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“Change Your Habits.” with Fotis Georgiadis & Greg Audino

The thing about loneliness is that it’s just so incredibly cyclical within communities. It’s stunning how much a problem categorized by individuality affects those around us. The less we communicate, the less others understand us and the less we can understand them. The less understanding there is on either side, the easier it is to […]

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The thing about loneliness is that it’s just so incredibly cyclical within communities. It’s stunning how much a problem categorized by individuality affects those around us. The less we communicate, the less others understand us and the less we can understand them. The less understanding there is on either side, the easier it is to perceive a threat or a lack of trust. This leads to certain behavior and aggressive body language that people will pick up on, making one more intimidating, less likely to be approached, and therefore, less likely to break their spell of loneliness. So what we have here as we look at life today is a world full of people pointing the finger at those they feel are threats to both their own existences and to the existence of the world as we know it. Are these accusations correct? Of course not. We’re just quicker to vilify and try to protect ourselves rather than seeking to understand others — especially those that are commonly seen as the worst of the worst. Isolation begets isolation. And mind you, we’re talking about emotional isolation just as much as physical isolation.


As a part of my interview series about the ‘5 Things We Can Each Do Help Solve The Loneliness Epidemic’ I had the pleasure to interviewGreg Audino.

Greg is a certified life coach and advice columnist who offers a refreshingly grounded and philosophical approach to the self-development industry. On his website, gregaudino.com, he combines his knowledge and grounded on-camera presence to create funny, off-kilter videos offering new perspectives on life’s common problems. The site is entirely donation-based, and he sends 10% of the revenue back to the World Wildlife Fund, a cause he’s always been a big advocate for.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Greg! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us? What was it that led you to your eventual career choice?

It’s really my pleasure! My backstory is a bit unexpected, I actually started off as an actor. I was a full-time actor for all of my adult life up until a couple of years ago when I got involved in self-development work. It was a good time. I was fulfilling my dream. I had principal roles on some good shows like Westworld, SWAT, even a little something on New Girl and some other comedies. When I first got into acting, it was my whole life, but my priorities shifted as my twenties progressed and I felt I’d be selling myself short to not listen to those changes that were obviously occurring in me, even if it was at the expense of a bright future in an industry that I once was in love with. I just started to question how much I was really giving versus how much I was getting. I went through some difficult times where I would’ve killed to have someone just listen to me unconditionally, so I learned the value of being that presence for others. I think the more that time went on and the more I learned about the world and myself, the more I realized how crucial it is to contribute, and I learned how to use my own values, feelings, and skills to contribute in a way that I felt excited about.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

There are probably stories that others would find more interesting, but what has interested me most was a time that I received a message through my website from a potential coaching client. He messaged me looking for help, and offered a very detailed story about his past, which consists of extreme trauma. When I told him that though I’d love to help, his needs would be better fulfilled with a therapist or psychiatrist, he told me that he was already seeing both and had been for twenty years. It turns out they had encouraged him to see me in addition to them. Fast forward, he’s been my client for a while now and the relationship with him is like no other because the goals he wants to achieve are much more about recovering from emotional destruction as opposed to something more common for coaches like, say, someone who wants a more fulfilling job. In working with him, I’ve really learned a lot about the dance that can ensue between therapy, psychiatry, and coaching. I’ve learned how they’re different and how they’re similar. I’ve learned how different the needs of each client are. The work seems extra fulfilling to me the deeper one’s traumas are, so maybe becoming a therapist is next. Who knows? I actually wanted to be a therapist prior to wanting to be an actor, so it might come full-circle.

Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

Ha! Well, as Bob Ross says, “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents”. One of my happy accidents was from a time that I rented out a table in a public mall, and put up a sign that read, “Something on your mind? Need to talk? I’m here to listen”. It was cute. I got a few chats, lots of smiles and handed out a few business cards. The conversation that lasted the longest, however, was from two teenage girls that came to the table. They were best friends but were in the middle of a massive argument and decided to settle it at my table. We all sat down; I acted as a mediator in the middle. They started to yell and shed a few tears, causing a complete scene in the middle of an otherwise quiet Sunday for shoppers. Maybe I would’ve done that whole thing differently, but it was a good laugh and we got their problem solved! Hopefully, the one is no longer sending suggestive messages to the other’s boyfriend. I can’t say I’ve gotten any updates.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I sure am! Three projects to be specific. One of them I should keep my mouth shut about and is further down the road, but the others are coming up soon and have me very excited. I’m currently creating an online course that I’m hoping to have out in early 2020 if I can possibly catch all my spelling errors by then. The structure of that course will teach people how to align their values with their habits so they can live more purposefully. There are a lot of exercises that help people figure out what their values are (good and bad), how they can be healthily inserted into their daily habits, and how to sustain those habits in such a way that enables people to expand upon their good values and decrease their bad values steadily and enjoyably. Aside from that, starting next month, I’ll be hosting a podcast! The awesome folks over at Optimal Living Daily are producing a new podcast that I’ll be hosting, and it’s Ask Amy style. Their audience has been sending in personal questions in search of advice, and each episode will be devoted to me answering one of their questions. I’m extremely thrilled about that as it’ll be a great way for people to express themselves, be vulnerable, identify with others, and get professional help for free.

Can you share with our readers a bit why you are an authority about the topic of the Loneliness Epidemic?

“Authority” is a strong word. I mean, I’ve read plenty about loneliness and have helped clients to overcome feelings of loneliness, but ultimately loneliness means different things to different people. There are some common, destructive beliefs about loneliness, however, and I suppose what I bring to the table is a means of flipping the script on loneliness and helping to not only dismantle it’s overly negative connotations but also provide ways that loneliness can actually be a good thing that teaches us, ironically, about connection.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this story in Forbes, loneliness is becoming an increasing health threat not just in the US , but across the world. Can you articulate for our readers 3 reasons why being lonely and isolated can harm one’s health?

Well, that article does a great job of answering this question by offering extreme mental health issues that can arise from excessive loneliness. Certainly, the effects of loneliness can spiral into a myriad of severe mental problems, but it goes beyond that, so to supplement that article I’m happy to shine a light on some of the physical side-effects of loneliness.

First, with loneliness comes stress hormones, and with stress hormones comes inflammation. All of this can contribute heavily to dementia, heart disease, and diabetes to name a few. From what I understand, as loneliness compounds, this excessive amount of stress hormones makes loneliness a bigger contributor to untimely death than obesity does.

Second, is the really interesting impact that loneliness takes on sleep. Essentially, those who feel lonely are constantly on higher alert, as their brains are wired to believe they have to fend for themselves. When the human race began and tribes formed, humans would take turns sleeping while the others stayed awake to guard the tribe against impending danger. This mentality still exists in us, and what that means for lonely people is that they don’t believe they have a pack to help them or protect them. It’s hard to properly rest with this underlying belief, causing lonely people to sleep poorly and therefore repair themselves poorly.

Third, which is so easy to miss, is that the lonelier you are, the less likely you are to take care of yourself — especially if you have codependent tendencies like perhaps an adolescent would. We’re more likely to take care of everything we need to when we’re with others, even if that’s a base need. Gatherings with other people bring exercise and movement. They give us a reason to be more hygienic. They give us a reason to eat more nutritious meals rather than something we would just throw in the microwave.

On a broader societal level, in which way is loneliness harming our communities and society?

The thing about loneliness is that it’s just so incredibly cyclical within communities. It’s stunning how much a problem categorized by individuality affects those around us. The less we communicate, the less others understand us and the less we can understand them. The less understanding there is on either side, the easier it is to perceive a threat or a lack of trust. This leads to certain behavior and aggressive body language that people will pick up on, making one more intimidating, less likely to be approached, and therefore, less likely to break their spell of loneliness. So what we have here as we look at life today is a world full of people pointing the finger at those they feel are threats to both their own existences and to the existence of the world as we know it. Are these accusations correct? Of course not. We’re just quicker to vilify and try to protect ourselves rather than seeking to understand others — especially those that are commonly seen as the worst of the worst. Isolation begets isolation. And mind you, we’re talking about emotional isolation just as much as physical isolation.

