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Transcript – Season 3, Episode 8- Self-Isolation and Mental Health

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:00:03]:

All humans suffer. Suffering isn’t bad. It doesn’t make us bad. Suffering is human. And when we suffer, it means we have a need that’s not being met. Allowed you are allowed to be whole. I’m Dr. Kanill Joy.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:00:25]:

I’m here to affirm that you are not missing anything. Just imagine with me for a moment that you are and always have been enough. You have always been enough. Imagine that aloud when you were born, you were whole, perfect. And somewhere along the way you learn that parts of you were not allowed here. What are the pieces of you that you have put into the basement? And how can you reclaim the wholeness that is your birthright? You are allowed to grow. You are allowed to dream. You are allowed to be exactly who you are and to become the next version of who you want to be.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:01:09]:

Start your journey of exploration with me right now on Allowed. You are allowed to be whole. Welcome to Allowed. I’m your host, Dr. Caneel Joyce. Today I’m going to talk about some thoughts that are very top of mind. This is a casual episode. I’m just coming back from summer vacation and have been doing a lot of self reflection as I always do while away and in a new rhythm.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:01:35]:

And what’s really been top of mind for me is friendship, loneliness, self isolation, depression, mental health, and the importance of feeding ourselves those essential nutrients, many of which are social and through connection with people. I’m definitely trying to be exquisitely tuned into my own needs as well as the needs of others and use that as a lens to attune to what I can bring to create in any situation, including what are the things I need to create for myself so that I can be self regulated, fully alive and whole. One of my favorite discoveries in the era of wearable technology is that friendship is indeed an essential nutrient for me. I think of it as vitamin F. And I can even see evidence in my body signals that when I feed myself that essential nutrient of friendship, my whole nervous system responds and I am more vibrant and more well. And this is something measurable. So this morning I was checking my stats in one of my wearable health device apps. And this one is called Whoop.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:02:59]:

It’s one of my favorites. I may have mentioned it before on the show because I actually recommend it to a lot of my clients. The Whoop band does not have a screen. You see all the stats only in your app. So I like it because it’s not distracting, but it also gathers really, really great sophisticated insights. One of my favorite messages that I get sometimes from the app is that last night I had poor sleep but high recovery. So Whoop tracks your sleep, but it also tracks a different metric called recovery, and that actually is calculated using a lot of different measurements of how your body is performing. And it’s a good reflection of how well rested, how well regulated your nervous system is.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:03:44]:

But what I have noticed is on the days where I get that message from whoop? That I had low sleep and high recovery, often those are following days where I was highly socially fulfilled. So what I’ve become to gather from this is that even though maybe my exercise wasn’t good, my diet wasn’t good, my sleep wasn’t good, when I’m feeding myself with vitamin F, my friendship, my connection with others, that is nourishing, not just my heart, but my whole nervous system, my whole body. It is a real, genuine need that has a really beneficial effect on my overall wellness. And I’m so grateful that I have those high social fulfillment days. And I’m also aware that getting those days into my life takes a lot of choice and action on my part. It takes me choosing not to do other things. It takes me choosing not to do more work sometimes. It takes me finding ways to combine my work and friendship.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:04:54]:

It takes me actually connecting with my children and my husband versus just treating each other as teammates in the game of life. And it takes me really slowing down enough to receive that friendship when I’m around those people and opening up in a way that is healing to me so that they really know the authentic me and that I can feel connected to as my whole self. It’s very different from being just around people where maybe I’m wearing a shell and I’m not revealing myself and I’m hiding and I’m feeling insecure and I’m feeling nervous. Creating containers and conditions and gatherings where I really feel I can be alive and at my best. Self has been a thing that takes a lot of time and effort. And it’s a choice that I’ve made that I truly believe has been the secret to my success not just in my life, but also in my career. So we’re going to talk here about mental health, loneliness and social isolation. And then we’re going to get into what some of the medicine for those elements of suffering are which, like most things, giving yourself the medicine involves taking a lot of choice, being conscious and exercising and practicing compassion for yourself.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:06:19]:

