Friday 28 April 2017

We're more connected today, but more lonely and atomised too

Research has found that loneliness is bad for our health. Photo: Getty Images.
Research has found that loneliness is bad for our health. Photo: Getty Images.
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Have you ever been lonely? Who hasn't? And now the boffins at the University of Chicago have concluded that loneliness can lead to ill-health – that you're more likely to die prematurely if you're lonely, more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, stress, the common cold and even HIV.

Being lonely is as bad for your health as being chronically obese. Loneliness may soon be compared to cigarette smoking for its deplorable impact on health. And at least you could say this for fags – the habit was companionable.

When the Catholic organisation, Opus Dei, was founded in 1936, a priest was deliberately selected to smoke cigarettes alongside working men. Unless a cleric smoked, he could never be part of ordinary life, it was deemed. They probably coughed a lot, but they weren't lonely.

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