The irony of having a loneliness epidemic is glaring. We are living in a time where more people are connected to each other than ever before in history. Our technology has the power to connect billions of people in one network, in a way that was never possible. Yet despite this, so many people are lonely. Why is this? Can you share 3 of the main reasons why we are facing a loneliness epidemic today? Please give a story or an example for each.

Well, how many of these forms of connectedness are encouraging face-to-face connections? And no, FaceTime doesn’t count. Not many. Social media, while not proven yet to be a legitimate cause of mental health issues, is the main vehicle driving our efforts for connectedness these days but it really has nothing to do with what human connection is. It can’t overcome the following:

One: Mass information and advertisement forces us to focus more on what could be and, in turn, isolates us from the present reality and our ability to appreciate that reality. I heard once that, on average, we’re exposed to around 5,000 advertisements a day. That’s the constant hi-jacking of attention and the constant displacement from the world around us.

Two: Suppression of feelings and tenderness towards one another. This one’s actually getting better, which I’m happy to say. But because mental health and feelings aren’t concrete or measurable, they’ve been largely ignored since the beginning of time. We’re just now being encouraged to express our feelings and take them seriously, which is of huge importance. Needless to say, men, in particular, have really suffered from this — often bombarded with instructions to tough things out and be fearless. No wonder why men are exponentially more susceptible to committing crimes and committing suicide.

Three: Poor perspective. The children in many of us make it all too easy to overemphasize our struggles. Those of us who maybe haven’t been exposed to much of the world or been exposed to proper amounts of accountability and empathy can perceive personal problems to be of much greater tragedy than they actually are; often leaving us into too much of a frenzy to even start sorting through these problems, let alone sorting properly and healthily.

Ok. it is not enough to talk about problems without offering possible solutions. In your experience, what are the 5 things each of us can do to help solve the Loneliness Epidemic. Please give a story or an example for each.

It can be very difficult to get a grasp on loneliness because its boundaries are so hard to identify. Some might disregard feelings of loneliness because they’re constantly around people, and being sociable doesn’t fit their perception of loneliness. Others might insist that loneliness is killing them simply because one friend who they had codependent feelings towards has moved out of town. Loneliness means different things to different people, and though we don’t often define loneliness either for ourselves or for the rest of the world, there are some universal strategies we can deploy to combat loneliness no matter who we are, how we see loneliness, or how well we’re able to understand even those things.

1. Differentiate Between Feeling Lonely and Being Lonely

As much as some of us might love to tell ourselves otherwise, loneliness is not a natural state of being. Regardless of what traumas have led even the most pained of us to feel as though loneliness is unavoidable, we are not born into loneliness. We’re born as social, expressive and contributing members of a community. We’ve all had these feelings of belonging at one time or another, just the same as we’ve had feelings of loneliness. It’s easier to dwell on the pain of loneliness as we feel there’s something that needs fixing, but that extra attention does not make it more or less prevalent than the times when we have not or do not struggle with loneliness. It’s key to be positively realistic about loneliness and the fact that it is but a fleeting feeling, just as much of a moving piece as any other aspect of life. Loneliness is a feeling that can come and go.

2. Change Your Habits

Of course, the world will throw experiences at us that can dictate who we are, but we can also create experiences for ourselves. Experiences we’ve created for ourselves are likely big-time contributors to feelings of loneliness, so in combatting loneliness, it’s important to hash these experiences out. What habits of yours have led you to feel lonely, and how can you alter them? If you’re spending five hours per day on your phone, can you not steadily lessen that time and replace it with something that fits your antithesis of loneliness, like maybe meeting the people you’re texting for coffee? Take a hard look at the habits you’ve fallen into that don’t help your feelings of loneliness, and change them in such a way that enables you to be exposed to countless valuable interactions.