So I’m going to walk you through a compassion exercise later on here today that I learned from Dr. Kristen Neff. I’m also going to take you through an exercise that I learned at the Hoffman Institute around checking in with different aspects of yourself so that you can really identify what your most basic needs are. And this will give you tools to take a creator stance in your life as opposed to one that’s in drama and show yourself some actual love. Give yourself exactly what you need for exactly where you are right now on this journey of moving toward connection. I want to talk about loneliness as an aspect that I think many of us can relate to, especially coming out of the years of lockdown and being in the pandemic. And that’s something that it’s a part of life and it also can have devastating consequences on mental health and on physical health. So let’s talk about loneliness for a moment.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:07:32]:

There have recently been headlines about a loneliness epidemic after a report titled Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, and this was actually published by the US surgeon General. The research found that even before the COVID-19 epidemic, about half of US. Adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness. Loneliness can be extremely devastating mentally, emotionally, physiologically and spiritually. A recent Gallup poll found that two thirds of those who reported being lonely the previous day also experienced anger a lot of that same day, compared to just 11% among those who were not lonely. Loneliness is also highly correlated with clinical depression. 33% of those who are lonely are currently being treated for or have been treated for depression, and this is nearly triple the level found among non lonely respondents surveys. There are also dire physical consequences of poor connection.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:08:37]:

So this includes things like heart disease. There’s actually a 29% increased risk of heart disease with loneliness, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia. For older adults, lacking connection can increase the risk of premature death to levels comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Would you smoke 15 cigarettes a day? Now, if the answer is no, and I’m guessing for most of you it is, then ask yourself why not take the time to connect authentically with a friend, if not each day, certainly multiple times a week. I want you to really take an opportunity here to take a look at your life and see if you’re set up for sustainable, long term success and wellness and thriving. It’s really important to note that no one is immune to loneliness. But because social connection is the medicine, and social connection dies and fades very, very slowly over time, and especially with changes in life. Things like having children, moving new career, leaving college where you might have a lot of friends, living near you, getting married.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:09:58]:

There’s lots of different things that can happen in your life that systematically make it more challenging or present new challenges to creating connections so it can fade slowly. You don’t even realize it’s happening. It’s important to prioritize it now. It’s important to look at. Are you setting yourself up for a midlife that’s full of fun, authentic connection? Are you setting yourself up well for retirement, an old age that are full of authentic connection? Loneliness can actually happen to people, even if their day to day lives seem like they have everything going for them, including money, fame, power relationships, status, influence and seemingly a lot of friendship. And something that I have a unique perspective on because of the day to day work I do as a CEO and startup founder, coach is. I’m aware that also being in some of these positions of power bring with them a likelihood of not seeking help or support or feeling really isolated and stigmatized. This has been a thing I’ve observed and learned about for the past eight years of being a coach.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:11:13]:

And I just realized this summer as I was watching my own health and mental health and well being increase by being with friends, I was reflecting on how lucky I am and also how much of a choice there. Is to make there and just feeling a lot of compassion for those founders who are really nose to the grindstone, hitting it hard and feeling some of the burn. And especially with all of the pressure on the macro environment right now in the startup landscape and every venture back company is experiencing and probably most companies and most industries are feeling, is like a lot of change on the horizon, a lot of pressure. And this pressure can really exacerbate stress and all kinds of mental health challenges. It can also exacerbate these conditions that have us seek self isolation in an attempt to protect ourselves from being stigmatized. So I just want to talk about that today. If you yourself have experienced mental health challenges, diagnosed or undiagnosed, or if there’s someone you know, love, care about, work with who seems like maybe they could use a feeling of it’s, okay, it’s normal. It’s not bad to have a struggle with anxiety, depression, any mental health issues, I really encourage you to share this episode with them while you’re at it.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:12:42]:

Please take a Moment now to rate subscribe to this podcast and also leave a review. This is the best way that you can allow this valuable content to reach more people and to help people who are in need. So take a moment now. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to the show and leave us a five star rating. If you can leave a few words about what it’s meant to listen to this show or how it’s felt to hear these episodes, that would be amazing. Thank you for taking the time to help this show reach the people who can most benefit from it all. Humans suffer. Suffering isn’t bad.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:13:25]:

