Washington: Are you feeling lonely? Then go for a hot bath as a study has found that taking a long soak in the tub can help combat feelings of isolation and exclusion.

The U.S. research has suggested that the warm water acts as a substitute for company.

Victims of loneliness take warm baths and showers subconsciously to ward off their feelings.

Researchers at Yale University asked a group of 400 volunteers aged 18 to 65 to keep a diary of their bathing habits and note down how they felt before and after.

As a follow-up study, they recorded levels of loneliness after handing volunteers cold and warm therapeutic packs to hold, confirming the link between physical warmth and social warmth that comes from being around friends and family.

They claimed that the association is hardwired into our brains from infancy, which may explain why comfort is often sought in hot drinks and soup.

"Warm physical experiences were found to significantly reduce the distress of social exclusion," the Daily Mail quoted the study published in the psychology journal.

"'The lonelier we get, the more we substitute the missing social warmth with physical warmth," added the study.