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Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo

Turning Our Complex Thoughts Into Simple Concepts

By Carlos LacayoPublished 3 years ago 5 min read

Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo is one of the nation’s top psychologists and built her career on turning complex psychological ideas into bite-sized concepts that are easy to digest. She’s published multiple books on self-improvement and overcoming the battle with our inner selves and given talks at numerous events, as well as appearing on Good Morning America and The TODAY Show. She also founded her company EleVive, which stands for “Elevate your mindset, thrive in life,” geared towards improving teens/tweens’ relationships with their parents.

Dr. Lombardo talks about what exactly a “happy life” is, some of the things we may be going through during these turbulent times and how we can get through it and give details on her latest book.

1. For those who are unaware, who are you and how did you get your start in psychology?

I got started in psychology inspired by a patient who I was seeing when I was a physical therapist. I was a practicing PT and absolutely loved the field; helping clients get out of pain, learn how to walk again after a stroke and deal with a sports injury.

One particular client, however, changed the trajectory of my career. We will call this person “David.” “David” had had a surgical amputation of part of his leg because of complications with his diabetes. He came down to the physical therapy gym where I was going to teach him how to walk again and use his prosthetic device. “David” wanted nothing to do with me. He shouted, “can’t you just let me go back up to my room?” And so, I did. Later we had rounds with the doctors, nurses and therapists, who were all talking about how we could best serve each patient.

When David’s name came up, people agreed that he was struggling. That made sense to me. It was the next event that changed my life forever. The attending physician, the surgeon who literally had cut off David’s leg the day before said, “I’ll give him Prozac. While there is certainly a time and place for medication, I remember thinking, “don’t you think he needs someone to talk to, to help process this significant loss in his life?”

I realized right then and there that this was my calling - to help people deal with whatever life throws at them so that they cannot only get through difficult times but even thrive. That is my mission in life now.

2. There are so many of us that are trying to get back to “normal” life again. What are some mental and emotional issues one might face trying to get reacclimated with the world and how can they overcome them?

1. Uncertainty: The past year and a half has been riddled with much uncertainty, and that continues. Just when we thought things were getting better and masks could be off, the Delta variant alters our “return to normal.” In general, uncertainty makes people uncomfortable at best and feeling downright helpless at worst. When I am working with corporations, I find there is a lot of helplessness that people are experiencing right now, the sense that “there is nothing I can do to make things better.” Sadly, helplessness can lead to things like depression and greater stress. To overcome this, it’s important to remember that, while you don’t always have control over what is happening, you do always have control over your reaction to it. As such, you are never truly helpless.

2. FOGO: We have all heard of FOMO, what I am seeing now is a lot of FOGO- fear of going out. The adage “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” is applicable here. For many months, people have not been using their social skills as much due to a lack of direct contact with others and in-person social interactions. As such, those skills are a bit dusty for some people, resulting in some social anxiety or fear of interacting with others on top of any concerns about exposure to COVID.

To overcome this, consider what I call hot tub syndrome. Consider a hot tub where you put your foot in, but the water is so hot that you have to pull your foot out. However, if you dip your foot in and out several times, eventually you acclimate to the water. You may do this dance with your other foot and other parts of your body, such that eventually you are in the hot water up to your neck and it feels great. This is hot tub syndrome. What first feels awkward eventually feels comfortable. Same thing is true with social situations.

3. Stress: Stress levels are at an all-time high for many people. When we are stressed we tend to focus more on the negative, we tend to interact more negatively with others, and we feel like a victim our circumstances. The way to overcome this is to get out of the Red Zone.

3. How would you describe a “happy life” and what are some ways we can achieve this?

A truly happy life entails what I call True Success. True Success is something more than how society may define success, such as having more money or a certain job title. True Success is three ingredients: passion, purpose and people. Passion means having positive energy even during difficult times. It means appreciating what good is happening as well as being excited and enthusiastic to make things better. Purpose has to do with having meaning in our lives and is central to true happiness. Finally, “people” entails optimizing our relationships with others. We are social beings, and when we can have strong supportive loving relationships, that brings us so much more happiness and fulfillment.

The way to do that is to be GREAT:

Gratitude- focus on being grateful

Reach out to others (cultivating strong relationships)

Embrace meaning in your life

Assist others (volunteering, mentoring, contributing to a cause greater than yourself)

Take care of yourself (self-care, including stress management, getting the sleep you need, exercise and meditation)

4. Are there any similarities you see across many or all of your clients?

My clients tend to be very successful on paper, meaning they are “comfortable” and have been successful in their chosen career pathway. And yet they come to me asking “is this is good as it gets? Fortunately, the answer is “no.” Things can always get better, with the right training.

5. You have a new book that is set to release soon. What can you tell me about that?

Thank you for asking. The book is called Get Out of the Red Zone: Transform your Stress to Optimize True Success. It is based on getting out of the psychological Red Zone. If you consider stress going from zero (none at all)l to 10 out of 10 (the most stressed you’ve ever been), the Red Zone is when you’re at a seven out of 10 or higher. When we are in the Red Zone, rational thinking tends to go out the window. Our limbic system or survival mechanism tends to take over. As such, we tend to focus on what’s wrong, we tend to personalize what other people do in a negative way, we tend to feel like a victim of our circumstances. While stress is a part of our lives, learning how to get out of the Red Zone can help us can help you transform your stress so you can feel happier, have better relationships, enjoy better health, and be more successful at whatever you choose to do.

6. When will the book be available?

The book will be available this fall.





About the Creator

Carlos Lacayo

I love to write about everything from restaurants, people and events that interest me as well as entertainment, pop culture and health and wellness. Your support or tip means the world to me as a writer! Give me a follow on Instagram.

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    Carlos LacayoWritten by Carlos Lacayo

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