Friday, May 25, 2018

Reducing Stress by Seeking Social Support

Though it's healthy to develop the ability to enjoy one's own company and have a certain skill in doing things alone, there is also a need to find emotional and psychological support from others, and spending time in the company of like-minds and familiar friends has been shown to result in the lowering of stress, anxiety, and depression.

In addition, isolation leaves us in the company of only one set of ideas... our own.  And if our ideas about life are negative or we tend to do a lot of catastrophic thinking, we have only ourselves to listen to day and night, and only our own catastrophic conclusions to come to.

That's why it's important to break out of our shell now and then and seek out the company of others-- be they friends, family, or new acquaintances, because it is in this occasional arena that we remember our human nature and the social aspect that comes with it.

Even if you are an introvert and need your down time to re-energize, too much isolation can only lead to more anxiety and stress since it does not offer any of the interactive human needs such as conversation, validation, support, encouragement, or many of the other perks that come from social interaction with other human beings.  The key for introverts is to know how much human interaction you need, and to set boundaries from there.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

*Consider taking a class at your local recreation center.  It's a way to meet other people and get out into the community where you hear the voices and opinions of others.

*Ask a coworker to lunch.  Even if it doesn't go well, you have introduced a new view and personality into your day, that is different from your own.

*Attend a meetup group that you find interesting.  Meeting others of like-minds and like-interests can lead to life long friendships.

*Call an acquaintance and ask them to lunch, dinner, or simply for coffee and conversation.

*Join a local competitive group such as softball, golf, chess, running, etc.  It really doesn't matter if you join to win, the point is getting involved and meeting others who do the same.

"We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone,... alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders."    ~Maya Angelou

Thanks to cuatrok77 for the great photo