Studies consistently show that social support mitigates the effects of stress, enhances resilience, and contributes to overall well being.
“Social support” means staying connected with people you care about, and whom care about you. Members of your social support network may be friends, family, coworkers, members of an organization, neighbors, etc.
Today, take an inventory of how you’re investing in your social support groups. Are there friends or groups you’ve neglected recently? Make a point of reaching out!
- Call a friend/relative, or at least email, text, or Facebook someone you haven’t connected with recently
- Make plans for an outing with a friend/relative
- Plan a trip to see (or invite) a friend/relative
If you’re good at staying connected with others, good for you! Consider making an extra effort today with someone who seems to be struggling–he or she will benefit from your reaching out!
If you feel completely isolated, think about how you might begin to connect with others:
- Next time you’re out on an errand, pay attention to those around you–make eye contact, smile, make conversation if appropriate
- Don’t hide behind the internet, but consider joining Facebook if you haven’t already or look for an interest group online
- And the usual suggestion, which is always valid–volunteer or join a local hobby/sport/interest group
For more information on shoring up your social support and how it combats stress, read this article from the Mayo Clinic.
For a scholarly article on the neurobiology of social support and how it decreases the negative effects of stress, read this article published by the National Institutes of Health.
How did you reach out today?