Are you tired of feeling lonely? Unfortunately, loneliness is at an all-time high having an impact on our physical, spiritual, and emotional health. As heart-wrenching as this is, there are ways that we can combat this loneliness and feel more connected this year! Join me today as I dive into powerful statistics around loneliness, why building deeper connections can help us to feel less lonely, and 9 different mindsets to be aware of that further our isolation.
Finding connection in community is more important now than ever and if you need encouragement from a group of like-minded women, I invite you to apply for the “Onward + Upward” Group Coaching Experience. I created this program to help women with goal setting so that they can make the changes they want for God's glory. Learn more and apply today!
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- [00:54] Why Do We Need to Pay Attention to Loneliness?
- [03:09] The Greatest Gift of Community is Being Able to Make Change Together
- [05:39] Loneliness and Declining Social Connections
- [08:07] The Impact of Loneliness on Our Physical Health
- [09:55] How Does Social Media and Technology Influence Loneliness?
- [12:23] Building Deeper Connections to Fulfill Our Need for Community
- [16:00] 9 Different Mindsets That Further Our Isolation
- [21:39] True Community Requires Vulnerability
- [22:41] APPLY NOW: The “Onward + Upward” Group Coaching Experience – The Most Effective Change Happens Within Community
- [25:52] A Prayer For This Year
[00:54] Why Do We Need to Pay Attention to Loneliness?
This may feel like a heavy topic for the first day of the new year, but for so many of us, there is an undertone of loneliness beneath the things we desire in our lives – such as authentic connection and wanting to be seen and heard. To change our lives on a deeper level, we need to address deeper issues. More and more people have been feeling alone and loneliness has been on the rise for quite some time now. It has been impacting us in many different ways and we need to pay attention to it so we can break the habits and build more connections. I hope you can take what you read today and use it to think about what is going to move the needle for you this year so you can embrace deeper connections and less loneliness.
[03:09] The Greatest Gift of Community is Being Able to Make Change Together
One of the greatest gifts of community is being able to make change together and individually. Having accountability, the ability to understand and relate to others, and realizing that you are not the only one who is going through something, often helps us get over the hump of wanting to change, to make the change.
The “Onward + Upward” Group Coaching program is specifically for women who are looking to make a change this year. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a group of supportive women in your corner to encourage you through change, along with the priceless direction of an experienced, certified Christian coach. If you are looking to start a new habit, hobby, want to set a boundary, are pursuing a big dream of yours, or are in a season of transition – having a community rallying behind you can be so helpful.
Willpowering your way through obstacles is not the way that you make change. We all need support and a community to help us. If you want to feel less alone and more connected in community as you go for the big dreams that God has put on your heart, make sure to apply for Onward + Upward now.
[05:39] Loneliness and Declining Social Connections
The US Surgeon General released a report on loneliness and social connection in March of 2023. First, the fact that they even released a report on this topic shows how much of an impact it has on society.
According to this report, only 39% of adults in the US felt as if they were very connected to others. Surveys have also found that young adults and senior adults were the two outlying groups that experienced the most isolation and lack of connection. This report also said that trust in each other and major institutions is at a near-historic low. In 1972, 45% of Americans felt that they could reliably trust other Americans and in 2016, this shrank to 30%. In other words, as we become more polarized and less trusting of the people around us, our connection has diminished as well.
The report also shows that the number of close friendships has also declined over several decades. Among people not reporting loneliness or social isolation, nearly 90% have 3 or more confidants. In 2021, 49% of Americans reported having 3-4 close friends and only about a quarter reported the same in 1990. As we can see, there has been a slow decline in social connections.
[08:07] The Impact of Loneliness on Our Physical Health
Loneliness also impacts our physical health. The CDC found that social isolation significantly increases a person's risk of premature death from all causes. They also found that social isolation was associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease, and a 32% increased risk of stroke. Loneliness was also associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. The last statistic I want to bring to our attention is that loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with nearly 4x increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
The statistics show that mental health has a giant impact on not only our emotional health but our physical health as well. Our ability to connect with other people has a dramatic effect on how our entire body functions.
