This Activity May Be A Secret Weapon Against Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly increased the amount of stress we feel in our lives. Still, they also say that learning healthy ways to cope with stress can make us more resilient. CDC says connecting with others and talking to them about your feelings and concerns is one of the healthiest ways to cope with stress. Mayo Clinic shared that having solid friendships enriches your life and improves your health because it helps with loneliness, gives you a sense of belonging, boosts your happiness, and reduces stress. Have you noticed how much better and less stressful life feels when you are hanging out with your friends?

A study published in the Journal of Women & Aging paired women with friends and strangers to solve puzzles. The women who were paired with friends had lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in their saliva. It's fascinating to see how our bodies have ways of expressing how we are feeling by physically reacting to stressful situations. Postdoctoral researcher Michelle Rodrigues, Ph.D., shared in the study, "We can see that friendship has that same effect throughout the lifespan; familiar partners and friendship buffer stress." And, it seems right now, we need our friendships more than ever. When was the last time you spent time with your friends?

Spending time with friends can be a great stress reliever

We form strong bonds with many people throughout our lives, and our friends are families that we choose for ourselves. Friends help us celebrate the good times and also help us get through our difficult times (via Verywell Mind). 

A study in the US National Library of Medicine says that talking to a friend on the phone or video chatting helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it more challenging due to social distancing because you don't get to see your friends in person often. Thankfully, modern technology still makes it possible to connect with others. 

We can have a healthy diet and stay active to alleviate the effects of stress, too. But if there is one thing that requires less hard work — it is the social support of friends, per Healthline. Being a part of a social network helps our self-worth and makes us feel like we belong. We are all battling the stress of Covid-19, and doesn't joining forces with our network of friends make the situation feel better? Even the mere presence of a friend by you can make you feel instantly safer (via New York Times). That is because having friends make us feel like we are not alone in this, and being social creatures, we need that in our lives. So, if you're thinking about picking up the phone to reconnect with a friend, now could be a great time.