In this presentation by Tracy Spiaggia, she talks about why we are so lonely and what it is that's missing. As a mental health coach, Tracy shares what we can do to achieve the change we want to see in our lives.
It seems like everywhere we look, people are talking about how lonely they feel. According to studies, loneliness is on the rise and can be considered an epidemic. But what is loneliness and why are we so susceptible to it? And more importantly, what can we do to change ourselves so that we don't feel so alone? In this blog post, we'll explore all of these questions and more. So, if you're feeling lonely, read on – you might find some answers here.
All of us, we have areas in our life that we want to change or we want to improve. It's why millions of us at any given point are involved in change-related programs or reading self-help books or blogs, or we're constantly trying to self-improve. However, it's hard.
How many times have we recommitted to all the common things? “I'm gonna join the gym. I swear this year is gonna be different. I'm gonna start eating better, I'm gonna drink less.” This is a human issue, not an education or knowledge issue.
Change Is Hard
As we get older, change gets more and more difficult partly because we've become steeped in the way that we think, and it's our thoughts that drive our behavior.
It's discouraging when we set our sights on self-improvement and we don't attain that. That’s why partnership and accountability are so important.
Our mindset is everything. It makes up our entire lives. It's the stories we tell ourselves and the core beliefs we hold. Change is hard mainly because we haven't fully explored these things, righted what was “wrong” or unhelpful. We haven't rewritten our stories from the past. We haven't adopted or even identified our values and then behave from those spaces.
But once we’ve accomplished this challenging journey of self-confrontation, we’re ready to change FOR GOOD (finally) and FOR GOOD (for the sake of love).
This is the work that Tracy does - helping people self-confront, look in a mirror and say, “okay, let's do this thing”.
What are the ingredients necessary for change?
- The positive mindset committed to the entire process of transformation, which is incredibly uncomfortable, but beautiful.
- Identify with specificity, the problem or the issue at hand.
- Get crystal clear on the reason why you're trying to attain transformation or change
- Define with clarity any potential solutions
- Develop your S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Specific, Measured, Actionable, Realistic, and Timed)
"It's really important that our goals be outlined in the S.M.A.R.T. way. We need to get those practical pieces in place and try to strategize to set ourselves up for success as much as possible. Our goals should always be rooted in that anchor of why. Then we try to measure our progress. And that's part of the work that I do as well. I work with my clients, we try to measure, and usually, the progress is incremental."
When you're in the process of metamorphosis, it's hard to discern whether or not you've made progress. Part of Tracy’s job is to illuminate for you all of the positive changes that are taking place over time.
The Missing Ingredient
However, inevitably that critical missing ingredient is relationship. We are relational creatures and we need each other to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, there's an ironic phenomenon happening in our present day that's sabotaging this inerrant infallible and inherent need.
Isolation and Loneliness Epidemic
If you do some research, you'll see straight away that there are plenty of studies and surveys out there confirming the growing percentage of people in the world. Despite this ironic connection, we're more and more lonely, more and more isolated. Loneliness has been equated by experts to the modern-day cigarette causing as much, if not more health damage, than something like a cigarette can do.
The Irony of the Social Media Explosion
We've got 4.7 billion social media users worldwide and yet by every account and every metric, were the loneliest we've ever been. How could this be?
Why Are We So Lonely?
We should feel more connected than ever but the opposite is actually true. It's because, on these platforms, we're inundated with depictions of perfect lives, filtered faces, and endless happiness. But if you're paying attention, you know that this isn't the case.
“If you see the same headlines that I do, suicide rates are skyrocketing. Addictions of all kinds are plaguing us like never before. Consumer debt is at its highest. Divorce rates continue to climb both in and outside of faith communities.”
There are lots of headlines that actually debunk the idea that we are more connected than ever.
Your Ticket Off The Crazy Train
Self-doubt could be the largest cancer in our spiritual self.
What comprises self-doubt is comparison added with loneliness added with the desire to change, but lacking those affirming relationships. However, this entire equation changes when we ADD those affirming relationships and we bring people into our lives and into our efforts that will cheer us on as we go.
