PULSE: In the News

Sanjay Gupta: Just Say Hello

CNN's Sanjay Gupta joins forces with Gayle Kinf of "O,The Oprah Magazine" 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.

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,'...it 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.”