RESILIENCE - Chapter 4

HOW TO BUILD CONNECTIONS DURING TIMES OF LOSS

Times of loss can be some of the most difficult, challenging, and stressful times in a person's life. Whether it's losing a job, losing a spouse, or losing your health, loss requires resilience so that way you can mourn properly but bounce back for the future. One of the best ways to bounce back from times of loss is to build your connections elsewhere. As we have previously discussed, having strong support systems is an imperative part of being resilient. If you do not have a good support system, you may have nowhere to turn to if you're lost and need help back up. Benefits Of Connection Once again, connections are a vital part of resilience. The reason for this is that human beings are social creatures and having good connections and relationships with other human beings results in a number of healthy benefits. In fact, studies have shown that the absence of connection causes distress. In situations that are already stressful, lacking emotion exacerbates the distress. More so, lacking good social support leads to poor mental health, poor cardiovascular health, and other health problems. In contrast, though, having a strong support system is good for your well being and health. Here are some benefits of having valuable connections in your life: Improves your ability to cope Alleviates the effects of distress Promotes lifelong good mental health Improve self-esteem Lowers cardiovascular risks Promotes healthy lifestyle habits Quality Vs. Quantity Connections With that being said, it is important to distinguish quality versus quantity connections. In order to get the most benefits of your social support network, it is important to fill your network with people who are kind, supportive, and challenge you to grow. If your network is full of people who really don't care about you, it will not be supportive during your times of need. With this in mind, it is imperative to look for connections that are valuable to both you and the other person. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with having a lot of connections. The more the merrier. However, make sure that these connections are valuable and truly care about you. Having quality connections will provide you a place to go when you need help, support, or advice. For most people, family members are a great place to look for quality connections. Most family members, such as parents or siblings, already care about you and only want the best for you. Additionally, close friends and community members also are good options for quality connections. How To Build Healthy Connections If you do not have many quality connections at the moment, that is okay. You are not alone. Many people feel isolated and alone in the world. Although this is your current state, it doesn’t have to be your future one. There are ways to build your connections so that way you are less isolated in the future. Even if you already have a lot of connections, there's nothing wrong with looking for more. As social creatures, we love to be challenged by and engaged with a variety of people. So, these ideas might work for you even if you already have a large social support network. Here are some good ideas to help you find connections for your social support network: Volunteer: One of the best ways to find connections is to volunteer at a local charity or organization that you care about. Volunteering will allow you to connect with your community, as well as meet others who share similar interests and values. Not only will volunteering get you connections, but it will also help you connect to a deeper meaning at the same time. Join A Fitness Group: Another way to find connections is to join a fitness group. Since daily exercise should already be a part of your daily schedule, it is a good idea to join a group so that way you are continuing to exercise while meeting new people. Look at gyms in your area or go to a local Community Center. Take A Class: You can also take a class at a local college or Community Center to meet new people interested in a similar topic. Not only will this class expose you to potential connections, but it will also cultivate your psychological resilience as it teaches you new hobbies and ideas. Look Online: With the modern age, one of the best ways to meet people is online. Joining Facebook groups or following inspirational people on Instagram can be a great way to connect with people with similar interests and mentalities. There are even online support groups for specific times of loss, which will allow you to connect with people who are experiencing the same feelings as you. Make sure to pick a reputable site and be cautious about arranging in-person meetings. How To Maintain Healthy Connections Once you have met people who you like and want to deepen your relationship with, it is important to develop and maintain the connections. Here are some ways to nurture your relationships so that way they may turn into a healthy support system in the future: Stay In Touch: Always stay in touch. Answer phone calls, return emails, and offer invitations. This lets them know that you care about them. Don’t Be Jealous: Another way to develop your connections is to not be jealous whenever the other person succeeds. Show that person that you are happy for their success. Listen: Make sure to listen when the other person is talking. Though this may sound obvious, many people ruin relationships because they are too busy talking about themselves to listen to the other person. Give Back: If your friend is always available for you and listens to you, do the same for them. Give back whatever they give to you. Don’t Overdo It: Make sure not to be too overeager or overwhelm your friend with messages, calls, or talks of your feelings. If you do these things, you are more likely to find and develop your relationships. Even if some of your connections have been around for years, it is important to maintain them so that way they will be there for you in the future as well.
CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 5