Research has shown that social support wards off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety and other health problems.1 Do you need to be more connected to others? Here are some tips to help you create a plan to make, keep and strengthen connections in your life: Did You Know?
A study that followed participants over the course of 20 years found that a person’s level of happiness was related to the happiness of their social networks. If a person had a happy friend who lived within a mile, the person themselves was 25% more likely to be happy as well. In addition, it found that a person’s happiness can be related to the happiness of someone separated by up to three degrees (a friend of a friend of a friend).
Make a short list of friends and family members who are supportiveand positive. Also include a list of people you feel the need to stay in touch with regularly such as parents, a close friend or adult child who lives far away, or an aging relative who lives alone.
Make a commitment to yourself to call, email or get together with them on a schedule that’s reasonable for you. Try to reach out to make at least one emotional connection a day, but plan realistically. In cases of long distance, consider using web-based ways of keeping in touch, like Skype or Facebook.
Share what’s on your mind honestly and openly. Talk about your concerns in a straight-forward way, but try to keep it constructive. Try to be direct about what you need – for example a sympathetic ear, help solving a problem, a fresh perspective, new ideas or a good laugh. Don’t hesitate to ask for the kind of help you’d like. Ask what other people think about your situation, and show them you value their opinion.
When you talk, also listen. Ask about someone else’s day, or follow up on the topic of a previous conversation. Showing sincere interest in another person’s life builds relationships and listening to other people’s concerns can often shed a new light on your own challenges. Offer help or advice if asked – listen and respond.
Make social plans. Create opportunities to strengthen your relationships with fun things that both you and your friend or relative will enjoy. Looking forward to special activities boosts our spirits, gives us energy and makes us more productive.
Services available through The BES Group / Solutions Plus
BES Group and Associates/Solutions Plus, is a group of Mental Health Professionals that can provide a broad spectrum of services to meet individual needs; serving patients from ﬁve years old to across the life span. We can help in dealing with Anger Management and Stress Reduction as well as providing a variety of other mental health services. Call us today at (713) 935-9990, we are here to help.