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Christy Monson: “Connect with discovery”

Connect with discovery. Learning new things keeps my life active and interesting. I have always got some project going. I love learning about others and what makes them tick. I’m writing picture book biographies of famous people right now. It’s fun to review their lives and see what childhood experiences helped them establish the mind […]

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Connect with discovery. Learning new things keeps my life active and interesting. I have always got some project going. I love learning about others and what makes them tick. I’m writing picture book biographies of famous people right now. It’s fun to review their lives and see what childhood experiences helped them establish the mind set they had. Then I can look at the way they translated that mind set into their life’s work. This inspires me to find ways to make my life more purposeful.


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 interview Christy Monson.

Christy Monson established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She also practiced in Salt Lake City, Utah for several years before her retirement.

Christy has a B.S. Degree from Utah State University and an M.S. Degree from University of Nevada at Las Vegas.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! 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?

I am a retired Marriage and Family Therapist, and had a large practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. When I retired I decided to write self-help books. I have several published works.

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

I’ve enjoyed writing all my books, but the one I find most interesting is “Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy.” The book is full of stories from people around the country: a 911 survivor, a mother whose son had his leg blown off in Afghanistan, a young man whose father committed suicide. This book is full of helps for people who have suffered tragedy in their lives. It is inspiration for me to see the resilience people have when faced with tragedy.

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?

I met an older gentleman when I went into the publisher to pick up my first books. I didn’t know who he was and asked if he were there to pick up books also. He was the head of the publishing company. Takeaway: Find out who you are dealing with before you ask silly questions. :}

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

Refer back to “Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy” listed under the interesting question. That book has helped many who have suffered from tragedy to put their lives back into perspective and begin to heal.

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

My husband of 55 years just passed away a year and a half ago. I have not only counseled people who are dealing with loneliness, but I have also experienced it first-hand.

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?

Isolating and feeling cut off from others can cause one to feel depressed. Loneliness and depression work themselves into a negative feedback loop. If a person is lonely, then he or she feels depressed. And the greater the depression, the more the person isolates and the greater the feelings of loneliness. According to Medical News Today, physical symptoms associated with depression and loneliness include, headaches, chronic pain, weight changes, increased risk of heart disease, and inflammation.

The Journal of Aging and Life Care cites studies that suggest that loneliness has the same detrimental effects on human mortality rates as smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Many times anxiety can cause one to isolate and can intensify feelings of loneliness. Anxiety brings symptoms of difficulty breathing, sweaty palms, racing thoughts, feelings of going crazy, heavy chest, muscle tension, fatigue, excessive fears and hypervigilance. These symptoms are all detrimental to one’s health.

Loss of mental acuity can be traced to loneliness. If we feel depressed or anxious, our thinking becomes clouded and we lose the ability to understand. Therefore, our ability to focus on a solution is lessened. Our thinking turns inward and we tune in on the negative aspects of our lives — including physical, mental, social and emotional symptoms.

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

People are social beings. We need each other. As more and more people isolate, communities will lose vibrancy and togetherness. Families, social groups and communities could gradually fractionalize, losing their synergy.

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.

Social media can be about connecting with others around the world, but it can also be about isolating. Negative thinkers can look at picture after picture of perfect families, perfect holidays, perfect food, etc. and feel they are less than those around them and sink into isolation and loneliness.

Susan loved to check out family activities on social media. She planned a family reunion with her six children. She found games that looked like lots of fun on Pinterest. Each picture depicted the perfect activity. When she took her pictures at the reunion, they were less than perfect. She felt her family was not as good as everyone else. The kids picked up on her vibes, and the reunion was a bust.

Media can become an addiction. Often, one sees a group of people in a room together — all of them on their phones. That time could be spent together, having fun and enjoying each other.

Jim wanted to take his wife on a date. She agreed and they went to a nice restaurant. During the meal, she got a text from her sister that she had to answer. The kids also texted her because they were having a fight and wanted her to solve it. The date-night was less than perfect.

All of us need to keep ourselves physically active. However, because of the accessibility of games, news, and sporting events on the phone, we may have the tendency to choose media over exercise.

Sam gained a lot of weight after his prostate surgery. He used to enjoy golf with his friends, but he was embarrassed about his weight gain. At first he made excuses about not being able to play. Soon the guys quit calling him. Sam spent lots of time playing games on his phone and checking out the sporting events he liked. He sat in his recliner at least 12 hours a day with his phone.

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. The following five things are my path to working through my own loneliness after being married for 55 years. I use myself as an example.

Connect with others has been the most important aspect of my own healing. I find that I can fill the empty void in my life as I spend time with others. My natural tendency is to stay home and be by myself. But I find that I can fill that empty void in my life as I spend time with others. Sunday dinners with family, lunch with a friend, or a trip to the symphony help fill my lonely hours. Sometimes I have to force myself to say yes to an engagement, and I’m lots happier if I do.

Connect with service has given me a way to get outside myself and think of others. I like spending time giving to those in need a helping hand. People who find lasting joy in life work to bring light and love to the world. As a retired therapist, I enjoy facilitating post-traumatic stress groups at retirement centers, teaching others about meditation, and facilitating skills that bring peace. As I do this, it reminds me to work my own program. (Kick myself in the behind and do the work I need to do so I’m not lonely.)

Connect with discovery. Learning new things keeps my life active and interesting. I have always got some project going. I love learning about others and what makes them tick. I’m writing picture book biographies of famous people right now. It’s fun to review their lives and see what childhood experiences helped them establish the mind set they had. Then I can look at the way they translated that mind set into their life’s work. This inspires me to find ways to make my life more purposeful.

You may love science or nature or art. Explore an area of expertise that interests you. It will enrich your life and bring vitality to it.

However, when I am down, I have I have to step back and take a moment to be grateful for all I am.

Gratitude meditation brings me out of my black lonely sinkhole. I sometimes come out covered with mud and it takes a while for me to right myself.

I being with gratitude for my surroundings — the beautiful world.

I move on to being thankful for people in my life — even the negative ones. They have taught me patience and many other lessons.

Next comes the beauty of who I am: my eyes can see, my ears can hear, my arms and legs work. No man-made equipment can touch these miracles.

Surrender your life to your higher power. Throughout the world, people look to a higher source for their being. Choose the one that works best for you. I had an abuse survivor who had a tree as her higher power. (Men had abused her, and God was a man so she chose something safe to her.)

There are many things in life you can change, but some things you must accept. We all must develop the wisdom to know the difference.

Connect with life’s journey. I still have lonely moments, but I connect with others, give service, and make life a time of discovery. My life is richer than it would be if I had just stayed at home and felt sorry for myself and wallowed in my lonely moments.

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. 🙂

I would teach those around me about service and love. Bringing light to others fills us with light. It’s a win-win situation.

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 🙂

I would love to have breakfast with my mother. (She passed away a few years ago, and I miss her.) She brought light to my life and filled me with love.

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

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