Loneliness comes in many shapes and forms. There's also a difference between loneliness and isolation. It's predicted that by 2030, the leading cause of death is going to be mental health problems, and loneliness is a huge factor when it comes to mental health. With the pandemic, lockdowns, and Zoom meetings face-to-face interaction has been reduced even more.
Dr. Bill Howatt has over 30 years experience in mental health, addictions, HR, and leadership. He's published over 400 articles and 40 books. His latest book is The Cure For Loneliness, and it's all about feeling connected and escaping isolation. Feeling connected to others is good for our mental health. There is also a wide spectrum of connections from a simple smile from a stranger to a hug from a relative.
His book is a step-by-step workbook to help readers move away from isolation and loneliness. We dive into some of the principles in his book and talk about different forms of loneliness. We talk about how you can be lonely even if you're in a relationship. We talk about isolation. We tackle some of the problems that are being exacerbated by the recent pandemic, and Dr Howatt shares some solid advice on how to conquer loneliness and improve our mental health.
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Bill Howatt thank you so much for being here!
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[02:23] Bill is excited about his new English bulldog puppy, Link.
[03:13] Jeffrey shares startling statistics from Bill's new book. Loneliness can reduce longevity by 70%.
[03:40] Bill has been seeing patients for over 30 years. Loneliness has been seen as more of a symptom and doesn't meet any of the criteria of mental illness.
[04:25] Bill talks about the difference between loneliness and isolation and different types of loneliness.
[04:53] By 2030, the leading cause of death is going to be mental health problems. What predicts mental health?
[07:11] People in relationships where they don't feel valued become lonely. In a relationship, both people need to opt into it and choose each other.
[07:59] Loneliness comes in all different shapes and forms.
[09:44] The pandemic has actually eliminated the fragility of human beings in that we actually need social connections. We have lost our micro interactions from eating at restaurants to working in an environment surrounded by other people.
[13:57] Bill shares a story about a conversation with his dad which illuminates how mental blocks can stop us.
[16:46] Our emotional brains don't use logic. We are often wrong and form false conclusions. Our brains will learn our negative thoughts.
[19:12] Lonely people either retrench and push people away or become like a workaholic and hide their emotions.
[20:09] Reframing feelings of loneliness. We aren't looking for social connections when we're in work mode, but when we come out of work mode we are.
[20:51] People need people. Lonely people don't know how to close the connection gap and meet their needs.
[22:55] Zoom and social media are more of a bridge during the pandemic.
[23:15] We often look for happiness on the outside. We need to build relationships with ourselves, so people can build relationships with us.
[23:44] The key to moving away from loneliness is developing self resiliency and compassion towards ourselves. Happiness means we need to be comfortable in our skin.
[24:23] There's nothing humans get more excited about than having a social interaction with someone who they deeply value.
[25:09] Introverts still like being around people; they just get a charge from being able to reflect on the day.
[25:56] Extroverts need people to charge where introverts need solitude to charge.
[27:48] Many people are experiencing a perceived isolation from COVID-19, and they don't know what to do with it.
[28:59] There can be a conflict if you only have one person to give you your charge.
[29:18] The relationship matrix.
[33:00] You have to be intentional about your mental health just like you need to be intentional with your exercise.
[34:18] If you give away more than your relationship matrix requires without getting back, you can be lonely. Prioritize yourself.
[34:53] If you're experiencing current feelings of loneliness, put it into context. What is loneliness? What is isolation? Where are you today? Where do you fit in on the relationship matrix? What can you do today? What will the result be?
[38:00] If you're in the absence of hope or you don't see a future, it's time to reach out for help.
[39:14] Bill's book is based on a cognitive behavioral approach to help people. It's a preventative approach. It's meant to help people have a journey to move away from loneliness or just to improve their relationships.
[40:44] Find out what super healthy habit that we all should be doing sustains Bill in the rapid round.
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Host Jeffrey Shaw is a Small Business Consultant, Brand Management Consultant, Business Coach for Entrepreneurs, Keynote Speaker, TEDx Speaker and author of LINGO and The Self Employed Life (May 2021). Supporting self-employed business owners with business and personal development strategies they need to create sustainable success.