Resilience is the ability to adapt and cope with stressful situations which is a vital factor in a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. People who are resilient cope better with losses, have better health and live longer.
And even though resilience can’t protect you from pain and experiencing hardships in life, it can certainly help you stay focused, healthy, and not lose yourself and your sanity.
The best thing about resilience is that it is not something people are born with. It is a trait and a skill that you can practice and learn. There are many ways to build resilience, but the best and most powerful one is friendship.
Friendships are very important because they release the hormone oxytocin which is responsible for our happiness. That’s why when we go through periods of great stress, we find shelter among our friends and want their support and company.
Moreover, many studies have shown that people who have strong friendships are more resilient when dealing with difficult situations such as serious medical illnesses, problems at work, or a loss of a loved one.
Sadly, nowadays, we are more isolated and stressed than ever. We juggle many responsibilities and we say to ourselves that we don’t have time for maintaining friendships, so we put them on the back burner.
And one of the biggest problems when it comes to creating strong and meaningful bonds with our friends is the fact that people who tend to isolate themselves engage in behaviors that keep them even more isolated even though they want to socialize more. This is probably because by withdrawing from their friends they begin to see others in a negative light, even those with the best intentions. That becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of.
If you are not super social, don’t worry. You can still be an introvert and make new friends. Plus, the great thing is that you need one close friend to make a difference in your life and shape you into a more resilient person.
Here are some tips to build better friendships and more resilience.
First, create connections. Sign up for a new exciting class or a special interest group and meet new like-minded people who share your interests. This is a great way to bond because you’ll have something common to talk about.
Then, strengthen the connections you’ve made and the connections you already have. Deepen your friendships by reaching out and inviting them for coffee or lunch. Also, try to carve out an hour or two of your weekly schedule to meet with friends regularly and catch up.
Be more present in a physical way than online. While the internet is a great way to stay connected to everyone important in our life, we should not forget that nothing beats the face-to-face conversation with a person when it comes to nurturing and maintaining our relationships. That’s why we should all spend less time online, and more face-to-face with a person.
When you are feeling stressed, reach out.
A major part of building resilience is through reaching out and accepting help when you need it from people that are important to you. You’ll both feel better afterward and there is no better way to deepen the bond that you have.