The pervasive sense of “unrelatability”, disconnectedness and superficial relationships make positive change very difficult.
It's not just a consumer mentality either. Part of our success and sense of worth and contribution is being that support for others; hence the need for community. We also need to be the ones championing people. So that it's not just being the recipient and the consumer of that support, it's also being the giver of that support. That is our hard wiring. Whether we want to embrace or acknowledge that, or not, it is true. And when we are disconnected, we feel that frustration. We feel the loneliness, we feel the shame, and we feel that we don’t belong.
There are countless experts in all types of fields who confirm the need for accountability, and genuine support and relationship to help us move out of ruts.
“This is just an example from one of the best books I've ever read, Sleep Smarter. Shawn Stevenson is a brilliant man in this health and wellness space, and he was working with a client who just could not get over a very severe caffeine addiction. But once they partnered in this professional relationship, she was able to overcome that and remove something that was actually causing some very significant health challenges in her life.’
If family or close friends are not able or willing to be the support system that we need, we attempt to adopt new habits and behaviors, but what other choices do we have?
We can join interest groups or clubs as a way to connect, but really, is that enough?
Tracy believes that what we are all starving for is a TRUE connection - relationships that are deep and trustworthy. We want the sense of being seen as we are all created for greatness and big and small things, and without one another, it's almost impossible to experience that.
As a mental health coach, this is what Tracy does. She partners with people predominantly mothers and children for the sake of the health of the family and the thriving of the relationships inside that nuclear family. Tracy partners with them to identify the areas in their lives that are really sabotaging not just their health, but their well-being.
She tries to reverse engineer and kind of goes back to the earliest point when a specific issue becomes an issue. She tries to identify those root causes and then becomes an architect of a new way out and a better way to live.
People with anxiety disorders and mental health problems are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor, and six times more likely to be hospitalized. They are in the medical model more than the average person.
And unfortunately, the medical model doesn't really provide the space to be heard, to be seen for your story, to really be unfolded before an expert who's willing to hold unbiased space to listen.
It's not necessarily a criticism or a knock on the medical system. They are there for their swim lane, and they do it beautifully, and they're brilliant human beings. It's not a knock to the system, it's really an additive because there's another swim lane to being healthy. And that is seeking out professionals like Tracy who can hold that space and listen to your story. A professional with the education and training to be able to discover root causes, extract those, and replace those toxic beliefs that led to the behaviors with more healthy edifying behaviors.
The Missing Link
Tracy believes that it's the relationship that is missing to the success stories of all of us experiencing better lives.
"We start with the physical. We take a deep dive into the diet, sleep, exercise, and lifestyle. We take a look at lab markers for necessary supplementation. And once we can get some of that chronic inflammation down, not just in the body, but also in the brain, people are able to actually hear the message of, ‘there's a beautiful life waiting for you, and here's how we can get you there’. It's an amazing journey. It's an incredible privilege to be invited into the privacy of people's intimate stories, and I love it.”
This is all about our mindset. We get our minds strong. We guard ourselves against doubt, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, and selfishness, and consider how we can best love and support those around us. Then we will in turn receive that from them.
The way that we think informs the way we behave, informs our reputation, and informs our legacy.
“And I would love to take just one minute to just honor Dennis. I know that we are all just trying to put our heads down and continue on through our lives. Maybe in the quietness and privateness of our own lives, we've considered him and prayed for his family. But this is the brevity of life and it is about relationships, and it is really, really hard to be in an intimate, close, genuine, authentic relationship with another human being.
When our bodies are sick, we're never more self-focused than when we feel ill. That's why we are trying to remove those symptoms from a core, a root cause. In a root cause way giving that person a longstanding resolution. They then can access the soul. It's almost like the body is the least version of ourselves. And we can't access our higher selves while that kind of meat suit is not doing very well.
That's why I'm really passionate about helping people resolve chronic symptoms so that they can access the soul to live a really rich and meaningful life. We don't know how long we have here, and relationship and love are the reason you're drawing breath right now. I just try to help people be the best lover of themselves and lovers of other people that I possibly can. And that is who I am and what I do.”
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