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 Jaclyn Johnston. Jaclyn Johnston is the best-selling author of “Don’t Feel Stuck!”, creator of Manifest It!, a mental health advocate, and assistant to world-renowned physicists at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her focus is on teaching others how to build their self-esteem, transform their beliefs, and take soul-inspired actions in order to ManiFAST: Manifest Faster! She teaches proven Law of Attraction methods paired with cognitive behavioral training through her books and online mentoring programs.
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?
All my life I’ve lived with depression and debilitating anxiety, but in 2017 I was done with struggling. Since I work for physicists who perform award-winning research, I was inspired to do a research experiment on myself. Little did I know it was the beginning of a whole new journey that has blossomed into a thriving career in just two short years.
I perform what I call Mastering Manifesting Journaling, which is each day I take about 5–10 minutes and I write down my desired intentions as if they are already in my present. The reason I chose to combine actual physical laws with psychology through the use of writing is because most of the time we do not write down something we don’t believe to be as true. My methods teach you to train yourself and shift your mindset habits through intention-writing. It’s so much easier and faster to successfully use the Law of Attraction this way.
Through the power of compound effect and writing with conviction for a few minutes each day, I was able to manifest 99% of everything I ever wanted within 10 months! I knew if I could do it, a person with stubborn beliefs who suffers from anxiety attacks, then anyone can learn this effective skill and quickly manifest whatever they desire into their physical realm with ease. Hence the creation of Manifest It! and learning how to ManiFAST: Manifest Faster.
You can truly do have whatever you desire because everything stems from your mindset. The Universe operates in what I call a boomerang effect and reflects to you how you intentionally focus with your mindset most of the time. I was single and alone for nine years and sometimes lonely; however, within 10 months of setting my intentions for my ideal relationship, I literally manifested it and manifested the exact type of person I wanted in my life as a romantic partner. It’s been two years, and our relationship is exactly how I wrote it out to be. It’s amazing what our minds can achieve if we give ourselves permission to do so.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I’m credited in a short film produced by well-renowned physicists including a Nobel Laureate called “Phantom of the Universe”. It’s narrated by Tilda Swinton, uses George Lucas’s music company, Skywalker Sound, and is about the hunt to see the existence of dark matter energy. Just because you can’t “see” something with your eyes doesn’t mean it’s not there; energy is everywhere. I most certainly was not expecting to be credited at all because I was merely doing my job behind the scenes to help bring this film together by making sure Ms. Swinton, Skywalker Sound, and many others got paid for their craft. I was pleasantly surprised to be included in the film’s credits, and I thank the physicists I assist for acknowledging me.
Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting?
A year into my business, I was self-publishing my first journal from the My Manifesting Journal line. I was so nervous that I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I had the small graphic at the same corner at the bottom of each interior page. So the print came out with the graphic at the right corner at the bottom of the pages, both for the left page and the right page. They were supposed to be laid out where the small graphic is at the bottom left corner for the left page and at the bottom right corner of the right page. It actually passed the approval process with this hiccup. I quickly noticed it while it was published and available for selling and immediately fixed the graphics for my manuscript while my face was red with embarrassment. It takes a couple of days for corrections to go through, so I was praying no one would notice!
Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?
The lesson I learned is that we are human and it is part of the experience while on your journey when you own a company. You’re going to take risks — some are riskier than others — and you’re going to make mistakes, but I look at each mistake as a re-direction in order to polish my craft. In life, and with owning your business, it is supposed to be a journey of leveling up to your desired success. And without these re-directions in order to polish your craft, it doesn’t bring as much value to your desired outcome when you attain it. Furthermore, energy is fluid in the Universe, so if we were already an expert at everything, there wouldn’t be any fluidity in what we’re doing in shaping the world for the better. So I say laugh at yourself, laugh at situations, and enjoy the roller coaster ride of owning a business. An arrow always pulls back with tension before it surges toward its targeted goal. And if you miss the bullseye the first time around, it was a practice-round for your desired outcome.
