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stress and social support groups

Friends in Need: The Buffer Theory

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There are a multitude of coping techniques to successfully deal with stress, but one that tops the list is this: A strong support group made up of quality friends. As the expression goes, “No man (or woman) is an island!” Humans are social animals and we all need social support. As family structures continue to erode with divorce and various forms of relocation, friends serve an ever greater role in helping up cope with stress. Dozens of research studies now confirm what we all know intuitively: Good friends help buffer us from the crushing blows of stress. Sociologists are a bit concerned with the increasing number of virtual friends edging out the number of actual friends and face-to-face social encounters. Not long ago, friends (and neighbors) would bring covered dishes of food over to one’s house as a sign of support for those in need of comfort. Today many people don’t even know their neighbors, yet they have up to 500 friends on Facebook. Without a doubt, friends help us deal with the stress of life.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Show your support to one or more of your friends who are going through a stressful time. Declare this week: Take a friend to lunch week Call them up and talk in real time. Invite them over for dinner. Meet up with them for coffee, tea or a special session of ice cream therapy. Do something more than leaving a six-word sentence on Facebook. Go beyond the virtual. Get real with your friends. And….consider adding someone new to your circle of friends as well. Take time to cultivate your support group. It will prove to be the best investment you will ever make.

Links or Books Worth Noting:
Speaking of friends, a friend sent me this link… and I share it with you.. just for your LOTR fans a good and humorous parody. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yqVD0swvWU

Photo for the Day:
Several members of the 2010 Spirit of Ireland Journey group reunited for a reunion at the 2010 Mountain Retreat in Estes Park last weekend. A special bond was created among all the participants of the Emerald Isle trip, so much so, that they wanted to reunite for an encore visit in Colorado. This photo was taken prior to the concert (performed by Dan Sebranek and Mary Cortesi) who, along with yours truly, sang a set of Irish tunes including Will Ye Go Lassie Go and The Wild Rover( No, Ney Never). For sure, it was a night… and a weekend to remember.

Quote for the Day:
“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.” —Thomas A. Edison

”A sympathetic friend can be quite as dear as a brother.” —Homer

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Friends in Need, Indeed!

By | friends, stress and social support groups | No Comments

Of all the coping techniques known to diffuse stress, what rises to the top of the list is the one called “support groups.” It’s the reason why jokes are more funny when shared. It’s the reason why we prefer to do yoga in groups rather than alone, and it certainly is the core of success behind recovery groups of all kinds. Having friends around makes a meal so much more enjoyable. John Donne was right when he said, “No man is an island.” Good friends can certainly take the edge off a bad day. Friendships contribute to the best memories of life you will ever have. Regarding stress, the bottom line is that we all want to be accepted. Acceptance is a form of love and ultimately we all need to be loved, too. Social support, however, takes work. Friendships just don’t happen. They require constant nurturing. Friendships require more than Facebook updates and tweets. Never let technology replace a strong bear hug. Phone calls, pot lucks, birthday cards, morning jogs, rock concerts, tailgate barbeques and perhaps even vacations together; these are the moments one looks back on with fondness. As the stress of life increases, so too, does the importance of friendships. Indeed, that is why we are here in the first place.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
How strong is your support group? Who do you count among your closest friends? What do you do to nurture these friendships? In the normal course of life, friends move, some even die all too soon. What do you do to maintain that critical mass of friendships, that critical mass of support? Consider adding to your social support group but making a new friend today.

• Links Worth Noting:
Sometimes, help is needed by unknown friends. This is called altruism. On of my favorite organizations is Heifer.org. You may have heard about it, if not here is a link to their website. http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.204586/?msource=kw2743&gclid=CPTw1tSQ_p0CFQohDQodWyfUoA

• Photo of the Day:
Nearly two years ago a good friend and college buddy from The University of Illinois called me up and invited me to run in Hood to Coast Relay with 11 of his friends (Thanks, Barry!) I said yes before I knew what I was getting into, but it was one of the best memories I’ll ever have of male bonding. Here is one (of hundreds of) photo(s) I took at the finish line (can you sense the exuberance of the moment?). This photo, perhaps more than any other taken that weekend epitomizes the word support!

• Quote for the Day:
“I get by with a little help from my friends.” – John Lennon

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.