Friendships Promote Emotional Well-Being During Anxious Times

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The support between friends creates a sense of community and we need that more than ever right now.

By Deborah Olson, RN, MA, LPC at Galleria Counseling

The news and media all around us every day are now telling us we need to stay home, don’t go to public events, cancel travels plans – all with our safety in mind. Dealing with crisis can be stressful, exhausting, anxiety provoking and overwhelming. Let me share a few thoughts that might help reframe things regarding the corona virus and put it inside of a context that might make some sense and maybe take our anxiety levels down a little bit.

In the days after 9/11 we were all feeling the same way. We were in uncharted waters and we were scared. We felt vulnerable and we didn’t know what was coming next. It’s much like that today. Things are very different for everyone and this is a time where we do still need each other despite the fact we’re being asked not to go into crowds and not gather with people like we normally would.

It’s still a time we need to connect. We can do that through social media, through Skype and FaceTime. This is the time we do need to share with each other. We need to encourage each other and be friends with each other and have that vital connection that we all need. When we talk about our fears and our anxieties with our family and our friends, it helps us, and it brings our anxiety levels down. It normalizes things because we’re all feeling the same right now.

If you are in your home and you are missing out on connections that you normally would have at work or in public social functions, take the time today to reach out to a friend or a loved one. Let them know that you’re thinking of them. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Although this is not always easy, it is important to pause and identify the positives in a situation. By employing an attitude of gratitude, we accentuate the good, thus maintaining optimism while fighting off negativity.

Research continues to show that sharing connections with others helps people live longer and healthier lives. Never underestimate the healing power that comes from sharing in special friendships during the ups and downs of life! Our friendships help restore the broken parts of our bodies, our souls, and our hearts. The gift of friendship is a key to promoting longevity, helping us find our centered selves in the midst of chaos, and letting us lead our most meaningful and happiest lives.

How to Promote Emotional Well-being During Anxious Times

First, make sure to give yourself time to adjust expectations. Acknowledge and accept that this is a difficult but temporary situation.

Second, garner support from friends, family and the community. Stay connected to others even if you can’t meet up in person and be willing to ask for assistance from trusted people. Sharing helps us feel an instant bond, encourages us to heal and helps us to move on.

Third, self-care is necessary. Engage in healthy behaviors such as eating balanced meals, getting plenty of rest, exercising and finding positive ways to relieve stress.

Finally, become future focused and look ahead for better days on the horizon. We must seek hope and strive to move ahead to a new normal, decisively determining the positive aspects and plans for the future.

We do need each other more than ever right now. That connection is a crucial source for us. It helps us not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. So don’t be shut off from your very essential social connections and those friendships and family connections that we all need. It really is a time we need those connections more than ever.

We will get through this and it will get back to what we knew as normal before. We just need to weather the storms and stay in touch with each other the best that we can now and one day we’ll look back on this whole experience and say, “Gee, that was a tough time!” Please, reach out today to those you love. It’s going to be okay. Take care and stay strong!

 

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