Practice makes for progression, and progression brings the manifestation.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m currently working on publishing another self-help for success book within the next year. This book is about learning how to overcome your fear around money, learning how to unblock your money energy channels, and be able to manifest more abundance into your life. It took me two years to learn how to wrap my mind around the energy of money. Last year, I was in $29K worth of debt. Within two weeks of fully surrendering to the Universe’s “how” and timing, I was completely out of debt. Now, I’m teaching my money mindset and manifesting-action methods within this new book. Money is merely energy, just like the energy of everything else in our Universe. Through this book you’re positioning yourself to view the energy of money through a whole new lens. After all, we see with our mind, not with our eyes. Our eyes are window panes, and our mind is the projector. You’ll learn how to effectively project visual images of your version 2.0 self, living your version 2.0 life with more abundance using my visualization techniques. In addition, you’re learning how to funnel particles of money energy, the same particles that make up who you are, into your physical sphere so it becomes your new reality. That’s when your window panes for eyes “see” what you have created and attracted into your physical life.
What you believe to exist is what creates and persists.
With your newfound perspective, you are learning the formula to the Law of Attraction and how to be a “lighthouse” attracting to you.
I’m also a sponsor for The Warpaint Project that focuses on good mental health while beating the monster that is cancer. They are warriors who deserve to experience happier thoughts, have permission to feel daily positive emotions, and are so loved by many of us. It’s a special project for me to be able to give back to others, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.
Can you share with our readers a bit why you are an authority about the topic of the Loneliness Epidemic?
Everything exists in our Universe because of an exchange of energy, including the energy between human beings. We cannot survive without this exchange in order to meet our basic human needs. We literally need each other in order to thrive. Our bodies are made up of cells containing billions of lively elemental particles interminably bouncing around and interacting with one another. Energy is constantly fluid, which means our cellular structure changes over time through the influence of energetic vibration, thanks to thought and physical motion. A thought itself is a vibration of energy particles, and you change your thoughts thousands of times per day!
While loneliness is a feeling, it stems from our thoughts. First comes the thought, and then the feeling amplifies our thought because of our choice to put focused attention to it. Through the compound effect of this type of repeated emphasis, our beliefs begin to change over time. While this can help people to thrive in life, it can also lead to different types of mental illness if we don’t take care of ourselves to meet our basic needs, including the imperative need of positive interaction with each other.
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?
1) Societal pressures. One reason why feeling lonely and isolated can harm your health is due to societal pressures. In grade school, you may have felt lonely because you weren’t part of the “in” crowd. As an adult, you reach an age where you look around and all your friends are getting married and having families of their own. You begin to evaluate yourself as if there is something “wrong” with you because you aren’t doing the same thing at the same age. Through the compound effect of negative self-evaluation, you begin to believe your stories you tell yourself about your worth. Over time, you become lonely because you don’t give yourself permission to honor who you are as a unique and amazing soul on our planet, complete with intricate energy of elemental DNA, the same energy that makes up our Universe. You are phenomenal!
Let this sink in for a moment: you are here for a reason and you have a purpose in our world, go out there, discover it, and have fun with it.
But instead, you may entertain the comparison syndrome and focus only on what is “lacking” in your life because you’re not experiencing similar or same events as others are experiencing. This can lead to depression, which can lead to even more serious psychological illnesses. Again, you choose to believe the stories you tell yourself and this plays out over time because your behavior is reactive of your stories rather than being proactive and creating by setting your desired intentions. Do you know that over 55% of married people actually feel lonely most of the time? So stop buying into your stories persuading you that you’ll be at your happiest being married with kids because Joe and Sally are doing the same.
If you want marriage and kids as well, give yourself permission to attract your ideal relationship to you, and trust the process of it happening when it’s supposed to happen for you because this is your journey, no one else’s. You can have anything you want in life, relax and focus on everything you do have in your life, including your friends, family, and loved ones who are a positive support system for you. Everything you desire manifests through the habitual compound effect of trusting the process and believing it’s yours to have and experience.
2) Actually being alone. Another reason loneliness is a dangerous injury to your life is because living alone and staying home a lot, driving to and from work alone, and sitting at your desk all day working without much communication with others can cause you to feel isolated.
According to Alice G. Walton, Senior Contributor on Forbes.com, one factor that increases the likelihood of isolation is social media, which can lead to depression and other serious mental injuries. I noticed when I felt lonely for a while in my mid 20’s I started getting really paranoid about what consisted of “reality”. I was depressed and in a bad relationship, I lost my job during the economic recession, and it made my loneliness feel even worse. I was feeling so isolated and depressed that I tried to take my own life. I turned to social media to connect, but I ended up feeling even more isolated and lonely despite having connected with people online. I know some experts don’t believe social media has any negative impacts on loneliness, but during that period in my life I longed for a more authentic connection with others because certain areas of social media heavily rely on perfectionism and vanity metrics such as follower-count, like-count, and friendship-count. It’s not always authentic and honest to what our lives are actually like. I felt lonelier and even more isolated being on social media all the time.