It doesn’t make us bad. Suffering is human. And when we suffer, it means we have a need that’s not being met. And from a place of compassion, we make choices to attempt to alleviate that suffering for ourselves and others by filling that need. And when we suffer. And yet we have a mental block, a mindset that we should not have needs and we should not show that we have needs and we should not ask for anything and we should not receive anything, then we are less likely to get those needs filled because we alone cannot fill all of our own needs. We are social creatures and we can see that those who are in positions of loneliness and social isolation often, which is structural. Like we know that people in urban areas, people who are single, people who don’t live with their own spouses or children, people who make a lot less money, people who are unemployed, those people are much more likely to experience loneliness.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:14:39]:

And that loneliness. Loneliness is structural often. But loneliness also can be done to ourselves by self isolation and we self isolate and we don’t share our needs when we are often trying to project an image of toughness. An image of I don’t need anything. An image of I’m the one who fulfills other people’s needs, they don’t fulfill mine. An image of I don’t deserve to have struggles. And a lot of those thoughts, those stigma there’s different social groups and demographic groups that are more likely to buy into those stories. And we know that men are much more likely to feel like there is a stigma around seeking support for mental health issues.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:15:24]:

But also something I’ve been able to observe is that also people in positions of power are much less likely to feel it’s okay to share their struggles. Now, they may be more able to go to seek professional help and many do, but not nearly as many as need it. And they also have the ability to cover up signs of low functioning because they have more access to resources, more power, more control, more ability to get things band aided and patched up around them. It’s so common to deny the fact that you have needs. It’s something that we are often programmed and taught to do or rewarded and encouraged to ignore our needs or to put others needs before our own and to stay in line and to follow along. And because we all have diverse needs and diverse talents we can’t even feel like our own needs are wrong. And the more we deny ourselves what we need, the more isolated we will feel from others and we probably will start projecting onto others that they also aren’t meeting our needs. But it always begins first and foremost with am I willing to commit to meeting my own needs? While there are structures that can increase loneliness we sometimes nonconsciously contribute to our own loneliness.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:16:57]:

We contribute to our suffering by self isolating. One way we can do this is by self soothing with unsustainable or unhealthy behaviors. We may seek substitutes for connection in ways that are actually damaging to us and further exacerbate the lack of connection and loneliness in our lives. From the standpoint of conscious leadership, we take responsibility for all that we can control, nothing more and nothing less. And we’re insatiably curious about I wonder what else is in my control? So take a coaching moment right now and ask yourself what might be some factors in your life that you actually have the power to change? And maybe these are small baby step changes, the ones you’re ready to make. Maybe they’re way bigger than you’re ready to make and you’ve been afraid to even face them. But I want you to see what are some areas in your life where you do have choice, you do have control. And see if maybe there are some ways that you might be contributing to your own slow self isolation, things that you haven’t yet made the choice to change, things that you may not be willing to change.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:18:12]:

What are some choices you’ve been making that have exacerbated any loneliness you’re experiencing in your life or that may be setting you up for a lack of social connection when you’re in the toughest times and need it most? I’ll give some examples here to help you get started in thinking through this, and I’ll give some examples from my own life. So I realized at one point that I was socially isolating about kind of my deepest thoughts, my deepest truths. I felt like I had really young children. I had a very busy career and had recently moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. And I realized I really wasn’t having any more of those deep, wholehearted connection conversations with my close friends who knew me well. And when we did tend to gather, we wanted to keep it upbeat, we wanted to have fun. There were so many of us all together. And I realized there were all these thoughts in my head that I was only sharing with my coach and my therapist, some with my husband, but some, of course, relate to my husband, because I’m in a marriage, and marriage is challenging, and parenting is challenging, and being a woman is challenging.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:19:19]:

And this happened to be when, let’s see, I think Hillary Clinton was running for president, and we were watching as Donald Trump took office. And so there was a lot going on inside of me, and I recognized this as a need. And I clearly saw that the reason I was not reaching out was because of shame. I didn’t want other people to be bothered by me, by my thoughts. I certainly didn’t want to call one person and suddenly just take over on the phone. Now, that may have been a good idea to do. I tend to be reluctant to pick up the phone, maybe because I spend all day on it coaching my clients. So I decided to attack this head on, and I started a text thread with ten of my girlfriends, and this has become The UCLA Girls, the group I talk about often.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:20:13]:

And I gave it a hashtag truth. And there I shared a list of my truths, things that I hadn’t yet shared with anybody else. And this started the Cohesive group and the text thread that still continues today because I needed it, and I bothered to take a risk of people being like, oh, gosh, here goes Kanil again. Whining. Now, these are stories I had, but I sought connection and it made the biggest it was so transformative, such a big difference. So that choice of social isolation, it actually wasn’t glaring in my face. It was subtle. It was just I recognized there was a flavor of it I wasn’t getting.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:20:52]:

Some other ways that you might be contributing to your own suffering are sharing only half truth? So maybe you do go to your partner or your best friend or your workmates and you’re talking about your life, but you choose to select only certain parts to share. And there’s some biases that I’ve seen come into play and some of this connects to your Enneagram type. So for instance, an Enneagram Seven might be really reluctant to share anything that would bring the mood down. There’s a strong preference for positive, happy, high energy, optimistic. So the darker thoughts are seldom shared. It could be that you have a bias against sharing anything that makes it seem like you are needy and you’re trying to project a certain image or that you are ungrateful, especially those who feel like they are privileged. So there’s biases and you may be only sharing partly what’s going on. Or there could be entire categories of your life that you never discuss with anyone else.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:21:46]:

You may never discuss your marriage, you may never discuss your sex life. You may never discuss what it’s like to be a CEO and how lonely that can be. So other choices you may be making are rather than picking up the phone or sending a text to someone and just reaching out and saying, hey, I’m thinking of you, you wait until you have time for a one and a half hour conversation. Or instead, you go ahead and you watch some television and you connect with your TV friends. Or you go on social media and you see what everyone else is doing and you scroll through, but you’re not connecting. Part of connecting is taking that risk and sharing and being seen. So these are some choices you may be making. I want you to think about what are any other ones you’re doing that are choosing self isolation over connection.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:22:34]:

But wherever we are with that, when we find that we’re struggling, compassion. Self compassion is the medicine, not judgment, not, oh, I should be better at meeting my needs, I should exercise more, I should get more friend time, I should make sure I’ve got social fulfillment and sleep and meditation. Self blame is not going to help. Actually, that very much will exacerbate the suffering. Instead, it’s really recognizing like, wow, I really care for myself and it’s okay that I’m suffering. So I want to teach you a self compassion practice. And this is based on the work of Dr. Kristen Neff, whom I became familiar with through attending the Hoffman Institute ten day retreat.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:23:32]:

So Kristen Neff’s work really teaches this very simple mantra that I find really healing. And I want you to just practice it right now. Think about a time where you were suffering. Maybe you felt lonely, isolated, you might have felt ashamed for needing something. You may have been really unsure of what you even need in the moment. You know, you just don’t feel good right now. And you may feel completely unable to help yourself in any way. Just think about a time like that and put both hands onto your heart and then repeat after me.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:24:12]:

This is a moment of suffering. All humans suffer. I will be kind to myself and I will be kind to myself by and this is where you have an opportunity to fill in the need. But the key thing here is this is a moment of suffering. Naming it, acknowledging it. There is suffering happening here now. And it’s not wrong or bad, it just is. It’s okay for there to be moments of suffering.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:24:44]:

That’s part of life. The second piece is all humans suffer. And that’s important because it puts into context that you are not alone, that this is a human experience, that actually your suffering itself is what connects you to the fabric of humanity. And that you’re not isolated and that you will get through it just like all humans always have. And that this is the time not for judgment or blame or critique or escape. It’s a time to apply kindness. That’s step three. I will be kind to myself.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:25:20]:

And that’s what’s needed. It’s care. And you can even be compassionate for how hard you have tried, even if it worked not at all how hard you have tried to strive or to be good or to achieve or to fulfill your needs. And then you talk about what you would do to be kind. Now, if you’re not sure what it is you need, I have a second practice. I also learned at Hoffman that I love. And I will teach this one to you right now and I’ll guide you through it. And this one’s called the quadrinity.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:25:58]:

Check in. Now the quadrinity in the Hoffman Institute is the body, which is the place you feel sensations, the physical body. It’s also the mind, the intellect, and then it’s the heart. The heart they refer to often as the emotional child. And this is the immature part of ourselves that has needs that often have not been fulfilled. This part often feels small, it feels powerless, and it’s separate from the intellect, right? So it may not be able to rationally explain why it needs what it needs, or to know exactly how to fulfill the needs. Those are the three parts that are the kind of programmed and programmable parts of the self, the physical body, the intellect, and the emotional child, or the heart. The fourth part of the quadringity is the spirit.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:26:57]:

And the spirit is the only part of the quadringity that is not programmed, not programmable. It’s pure it’s the part of us that is pure light, pure energy, pure aliveness. But it’s spirit, it’s everlasting, it’s eternal, it doesn’t die. And this is the part where we have spiritual qualities and attributes like wisdom, patience, brilliance, kindness, connection, creativity, flow. So this spiritual part of ourselves often has a physical feeling, like a posture in our body. And this is the part of us that has a great neutrality. It just has a knowing. The spiritual part of us doesn’t get emotional about what is or isn’t and should be, or shouldn’t be.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:27:55]:

It’s a really, really neutral feeling. So people often ask about, how do I discern between what my heart wants, what my gut wants, and what my spirit wants? It’s that neutrality. That’s the key way to tell where the messages and needs are coming from. So that’s the quadrinity, the body, the intellect, the emotional child and the spirit. quadrinity check in works by going into each of those four parts, seeing how it’s doing and asking what it needs. When you get to the fourth part, the spirit, that’s where you simply ask for a message from the spiritual self. So the spirit actually is the leader, ideally of the quadrantity. And this practice helps the spirit step in as leader for the spirit’s, listening in and saying, what are the needs of each of those three parts? And then how might I fulfill them? And then that delivers you to that in the form of a message that may or may not make sense to you.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:28:50]:

So we’re going to do it together right now. So I like to do this actually with my hands on my heart. You can do it any way you want. Sometimes I write down notes as I go, but I’ve actually found that that can be distracting to me. So I sometimes write the notes at the very end after I’m done. For now, just keep it simple, just hands on heart. Or if you’re driving, just listen along and check in. So the first part is connect with your body.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:29:18]:

What is your body experiencing right now? What body sensations do you notice? How is your body? And then give your body some appreciation. Thank it for all it does. Thank it for moving, for creating change in the world around you, for helping you access resources and connect to others through touch. Thank you. Thank your body for helping you experience the world around you with your senses. And then ask your body, body, what do you need from me today? Listen for the answer. Your body might say, I need a yoga class, or I need to be warm, or I need to be slow, or I need to burn off energy. I need sleep.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:30:08]:

Body might say, I need less noise. Whatever it is, just note the answer without a need to analyze it, or judge it, or explain it, or justify it, or see if it’s the best. Just get the answer. And next, connect to your intellect. What’s your intellect like right now? Is it busy or still? Is your intellect firing on all cylinders? Is it thinking ahead? Is it thinking in the past? Is it cloudy or sharp? And now take a moment to appreciate your intellect and send it gratitude for all that it does for you. For analyzing and understanding situations and problems, for identifying solutions, for being creative and resourceful and inventive. For helping you to put thoughts and feelings into words and to communicate your needs. And thank your intellect for entertaining you and helping you find structure and balance, for planning.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:31:23]:

And then ask your intellect intellect, what do you need from me today? And listen for the answer. Maybe that your intellect needs stillness. Your intellect may need a goal or a plan. Your intellect might want you to have some time to spend thinking on your own or writing your thoughts on something. Your intellect may want to make a list or have a framework or read. Go get inspired, learn something new. And whatever it is, just get the answer and say thank you intellect. And now move on to your emotional child.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:32:10]:

This is the part of you that can be dramatic. It can be irrational and emotional. It can have big feelings. It doesn’t need to make sense rationally. And just ask how are you doing right now? And notice how your emotional child is feeling. Is it feeling lonely? Is it feeling like yearning to connect? Is it feeling socially burnt out and exhausted from over socializing? Is it feeling shame or rejection or fear? Is it feeling unappreciated? Is it feeling joyful? Celebratory, silly? Whatever it is, just send some appreciation to your emotional child for all that it does for you. For helping you to identify people who are loving to you, for helping you have so much fun. For helping you connect to yourself and to others.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:33:22]:

For all of the laughter that it’s brought you and the play and the expressivity. Just thank your emotional child for all that it does for you. And then ask your emotional child what do you need from me today? Your emotional child may need a hug. It may need validation. It may need to be told something specific like just tell me that I’m doing okay. Emotional child may need direction and a plan from your intellect. It may need someone else to lead. Emotional child may need things to stop and slow down.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:34:10]:

Your emotional child may need soothing. It may need fun. It may need stillness or silliness. It may need time to be creatively, expressive, whatever it is, just listen for the need and thank your emotional child. Thank you. And then finally move on to your spiritual self. Your highest self, your source, your eternal light. This is a part of you that is multifaceted yet stable, unchanging.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:34:59]:

This is your pure essential you and embody the posture of your spiritual. Self and ask your spiritual self for a message. What message do you have for me today? Spiritual self. And whatever the message is, write it down or say it out loud. The spiritual self often doesn’t necessarily seem to make sense in a way that your intellect will instantly jump on board with. It often is quite mysterious what it tells you to do. But what I do know is when your spiritual self sends a message, it wants you to listen. And the way that you continue to strengthen your connection to your spiritual self and receive that really strong, good, clear, pure guidance, you’ll continue to keep those communication lines open when you actually do heed its words and listen.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:36:20]:

So if your spiritual self says slow down, then heed those words and slow down. Your spiritual self says call Sarah, then call Sarah. If it says go walk in the woods or dip your hands in water, go do those things, it might just say it’s all going to be okay. Spiritual self has a great neutrality to it. Again, that’s the way to really distinguish if you’re confused about which voice you’re hearing at one time. These four aspects of your quadringity all work together. They’re all equally, they’re all super important. But the spirit is really the leader and the spirit is the one that helps.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:37:01]:

Those three distinct parts, the body, the intellect and the emotional child, all work together in concert, in harmony, because each of them has strengths that you can’t swap them out for each other. You need all three. But when they all are wanting dramatically different things, they start blaming each other and you have infighting happening within yourself. You’ve probably experienced that before, where your emotions want one thing, but your intellect says no that’s bad, we should not want that. And then you might do things like isolate. So the spiritual self can really be your guide. And this quadringity check in is a great way to begin to develop compassion for the different parts of yourself and to find inner guidance. Now this work matters because it creates alignment in yourself and it can help guide you when everything feels really confusing and mucky and when there’s intense pro and con analysis happening for any turn you might take in your life.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:38:00]:

And that’s an experience that’s really, really common with any kind of mental health struggle or you might have brain fog. This is a great way to connect and just find simple truths. So now you’ve just learned two great tools that can help you address loneliness, help you find self compassion, help you identify your own needs, social connection and far beyond. And while there’s always a lot of stuff that we can’t control, there is a lot that we can. But tapping into our needs gives us direction. It helps us understand where we might have leverage in creating something new, in creating the life that we want, in creating the life that meets our needs and it doesn’t need to be huge or comprehensive. Often these needs are just so simple that we overlook them, we overwrite them, we think to ourselves, well, just because I know I need it means I know how good it’s going to be for me and how small that is. What I’m always shocked by is that when you actually sit and do these exercises, the impact is so much greater than you think it would be.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:39:15]:

And I want you to really you just try it. I want you to do it exactly as I described it, rewind it and do it exactly as I described. Put your hands on your heart, please do these exercises. Just give it a try to see how well does this work. Same thing goes for taking three breaths when you’re stressed, by the way. It’s incredible. So we can’t control, but there’s a lot we can. The key thing is looking for choice.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:39:38]:

So take a coaching moment here for yourself as we move toward the end of this episode. And I want you to ask how can you choose to move toward connection and to stop making choices that are ones of social isolation? And that doesn’t mean you always need to be with others. But in connection with yourself and alone is very different from lonely and socially disconnected. What choices can you make to fulfill those needs? To give yourself the nourishment of vitamin F for friendship? And are you willing to accept the costs that come with ignoring your social needs? Even if the answer right now is yes? I want to let you know that in my view, over time, in the lifespan of a human, social connection becomes harder and harder to come by. And this is the time to establish your next set of lifelong friends. And it can be something as simple as going into the Starbucks and giving a warm, open smile with your eyes to a new person and give yourself that. Have compassion for yourself as you continue to combat this loneliness epidemic. And remember, if you’re not suffering from it, someone near you is.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:41:01]:

Use that energy and those resources to provide the connection to others. It’s like the best way that you can give. How can you provide this medicine for yourself and others? Through compassion, genuine non judgment of suffering, and a genuine desire to alleviate the suffering of others. If you’re feeling at a loss for where to turn for connection, note that we often can get black and white in our thinking when we are under stress, pressure, or when we’re depressed. And one of the ways I’ve seen that black and white thinking manifest is this idea that I have no one to talk to. So I want you to immediately question that story. I want you to immediately look for the opposite of that story. I do have someone to talk to.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:41:49]:

And you could also flip it like this. I am someone to talk to and you can make a list. This is something I’ve helped clients do in the past. Make a list of people you know. Maybe you’re not completely comfortable telling them everything, sharing your whole soul, but there’s a certain flavor they provide. They’re a person that you can share something with, doesn’t have to be a big deep thing, but they’re a person you can reach out to connect with and share a simple moment together and look at all areas of your life. People that you haven’t connected with in a long time, people who live nearby that you don’t know yet, neighbors, people who work in the community, family members that maybe ones that you’re less close with. People who are in your life, but they’re only one certain kind of connection, but you’re curious about.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:42:48]:

I wonder if they could also become a friend. Friends that you know only a little bit. You like them and admire them, but you haven’t taken the risk of drawing them in closer. And with this list, you now have your third tool in the toolkit from today to end the self chosen self isolation. Now, as we come to a close, I would like to clearly state an important distinction here. Coaching and personal growth practices are very supportive for mental health, but they are not a replacement for therapy. Clinical depression and mental health challenges have a physiological aspect to them and there’s often trauma connected to or behind them. If you or someone you know is in a mental health cris, please reach out to an actual mental health or medical professional.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:43:49]:

There are a lot of free, confidential and available resources that are right there for you. And I’d like to share two with you right now. So if you or someone you know is contemplating or ideating around suicide or is in a mental health crisis, here is a lifeline you can dial and you just dial nine, eight, eight. That’s the suicide and cris lifeline. There’s also the Samsa National Helpline and that number is 1806 624357. This is a free, confidential 24/7 treatment, referral and information service for individuals and families who are facing mental and substance abuse disorders. It’s available in English and in Spanish. You can also google them.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:44:37]:

It’s Sam H-S-A. You can find this episode, show notes, transcripts, videos, tools and many more great things at And you can also find this allowed podcast for any podcast player at Please take a moment today to subscribe to the podcast, give us a rating and leave a review. That’s the best way for this material to reach people who could really benefit from it and in this incredible community community here to be connecting with each other. You can also look for me on social media. I am at C-A-N-E-E-L is.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:45:19]:

Thank you so much and we’ll see you next time. Bye bye. Allowed.

Discover experiences that give your life purpose in your Zone of Genius

Executive Coach Dr. Caneel Joyce reveals a life-changing framework that can help you overcome self-doubt, uncover your hidden talents, and radiate with confidence, one small step at a time.