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Overcoming Loneliness

Do you feel lonely? Have you ever been surrounded by people but you don’t feel like you connect with them, whether they are friends from school or from work or even family? What they’re saying doesn’t really resonate with you anymore?

Have you started wondering that the way you live life, the people you hang out with, the activities you do, used to make sense, but it feels like maybe it doesn’t make so much sense anymore? Or that it’s just getting a bit old, boring, mundane? Do you feel like there’s a different way of living, of being, and you haven’t quite worked out what it is yet? You can almost see it or feel it, you know it’s there but you don’t quite know how to get there.

Maybe you’re in a relationship and you’re just not connecting in the same way with your partner anymore. You used to get along so well and had so much fun together, and now time has passed, it’s not quite the same. Maybe you’ve had kids or you’re in a different job or it’s been a while and you’re just comfortable, so you don’t connect in the same way anymore. You find yourself on your phone looking at Facebook, Instagram or one of a hundred apps instead of having a conversation.

Life gets busy

Sometimes you don’t even make time to catch up with friends. Something always comes up and you find yourself making excuses, putting it off. At first it feels like it’s been a few days, and then weeks and then it’s been months since you caught up!

Maybe your kids just don’t get you or you don’t get them. They are living in a different time and it’s like they’re talking in a different language. You just can’t find the threads to connect on anymore. It was easier when they were little right? When they were three, four, five and they were playing, you could jump in and play with them. They thought of you as their world, but now they’re creating their own world. They’re growing up, maybe they’re ten, eleven or maybe older, fifteen, sixteen or maybe they’ve moved out and have their own lives. And so the threads that were connecting you back when they were little, they are not as strong anymore. Maybe you miss those times, maybe you just long to feel connected, to feel needed or desired. Why is it that we have more and more ways to keep in touch with people and yet here we are still feeling disconnected?

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It’s different to the way it used to be before smart phones. People went out and talked to each other. You used to go out and catch up for coffee. There wasn’t so much reliance on SMS, Snapchat, Messenger. It was more about getting on the phone to arrange to meet up in person, but now there’s SMS which is so much easier right? You can text in the moment. You can send an SMS at 11pm or 9am, anytime of the day or night and it will get through. But it’s actually creating a distance. We have all these Facebook friends or Instagram followers, but how many of them do you really actually know. How many have you actually met up with in the last month? Last three months? Or even in the last year? There’s a growing problem out there for people who feel disconnected from their life or their family or even their emotions.

When was the last time I had fun?

My favourite question ever to ask people is ‘What do you like to do for fun?’. It’s so much more interesting when meeting somebody for the first time to ask them what they like to do for fun instead of “What do you do for work?” or “How’s the weather?” or “How are you?”! But asking “What do you like to do for fun?” triggers a response in someone to think about that, about what they like to do for fun. The thing is, I’ve been asking this question for a few years now and lately I’ve noticed more and more people come to me and say “I don’t have fun” or “I don’t know what I like to do for fun.” “There’s lots of things I enjoy, but life just seems to get in the way”. Like “I’ve got my kids” “I’ve got my job” “I’ve got to go to the gym” “There’s just not enough hours in a day”. There’s less and less people connecting and having fun, which is devastating. It’s really devastating!

What are the emotions that you really want to connect with?

What are the other emotions you really want to feel more often? Think about them now, what are they? Is it happy, passionate, excited, fulfilled, jumping in the air? Do you want to feel satisfaction, enthusiasm, desire? They’re all great words, but how many of them do you actually feel on a regular basis? How many of them do you actually connect with? Our emotions are part of us, they’re part of what makes us, us. Have you noticed how we connect with kids? One of the things we love about children so much, particularly when they’re really young, is that they have so much zest for life. Everything’s interesting and they’re so curious and ask so many questions. They’re out in the world experiencing things, discovering what sand feels like and what it’s like to jump in a puddle, to giggle, and to wriggle, to laugh, to play on a swing and have all these great experiences. They live in their emotions. No thoughts, just feelings.

Do you want help with Sadness, Procrastination, Self-Sabotage, Confidence or Motivation?

When I hung out with my nephews recently, they were both playing in the sand and digging. Then they decided to go exploring on their bikes just for fun. I love it when I’m around them because I get to do the same thing. I connect with them and I also connect with our surroundings. But why is it that we limit ourselves to being led to have fun and connect by our kids, nephews, nieces? Aren’t we supposed to be the leaders?