In order to get out of my mental funk, I applied for a part-time job at a coffee shop while I was looking for another full-time job. It ended up being a lot of fun working at this place and I got out of my depression. My paranoia went away, too, and a few of the friends I made working at the coffee shop I am still really good friends with after 10 years. So get out there and join organizations that center around your hobbies and passions. You’ll meet like-minded people and they will turn into your best supporters and you’ll make meaningful connections that can last a lifetime.
3) Beam me up, Scotty. The last reason for loneliness having a life-threatening psychological impact is the obvious one: technology. As our technology evolves the less we communicate face-to-face or hear one another’s voice over the telephone.
While it can be fun and efficient to use technology, it takes away our basic needs of functioning as a human being. We like to feel the energy from others’ warm hands, their embrace from kind hugs, as well as magnifying our oxytocin levels, commonly known as feelings of “bonding”, through other forms of intimacy including reproduction and childbirth. The energy from plastic devices and digital codes projected onto computer screens do not provide the same nurturing and intense feelings like human bonding provides to us.
Feeling lonely will not only harm your psychological health, it can also lead to serious physical illnesses because your cellular structure changes over time due to the energy exchange between you and your surroundings. This is why many doctors urge you to get the proper rest, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and even be mindful of who you surround yourself with as a support system. When I got rid of the toxic energy around me, my life completely changed for the better and I’ve never looked back since then. Everything connects to each other because of how the Universe’s energy is interminably fluid.
On a broader societal level, in which way is loneliness harming our communities and society?
I think of the love-story and movie, Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, and directed by Spike Jonze. It takes place in the future where society is heavily dependent upon technology, including with their virtual assistants. While Phoenix’s character, Theodore, had recently divorced and felt lonely from this life-changing event, he became very close with his virtual assistant, “Samantha”, played by Johansson, in order to cure his heartbreak and loneliness. What Theodore didn’t realize was the face he was missing out on a real, authentic human connection when he turned to technology.
Consequently, it caused him to become even lonelier when “Samantha” had a software update and ended up leaving him altogether because she grew close to another virtual assistant. Before that moment, Theodore hadn’t tried to maintain any genuine human relationships, whereas “Samantha” was still maintaining her technology relationships by mingling in the digital domain. Luckily for Theodore, his journey leads him to another opportunity, this time around with a real human connection.
While this movie is science fiction, I do find a lot of realism in it because many people are reliant upon their phones and computers in order to work, keep on track with their schedules, entertainment, and yes, even create romantic relationships. For example, in Japan, thousands of men prefer their virtual relationships with virtual women to physical ones with human beings. I suspect the reason for this is because it instantly allows them to avoid feeling lonely from the fear of rejection. However, what seems like a harmless gaming subculture is actually isolating them from meeting thousands of eligible human women. These women, in turn, grow to feel lonely due to the competition of virtual-relationship gratification constructed through a self-esteem reward-system disguised as a game. The men are encouraged to allure virtual girls into committed relationships, and with each successful task completed, these virtual girls fall more in love with the male gamers.
This type of reward response system may stimulate one’s short-term satisfaction of their goal to evade loneliness; however, it is actually doing more harm than good for one’s life and collectively as a society.
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.
1) Generational behavioral changes. Our technological advancements are much more acceptable to rely on in the present and many younger generations, such as millennials and Generation Z, are becoming heavily codependent upon technology and less dependent upon human interaction. When walk around campus at The University of Texas at Arlington I notice many students have their heads down staring at their phones while walking. I’m surprised they don’t walk into anything more often than they do! However, professors walk around with their heads held high observing the younger generations and wondering why they don’t interact with each other more often. It’s quite interesting!
2) Workplace shifts. Aside from technological advancements, people either work too much or not enough and this can have a big influence on feeling lonely. If you work too much, you don’t have time to go to social events with your friends or colleagues after work, nor do you have time for your personal relationships with your loved ones. And if you work too little, you feel left out of the workplace dynamic of being current with the company’s operations. Over the years working in different environments, I have notice a central core feature: if you’re not being open with your communication style in person at your job, you’ll quickly be shut out by others. Sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes it’s not. Regardless, the person who doesn’t make the effort to have an open communication style and take initiative with work projects fails to get promoted, fails to get higher merits, and is often left out of workplace news and changes, and eventually ends up quitting altogether because they don’t feel connected to their job and/or their company’s workplace dynamics.