[09:55] How Does Social Media and Technology Influence Loneliness?
If you have a hard time trusting others because you have been hurt, I get it. I believe that we have a culture that is built on keeping us isolated and in our own little genres. Our social media feeds are geared specifically towards us individually and when you create a society that is immersed in its own specific bubble, it is going to cause more polarization. This leads to more “us vs them” conversations and breeds isolation. We all have this feeding of specific information coming to us every day and we get to choose what we listen to and what we turn off.
We also have a culture that has everything we need within a smartphone and our own four walls. This has increased because of COVID and many people are now working from home which is both a blessing and something that is working against us.
At the end of the day, we are still human. We are biologically wired by the Lord to seek out a safe space where we can be vulnerable, be ourselves, and know that we are not alone in what we are feeling. Brain science says that when it comes to something risky, we are going to go towards the least challenging obstacle. So if it is “easier” to stay in our own bubble and not put ourselves out there, we are going to stay there unless we intentionally say “I want to live differently.”
[12:23] Building Deeper Connections to Fulfill Our Need for Community
Having a community sounds great but for many of us, we have not found a group where we feel known, seen, or appreciated. If we have been hurt, we are staying safe, not getting involved, and feel as if nothing is the right fit. Many of us are looking for people to connect with but we are sitting on the sidelines waiting for people to come to us. Sitting back and waiting for people to come to you might be part of your personality, it might have been how you were raised, or it may be because you were hurt – but we have to put ourselves out there if we want a change.
We need to have the mindset that there are good people everywhere who want to grow and connect with us. Our society is built to make surface-level connections but what we are craving is true support, accountability, and to serve and love each other when we need it most. This kind of connection fights loneliness. Today, I am asking you to be someone who seeks out that kind of connection and who also provides that kind of connection for someone else!]
[16:00] 9 Different Mindsets That Further Our Isolation
There are several mindsets that we believe that further our isolation. As I mention these 9 mindsets, make a note of which ones apply to you and how that impacts your feelings of disconnection.
- “I am the only one who feels like I do” – When we say this, we often feel like no one is like us so they cannot understand.
- “I'm odd, there is something wrong with me.” – We do not want to expose this about ourselves so we feel isolated.
- “No one cares about me or what I have to say.” – We might feel as if we should not share anything because it does not matter. You might have shared something in the past and people did not care so this led you to not wanting to open up again.
- “I have nothing to offer.” – We feel like we do not have a voice to contribute or that what we have to say is helpful.
- “Why would anyone want to know me?” – We do not feel like anyone wants to see the baggage that is inside of us.
- “If they only knew this thing about me, then they would want nothing to do with me.” – We do not want to take the risk of being hurt so we are closed off and don’t let others get to know us.
- “I'm too busy.” – We all have things that we are doing but we have to ask ourselves “What are we busy with?” and is that getting us to where we want to go?
- “I've been burned too many times by female friends.” – This happens to so many women who have been in self-serving groups where the other women are not supportive. Then you leave with the mindset that you do not want to deal with this again so you stay in your own lane so you do not have to worry about it. There is no shame in staying in your own lane but there is a difference between healing with God and avoiding the situations. I have been through healing around this and God has directed me to people that I love and respect. I am now surrounded by people who encourage and lift each other up. I have been burned too, so I get it. It is okay to step away with the intention of God healing you, but we are not meant to live forever in isolation. If we let God heal us, we will come back stronger.
- “People are only out for themselves.” – We may have been part of a group where people were only out for themselves and this can keep us from being part of another.
These are all very real mindsets that we can tell ourselves to stay stuck in the safety and amenity of being in our own lane with Jesus. But we cannot allow those to keep us from coming together because we were designed to work together in community. We need to take control and action on this in our lives!
[21:39] True Community Requires Vulnerability
I want to let you know that while yes, there is a risk of getting hurt when you are vulnerable, true community requires vulnerability. True community requires an atmosphere of not needing to act a certain way to be part of the group. There has to be space for messiness.
