The above article, written by former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in the Harvard Business Review, focuses on loneliness, the lack of social connection, as a "growing health epidemic."
Dr. Murthy reports that over 40 percent of Americans report feeling lonely, with research indicating that the real numbers may be even higher. People from all socioeconomic groups and ages suffer from loneliness, CEOs and students alike.
Research shows that loneliness is as toxic to our health and reduces lifespan as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. "[Loneliness] is also associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety." Dr. Murthy calls the human and economic cost of loneliness "profound."
We can be all part of strengthening social connections. Grab a cup of coffee with a friend. Stop by a coworker's cubicle and ask them about their weekend. Pick up the phone and call a friend or relative to simply say "hi."
Leave the cell phone behind. Listen attentively. Feel joy and the feeling of connection rise inside of you.