwide system, with 13 regional UNs, (major river and ocean basin borders), to keep the peace. This would not only resolve loneliness, but save us from the consequences of nationalism armed with hydrogen bombs.

    February 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kamila

      Thank you Bill. This was another shallow minded rubbish like wearing the pink bow for Cancer. Does any one know the percentage collected actually goes into cancer resurch? Loneliness is caused by break up of family values. Estrangement & depression is the highest in United States. This is an epidemic no one is talking about. The stupid " Elevator Pitch Theory" studied in communication class back fired & the parents are out of pocket & estranged young children.

      February 21, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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