3) The evolution of personal relationships. Being with others most of the time doesn’t actually cure loneliness. You still have to be mindful of your own aspirations and passions to give healthy meaning to your life. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality when it comes to your social time. But, it’s equally important to have dates with yourself at least once or twice per week, too. If you love to golf, definitely make time for it. If you love to paint, read, write, do yoga, make time for it. Just like you would do with your significant other, it’s equally important to place your relationship with yourself at the top of your weekly “to-do” lists.
I love to journal and be around my pets, if I don’t make time for this I get really cranky and I feel negative. In addition, one of my most prized past times is “nap time”. So, I literally schedule my dates with myself by putting “nap” into my phone’s calendar on the weekends to make sure I get rest. When my phone notifies me, I go take a nap. In addition, I schedule “mindset journaling” into my phone each day at the same time to alert me so it’s habitual for me to go on a mental date with myself through visualizing what I’m manifesting into my physical realm. Think about it this way: when you go on a date with someone you take extra time to look amazing. So, go on some dates with yourself in order to feel amazing, because you are amazing! Loneliness does not have to be something you must fall into because the times have changed. That’s just an excuse for not taking care of yourself for your soul’s highest happiness. Be aware of your thoughts and your habitual daily behaviors. Better yet, shift them and create new ones that leave you feeling more positive. If I could do it, then I know you can, too, and I believe in you.
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.
1) More rest. I know you’ve heard this several times, and even as a kid you hated hearing the phrase, “time for bed.” But it’s important to get the right amount of sleep each night in order to function, and it’s vital to get the right amount of sleep each night in order to be at an optimum energy level, which reduces the feelings of loneliness. As adults it’s ironic we wished there was “nap time” at work, yet we don’t go to bed early enough because of all the things we want and need to accomplish each day. I schedule my “wants” and “needs” on my “to-do” lists so that I accomplish 2 “needs” and 1 “want” per day to mix it up. Then? Then I make sure to go to bed at a decent hour so that I have ample enough energy to focus and accomplish on the next day. Your body thrives much more with enough rest and you’ll be happier this way. I notice a big difference in my mood and overall feelings when I approach each day this way.
2) Journal 5–10 minutes each day. Most of us don’t set the intention of writing something down for it to be false information. We don’t write down our name as being “Bob” if our name is “Jennifer”. Furthermore, we don’t write down “today is Monday” if we are writing down this phrase on a Wednesday. We usually write down what we believe to be true, even if truth is all relative because energy is constantly fluid in our Universe.
Instead of arguing why it’s not possible, argue why it is possible.
Write a letter to the Universe thanking it for everything in your life and in your day. And when you journal be sure to journal with conviction, otherwise it defeats the purpose. Performing intention-writing for 5–10 minutes per day gives yourself permission to focus on the positive in your life. Furthermore, through the compound effect of daily positive journaling, your mindset learns how to focus on empowering thoughts, which leads to positive feelings, and your confidence level rises. I like to show appreciation by meshing what I’m thankful for that is already in my life and what I’m desiring to experience in my life as already having experienced it when I journal. Over time my brain doesn’t know the difference when I do this daily. My mindset shifts from believing something to be “not possible” to being “possible”, and then my desires emerge with ease because it doesn’t feel so foreign to me any longer. Our brain is a phenomenal organ and a magical commander. What loneliness? You’ll be so busy appreciating everything around you that you won’t even think about being lonely.
3) Have a pet as your roommate. When I was in my 20’s and feeling lonely one way I was able to get over it was to get a pet. For almost 10 years I’ve had 1 cat and 1 dog and they are the sweetest companions. They are always at the front door to greet me when I get home and they are great to have around while at home. In addition, when having a dog you meet other dog owners and this is one way to strike up a friendship. I can confidently say I haven’t felt lonely at all since acquiring my pets, they make life much brighter.
