Welcome. This is the forth article in a series on stress which aims to give you simple ideas for managing stress. Each article contains an idea to manage stress, a short explanation why it is helpful in managing stress and an exercise based on the idea. Then it is up to you to try it out over the week. To get the most out of this series, write down how each exercise is working for you in managing your stress.
Idea 1 – Cultivating Gratitude.Stress Reducing Ideas – Idea 1 – Cultivating Gratitude
Idea 2 – Becoming Mindful.Stress Reducing Ideas – Idea 2 – Becoming Mindful
Idea 3 – Altruistic Acts.Stress Reducing Ideas – Idea 3 – Altruistic Acts
This week’s idea is Socialising
We are social beings and thrive when we have emotional support. Research has found that socialising can decrease our feelings of loneliness and anxiety whilst increasing our feelings of safety, connectedness, belonging and enjoyment. Having social support can help us feel more confident in our own ability to manage stressors and help us change our focus from inward to outward. This can help give us perspective, increase our sense of meaning and break the cycle of ruminating on our problems. When spending quality time with others we can talk through our problems to help us better deal with our difficulties. In turn this can improve mood and decrease levels of stress. Furthermore, loneliness and lack of social support have been linked to health conditions including cognitive decline, high blood pressure, diminished immunity, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and cancer.
Quality over Quantity
It is possible to be surrounded by people and feel lonely and without social support. It is important to seek out quality socialising that you gain from rather than socialising with people who drain your resources and energy, adding to your stress. A healthy social relationship will be based on give and take from each person. At times it may be more or less of one but all should even out over time. This means we need to put time and effort into our relationships in order for them to be meaningful to us. We may need to be assertive and stand up for ourselves at times. We may even have to take a step back from some relationships that are not helpful to us. This may be difficult to do but remember quality socialising has a stress reducing impact on our life rather than stress inducing.
Exercise on Socialising
Write the heading “Quality Socialising” and list the people in your life that you can put in this category.
The number of people in this list is not important. We are looking for quality not quantity. Maybe you have written down one name or maybe a few.
Next to Quality Socialising write a new heading “Positives”. Now list one or more positive attributes you gain from socialising with each person you have listed.
Quality Socialising Positives
Person A We can talk to each other and have fun
Now look at your list and chose one person (or more) to spend some quality socialising time with this week. Get in touch to see them or give them a call or email. Maybe you are already planning to spend time with them this week. I would encourage you to acknowledge your time spent with this person is quality socialising time and appreciate you have this person in your life.
If you haven’t been able to list a name, your exercise is to think of the people you are in contact with and decide if there is someone who could become a quality social support. Get in touch and invite that person to do something with you this week. If you can’t think of anyone, join a group or take a class that interests you.
If you are struggling with loneliness and want support please check out Mind website mind.org.uk
If you have enjoyed reading this article please like and share. I will introduce you to another stress managing idea next week. Until then have a good one.
Thank you to Alice Thomson for this week’s feature image.