The Toxicity of Loneliness

It’s always a good time to share this video. Though it is slightly out of date, it is still the very best reminder of why coworking in a church makes so much sense.

Yes, we promote creativity.
Yes, we support productivity.
But the very most important thing we do in the coworking movement is to help you feel connected to other people.

Recently, our friend Cat Johnson posted:

An increasing number of studies are finding that loneliness has a profoundly negative effect on our well-being. University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo told Vox, “The level of toxicity from loneliness is stunning.”

A 2007 study found that the white blood cells of people suffering with loneliness appeared to be “stuck in a state of fear,” with chronic, systemic inflammation and suppressed activity in genes involved in fighting viruses.

This response to loneliness is similar to the physiological response to other chronic stress situations, including post-traumatic stress. Loneliness is also a huge stressor on the heart.

In fact, last year, the coworking movement launched an initiative to begin to remove the stigma around mental health illness.  CheckYoMate was inspired by the loss of a beloved coworking member, Bennett, who suffered from mental illness. Bennett unexpectedly passed away last year and left his community wondering if they could have done more.

Churches often struggle to foster the kinds of deep relationships that require more time than Sunday mornings allow. Even at our lowest point, we can often manage to fake a smile and get through the pleasantries of coffee and donuts before the service. And that’s not nothing! Even that glimpse of “normal” can be enough to inspire a troubled soul to make it through the week.

But if we can provide a daily gathering place where folks can drop their masks and be their authentic selves, it might just have a ripple effect that in turn inspires a partner, a family, a neighborhood . . . a world.


h/t to Cat Johnson. She is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking and community. She blogs about coworking and content at catjohnson.co and publishes the Coworking Out Loud Newsletter. We rely on her content all . . . the . . . time. Thanks, Cat!

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