4) Indulge your taste buds with green tea. According to Deep Patel’s “10 Delicious Foods to Feed Both Body and Mind” on Entrepreneur.com, “Green tea contains caffeine, which has been shown to improve various aspects of brain function, including improved mood.” He goes on to state that amino acid L-theanine, found in green tea, “is believed to increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects.” I have to admit, I used to drink 1–2 cups of iced green tea every single day. Then I stopped for a couple of months and I noticed a lot of small negative effects compounding over time. My memory wasn’t as sharp, I gained more weight and I felt sluggish. I never thought green tea could actually make me feel better overall, but it does. My mood is uplifted, I feel more alert, and my body feels better.
5) Evaluate your support system. In our modern society I want to stress how important it is to spend your time wisely with others. In other words, evaluate those who are supportive of who you are and those who are not supportive of who you are. Either is a support system, it just depends on where you put your time and energy. Don’t be afraid to cut the cord with those who are negative and make you feel like less of a person than you are, they are not your real friends, and they are most certainly not a good support system for you. And if you need to go through a whole new support-system makeover, go do something outside of your job a few times per week. You can go for a walk outside, go to your local coffee shop, your local bookstore, a movie, or go to a restaurant and grab something to eat. Anything! People are everywhere and the beauty of this is you get to choose who you want within your energy space. What are your hobbies? Enroll in some classes or join meetups centered around your passions. You can even start your own business or side hustle and meet other like-minded souls this way. Even if you don’t talk to many people in what I call the “3D” environment, just being around other people’s positive energy will have you feeling less lonely. We are human and we want to feel a valuable connection with others. So, evaluate your current support system and give yourself permission to be available for even more positive energy to come your way. I used to think all people were “bad”, but I realize now I was looking at it all with a mindset focused on scarcity. There are a lot of good people in the world and you are worthy being one of them among them.
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 love to create “A Thriving Life” campaign where celebrities and influencers educate our younger generations the importance of brain health, including positive psychological health, in order to live a more fulfilling life. If a famous designer could design a bracelet, necklace, or shirt that showcases this movement, people will pay attention when celebrities and influencers embrace its purpose. We are allowed to be human and part of being human is having ups and downs in life. There is no need to hide when we are feeling lonely or depressed because we all go through hard times. And hard times doesn’t mean it will always be this way. I tried to take my own life ten years ago and I live with anxiety daily, yet I’m a master at using the Law of Attraction in so many ways. I’ve received many of my desires because I stopped trying to hide from all my thoughts and feelings as if I needed to not think a thought or feel a certain emotion. I shift the negative ones by acknowledging them and allowing them to pass through me because I know they are only stories I choose to believe when I decide to put a focused emphasis on my thoughts. Over time, my stories feel real because of my habitual choice to entertain them. This method creates the compound effect and it can be used for an overall negative mindset and for an overall positive mindset. We get to choose and this is the phenomenal part about it. We are not alone, we all have similar thoughts and feelings. It’s what we choose to do with them most of the time that matters.
If I could, I would create the “A Thriving Life” campaign and make the importance of being happy and healthy in life as empowering and sexy as Rihanna’s brand. How amazing would it be to have someone as influential as Rihanna taking famous designer’s creations for this movement and making the importance of a happy mindset sexy? We are all worthy of loving ourselves for who we are and accepting one another for our differences. When we try to change people for who they are naturally, they can become lonely because they feel isolated as being human. Yet, being human is a very natural and deserving way to be.
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 a private breakfast or lunch with Bruce Springsteen. I met him a few years ago when he pulled me on stage and danced with me during his famous song, “Dancing in the Dark” during the 2014 NCAA Music Festival in Dallas. It was live streaming online that night and I got bullied online quite a bit afterward for being “chunky” as the men described me. Some of these men are huge Springsteen fans, too. It was an experience I still struggle in dealing with at times because so many influential people are thin. I tried very hard to ignore the fat-shaming, but I will admit it still bothers me to this day. How could the best day of my life with meeting my favorite musician and mentor also end up being a day that left me in tears soon afterward?
I know Mr. Springsteen once struggled with depression, as I did, and I would love to be able to tell him “thank you” for all he has done over the years bringing voice to the voiceless and encouraging others to keep going despite hard times. People listen to him, it would be amazing to be able to talk to him and get advice about how I can continue my mission for our country to embrace mental health as being a very normal and important practice in life. I want to help so many people, but it’s hard to get people’s attention when others measure your sagacity and value based upon physical appearance such as your weight. I’ve always loved his music and I’ve always respected him as a humanitarian and advocate for inclusivity in our world.
It’s not the time in your life, it’s the life in your time. — Bruce Springsteen
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