Loneliness—Coaching and Counseling for Isolation in Traverse City, MI
A few generations ago, most people inherited their community, for better or worse. Often, the same people they played with as children were their support system as adults because they lived their whole lives in the same town. Extended families lived together, and friendships lasted a lifetime. Today, almost the opposite is true: people are expected to leave their hometowns. If people want to pursue their education or their career, they almost always have to move. Each new degree and each new professional opportunity usually means a new city and a new community. It is not uncommon for people to live in a city where they have no family members and no close friends. It is no wonder that isolation and loneliness are on the rise.
Some will argue that technology has bridged the gap. There is FaceTime, Facebook, Snapchat, and Google Chat. Friends can check each other’s Instagram accounts 24/7. What more could people need to stay connected? Unfortunately, they need a lot more. Research shown, time and time again, that social medial may be contributing to the epidemic of loneliness.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness,
and the feeling of being unloved.” —Mother Teresa
Have you ever felt what Mother Teresa is describing? Most people have. Modern life can be very disconnected, leaving people feeling lonely and unloved. However, many people are fighting for community. Today’s communities look different than they did a century ago, but real and deep connection is possible in this digital and disjointed world. Many people are also reaching out for help from a coach or counselor as they pursue deeper relationships. Whether they are naturally gifted at forming relationships or not, they are learning how to go deeper with friends.
The coaches and counselors at Thriveworks Traverse City have worked with many clients who are frustrated at the loneliness and isolation they are experiencing. These clients are ready to prioritize community and connection, and together with our mental health professionals, they are learning how.
Prioritizing Relationships and Community
Most people no longer inherit a community—they are rarely born into a network of support, but deep relationships can still be established. People just need to know how. In this respect, building a community is a very similar process to building muscles. While every person has a different level of physical strength, every single person can grow stronger. The same is true for community. While every person has a different level of community in their lives, every single person can develop their community. Just as a coach often helps people in the gym know which exercises their bodies need, so a mental health professional can help people know which social skills they need to utilize to strengthen their support network. To get started, here are a few tips on building community…
Tip #1: Meet up with a friend instead of watching TV.
What are some of the most famous TV series’ ever? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, ER, Seinfeld, Cheers, Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, Modern Family, Sex and the City, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Rec, MASH, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Frasier… to list only a few. What do these shows have in common? Despite their diverse plots, characters, and settings, they all depict friends or families who live in close community. A group of friends are helping each other navigate life, or a multi-generational family is sharing their lives.
These shows may have gained their big following because they display on screen what most people want in real life. Unfortunately, watching a TV show about deep family connections and supportive friendships does not lead to experiencing these forms of community. Instead, people have to turn the TV off. Do not watch TV friends meet for brunch, but invite your friends to brunch. Do not watch a TV family go on an adventurous vacation, plan an adventurous vacation with your own family.
People are rarely disappointed with they cut their TV time and pursue real-life relationships instead.
Tip #2: Re-evaluate What Community Could Look Like You.
Social change brings both challenge and opportunity. People no longer inherit their communities, but now they have a say in what their community could look like and where it will be.
Think for a moment about how you feel connected and known? Some people build community through volunteering—serving warm meals, playing with shelter animals, or coaching a little league team. Others looks to associations and organizations—book clubs, houses of worship, and civic organizations. If you love an activity or care for a cause, most likely someone else does too. Pursue what you love, and you will often find a community.
Just as community can form around any activity, it can also form anywhere. Some people love the feel of a small town. Others want the sleepless city. The suburbs fit some people. Even on-line communities can be found. Think about where you feel comfortable and pursue opportunities that will allow you to have some control over where you live.
Counseling and Coaching at Thriveworks Traverse City—Overcoming Loneliness and Building Community
If you are right to fight isolation and loneliness in your own life and build up your community, Thriveworks Traverse City is ready to help. We have appointments for coaching and counseling available.
When you contact our office, know that you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. We do not keep a waitlist, but we do offer weekend and evening sessions. We also work with most insurance plans.
Let’s get started. Deeper friendships await. Contact Thriveworks Traverse City today.