I know that it is much easier and less energy to stay in our own lane, not talk to people, not reach out, just stay on our phones, and be in our own world. But what is the spiritual, emotional, or physical benefit of this? And what is the emotional healing that can happen when we are around other people? We have to go from hearing about these concepts to moving towards building them into our lives.
[22:41] APPLY NOW: The “Onward + Upward” Group Coaching Experience – The Most Effective Change Happens Within Community
It is possible to make change on our own, but statistically, the most effective change is in community. It happens when we know that we have a group of people that are supporting us, holding us accountable, who are there are tough days, and are there to encourage us when we want to give up. This is why I created the “Onward + Upward” Group Coaching Experience and will be creating other exciting things for women who are craving community.
If you are someone who is tired of living the way you are, tired of things being the same way, tired of never taking action, and tired of wanting to make your dreams happen but are stuck in the muck of everyday life – this program is for you! I am investing in this community because I want to see women make a change and I have seen this kind of community make lasting changes in my life. I want to be able to pay that forward and help women make the changes that they want for God's glory.
The ultimate thing that we can do in our lives is to live for God. He has created you with purpose on purpose, but are you living on purpose? Or have you allowed things to get pushed to the side? Is God touching your heart about things that are exciting and saying, “Dream with me, daughter, let me show you what could be”?
If there are things like that in your life, then this group could be something that could be monumental in creating change. If you are in the middle of a life transition, want to start a new habit or hobby, or if there is some sort of big goal or dream that God has put on your heart and you are ready to step into the life He wants for you, then I encourage you to apply!
[25:52] A Prayer For This Year
God has big things ahead for each of us and no matter what happens, we get to decide how we are going to walk through it. We have to have a Kingdom perspective on everything that comes our way this year. And I wanted to end with a prayer to start 2024:
“Lord, thank you so much for every single woman listening. Thank You for how you have made her. Thank You for the talents you have given her and the passions that are in her heart. I pray that You would reach out and bring encouragement and blessing to those who are hurting, who feel lonely, and who feel left behind. I pray You would speak to that woman today. I pray that she would know she has never been forgotten by You, that you hold her future in the palm of Your hand, and that this year, You want her to move forward on those things in her heart.
I pray you would give her the courage to call that new person she just met and say, “Hey, you want to have coffee?” Or to take an afternoon or an hour to write down some of the things that could be in this year. Or maybe to take that first step toward what that dream could be, that boundary she needs to put in place, that new hobby or that thing she's always wanted to try. I pray that she would say, “Today is the day I am going to sit down and write about it, pray about it, and call a friend to tell them about this.”
Lord, I pray that You would call in those women who need connection and want to be a part of the “Onward + Upward” Group Coaching program. You brought in so many amazing women so far and I am so excited about them. I am trusting You to bring in the rest and create this incredible container for You to be able to speak and encourage Your daughters to do great things for this kingdom. Lord, we love You. I thank you God that you are righteous, You are in control, and that every day we can choose You above the difficulty of our circumstances. Lord, we love you. Amen.”
OTHER RELATED EPISODES:
APPLY NOW: Onward + Upward Group Coaching Starts in Early 2024!
Would you like accountability as support as you make big changes in your life, pursue a dream or seek God for what's next in this season?
Imagine if you could have 12 weeks of one-on-one coaching support and caring community to help you confidently create a step-by-step action plan to meet your goals, work through the obstacles along the way, and grow spiritually as you seek God's best plans for your life!
“Onward + Upward” Group Coaching Experience is the perfect mix of 1:1 coaching with Alicia and group teaching/support. It's a great if you're looking for:
–personalized guidance from a trained Christian coach
–accountability and encouragement to overcome obstacles
–help hearing God's voice and establishing priorities in this unique season
–practical tools to work through inner fears and increase Christ-centered confidence
NOTE: Space is extremely limited and is by application only. If you're interested, don't wait!
Apply now at VibrantChristianLiving.com/coaching