3. Be Heard

Some of the habits plunging you into feelings of loneliness may be interior habits that stifle your ability to properly express yourself — like avoiding confrontation or micromanaging. Though many habits like these are defense mechanisms that are learned over time, they can be humongous causes of loneliness regardless of how supportive of an environment you may be exposed to. Those who are in marriages with devout spouses or friendships with devout friends can still feel loneliness if they feel as though these people in their lives are relating to versions of themselves that are not true. Sheltering parts of ourselves away from the world is sure to bring feelings of loneliness because we aren’t allowing these parts of ourselves to be seen, heard, or respected. It’s imperative to express not only difficult feelings like loneliness but also simple feelings like joy. The more we lean into expressing who we truly are, the fewer parts of ourselves we’ll have to hide into a corner of loneliness. In this type of organic expression, we make great new relationships as we’re more able to find like-minded people, we strengthen current relationships as we might discover that the people around us do love us unconditionally after all, or we might discard relationships that prove themselves to be unhealthy if they aren’t supporting us in full.

4. Do For Others

In a culture in which we are blasted with mindless plateaus like, “Look after yourself”, “Focus on you”, and “Put your head down and do your work”, it’s easy to develop feelings of suspicion towards others and increased reliance on us and only us. We become isolated from the idea of contributing to a community, and instead only want to contribute to ourselves, which is completely against the nature of any living creature. Worst of all, with enough people feeding into this, we might come to the crashing realization that all this work we’re doing isn’t much cared about by other people anyway because they’re doing everything they can to look after themselves. Though a degree of independence is healthy, we mustn’t forget about helping other people, and they mustn’t forget about helping us. Take some time to give to others and remind yourself and them that we are still a part of a community.

5. Consider the Loneliness in Others

The greatest way we can give to others is to listen to others — to try to understand and relate to them — and doing this within the realm of loneliness is immensely meaningful. Step outside of your own loneliness for a moment and consider what loneliness looks like for those around you; strangers, acquaintances and loved ones. How are they lonely? What patterns or occurrences got them there? What do you see from an outside perspective that they don’t? What would you tell them? Considering these types of questions is of huge importance because they can not only teach you about your loneliness, but they can help you break through your loneliness and the loneliness in others. To interact with these people through meaningful conversations like this is a way of forming a bond for both you, thus reminding you both that there is a countless number of other people in the world who have similar feelings and are just as hungry for connection. Loneliness is perhaps the biggest community on earth, but its members don’t always know how to find one another.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Aw, shucks. I’m not sure how a movement would be created out of this, but I suppose what I think would do people the most good is to find the balance between having faith in right now and having faith in the future. We all have our preferences, it’s unavoidable. We all have goals and dreams that propel us to get out of bed in the morning and restore belief in the rest of our lives. We don’t have to stress ourselves into finding complete presence of mind because we aren’t wired that way. If we can somehow dream about the future, but be present enough to appreciate what we currently have, we’d be better off. If we could not be so attached to our goals that they are our only dictators of happiness, we’d be better off. Have your dreams, but don’t be so reliant on them that you can’t find joy in a life in which they don’t come true.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Oh, man. Well if we’re talking about a day date, I’ve had a crush on J.Lo since I saw her in Selena when I was 6 years old. But I’m not sure this is the place to be scoring dates, and I think she’s married anyway. I suppose I’ll settle for Mark Manson, who, in my opinion, is the world’s most gifted self-development writer. He offers such a wonderful air of honesty to an industry that can be built on nonsense and manipulation. I like to think he and I have similar tones, but I sleep well at night knowing I was doing my thing before I learned about him. If he reads this, tell him the only thing I took from him was the idea for my homepage.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Well, all of my content exists on my website, gregaudino.com. Aside from that, my most used platform is Instagram where I can be found at @simplygreggles. Lots of animals on there, too.

Thank you so much for these insights. This was so inspiring, and so important!

You stop that. It was my pleasure!

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