It’s the same reason why people love their dogs, cats and other animals. When the dog runs up to us as we get home, we love it; it instantly makes us want to play (if only we had the time)!

It got me curious about why we allow ourselves to connect to our emotions when we’re around little kids or puppies. It’s safe isn’t it? Kids and animals can’t hurt us, not really, not emotionally?

Think about it, when you take the time to play with kids really being present and having fun, whether it’s with your nephews or nieces or with your puppy, are you thinking “Oh, I should be happy now” or are you just doing it? Just being happy?

We’re just doing it right? That’s how our brains work. Our thoughts and our emotions don’t happen at the same time. In order for us to think, something has to give and the thing that gives is our emotions. We don’t think about what it’s like to be happy, or “Now, what are the steps to get to happy” we just do it. For desire, for love, for passion, for happiness, for joy, for gratitude, for calm, for that emotion to be ignited, your thinking has to drop. That’s right, you have to stop thinking. Only how do we do that when out in the world we’ve got these phones and our laptops that trigger us to back to thinking in an instant. They trigger us to our future moments (the event coming up next week), our past moments (something shared from 3 years ago), and take us away from where we are right now.

What people are saying about Emotion Academy:

"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria

I’m not going to tell you to focus on being present and not on thinking all the time. I’m going to suggest starting small. What if we started by connecting with what you love? Find one thing you love to do for fun and do it for three or four minutes, or even 15 minutes. Enjoy it and then find the time to do it again. For me, it’s stand up paddle boarding or cycling. I love getting out on my bike and going for a ride. What is it for you, what do you really love? Have a bath, cook a great meal, sit down and have a conversation with your kids or with your partner, craft, watch a movie, put your arms out and spin around. Whatever it is doesn’t matter because it’s something you like to do. We’re all different. So, what is it that you love? Make a list of 5 things you love to do for fun.

From there it is a short step to increasing the moments of gratefulness (another positive emotion).

My friend and his partner printed out the question “What are 5 things you’re grateful for today?” and stuck it on the ceiling above their bed so when they wake up in the morning they look straight up at it. The first thing they do each day is share five things they are grateful for, making them different each day, and truly taking the time to appreciate them. They connect with each other and with what they are grateful for. What an awesome start to the day!

I’m truly grateful for being able to live in Australia. I’m truly grateful for my family and my friends, for how they support me, for how they encourage me and how they love me. I’m truly appreciative for the clothes I get to wear that keep me warm or cool me down. I really appreciate my health and my ability to be able to go for a run and love it. I truly appreciate being able to smile and laugh at the littlest things that happen.

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Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer

Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight.  In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.

Find five things that you appreciate or can be grateful for right now. It helps even more to say it out loud or to write it down because by saying it you’re sending it out to the world and you’re hearing it or reading it back again and it makes the feeling deeper.

What are other little things you can do to connect?

People can over complicate feeling connection, supposing that it’s difficult. What is connection? It’s saying hello to somebody in the street. It’s saying hello to the person that you’re buying your groceries from. Not just a ‘hi’ while you’re thinking about something else. A real hello. Smiling and saying hello to somebody on the train or the tram or at the gym.

When I go out for a run, I notice the people I run past are looking down and that their faces are relaxed. They’re not happy, they’re not sad; they’re just neutral, probably thinking about something. What I like to do is smile at them and say good morning. Sometimes, somebody beats me to it which is awesome! But just by smiling and saying good morning whenever you get the opportunity, you’re increasing your moments of connecting.

Connection is really many moments of connecting. So what are some ways you can increase those moments of connecting? Connecting with yourself by appreciating what you are grateful for. Connecting with others by smiling, saying hello and maybe following up with a compliment, which could lead to a conversation. And before you know it you’re actually going out and doing something. Whether it’s getting on the phone or Skype with somebody, going to a Meetup, going for a walk or to the playground and just meeting up with other people. You’re finding ways to increase your moments of connecting. It’s all about each of the moments of connecting. Every one of them is an opportunity and it all starts with a feeling.

For me, it’s not about being happy all the time. It’s not about connecting all the time. It’s not even about having fun all the time. It’s about having five times more positive emotions than negative emotions each day. So, go out. Start increasing your moments of connecting. Notice how like a snowball it will change the way you hang out with people. It will change your perspective on what you do. You might even notice that it influences your career and your health, your connections with your friends and maybe even your relationship, like it did with me. Go have fun!

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