Loneliness is universal. Throw a stone and you’ll find a person on the street who has, at some time in his or her life, experienced times of loneliness. Perhaps it was during a time you were looking for job and felt the difficulty of being away from an office environment. Or maybe it was a time when you moved to a new city and were struggling to find friends. Or after a bad breakup when you’re feeling down and out. No matter the circumstance, we’ve all been lonely. And until now, it never seemed like too much of a hassle. A new University of Chicago study, however, tells us that loneliness might be more concerning than we’d ever imagined.
John Cacioppo, the psychologist who completed the University of Chicago study found that loneliness can have dire effects on an individual’s physical health. Loneliness can affect the hardening of the arteries, memory, and even lead to high blood pressure. Read more about Cacioppo’s study here.
The question, then, becomes how it might be possible to avoid loneliness? The answer, for me, is networking. Networking is the universal loneliness combatant. You can network if you have a job or if you’re searching for a job, if you’re single or attached, if you’re new in town or have lived somewhere your entire life. You can always meet someone new, you can always network to expand your career and your circle of friends. Networking is always there. And if loneliness can cause hardening of the arteries, I think it’s safe to say that networking, adding to your circle, etc. will have the opposite effect. So the next time you’re lonely, get online and search for that next networking event in your city. It might just make you healthier!
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.