You may have noticed there is nothing more calming or comforting than spending quality time with someone who makes you feel safe, understood and valuable. Did you know that face-to-face interaction causes a flood of hormones that counteracts the body’s defensive “fight-or-flight” response? It’s one of nature’s natural stress relievers, and as an added benefit, it also helps ward off depression and anxiety. So making it a point to connect regularly in person with family and friends is a great way to reduces stress and anxiety.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the people you talk to and spend time with don’t necessarily have to be able to “fix” your stress. They just simply need to listen empathically. Do your best not to let concerns about looking weak or being a burden keep you from opening up and connecting. The people who truly care about you will be honored by your trust in them and glad to offer some support. It may, in fact, really strengthen your bond.
Of course, it may not always be possible or practical to have a friend or support available to lean on when you feel anxious or overwhelmed by stress. By taking the time to build and maintain a network of close friends you can definitely improve your resiliency to life’s stressors and lower anxious feelings. So, how do you do that?
Here are some tips for building relationships:
1. That work colleague you wish you knew better? Reach out!
2. Get your volunteer game on! Helping someone else is also a great way to help yourself
3. Invite a friend for coffee or lunch
4. Set up regular check ins with a loved one
5. Join someone for a movie or a concert
6. Call, text, DM or old-school email an old friend
7. Find a workout buddy and check out new classes, plan walks, or go on adventures
8. Set up a weekly dinner date
9. Sign up to take a class or join a club to meet new people with similar interests
10. Confide in a trusted spiritual advisor, teacher, coach, or consider seeing a therapist
If you feel you could benefit from additional strategies to manage stress and lower your anxiety, we can help! Give us a call at (716) 926-6009 or click here to schedule an appointment.