Social Connections Reduce Stress
Photo credit: vahiju from Morguefile,com
Stress is an inevitable occurrence in our lives. Sometimes we can manage easily. We may remain focused with our daily tasks, take a couple extra work breaks, exercise, joke around or eat a few more snacks to help us through the day.
However stress can also be, at times, too overwhelming to push aside with our usual coping strategies. We may have so many stressors we may not see a way out or can’t find enough outlets so our stress levels can subside. We may feel like the walls of stress we are surrounded by are narrowing in on us.
Then we get a phone call from a friend who would love to spend some time together. We may, at first, want to respond; “No, now is not a good time.”, however, what better time than to escape this reality for an hour or two? So we agree to meet up with our friend, and after five minutes of small talk, we take in a breath of relief.
When we push aside relationships because we are “too stressed out,” we may feel more stress and even a little anxious. Thoughts of being unsupported can fuel feelings of loneliness and isolation leading to even less motivation to seek friendships. Limited social support has been associated with depression and cognitive decline (Harvard Women’s Health Watch).
- Provide support, encouragement, empathy, and humour
- Encourage our physical health. “Social connections help relieve harm to the heart’s arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system (Harvard Health Publications).
- Help us feel a sense of belonging, that we can relate and share similar life stressors (work, school, family, spouses, and/or children).
- Build opportunities to engage in the same activities of interests (sport, music, artistic, etc.)
- Provide stress-relief, financial aid at times and helpful advice
Professional counselling can assist you to better manage stress and develop improved interpersonal skills. We can also help strengthen existing social skills and strengths helping you overcome challenges with friends and build up satisfying social connections. Contact us today.