Want Less Stress? Spend Time with Friends

Do you ever feel there aren’t enough hours in the day? According to a recent research study, participants who outsourced laundry, cleaning, yard work and other tedious chores reported greater life satisfaction. These results suggest that spending money on time saving services increases happiness by minimizing tension about limited free time.

Interested? There’s no better way to relieve pressure than by spending quality time with friends. And as a plus, emotional support from friends helps you navigate work/family transitions and live a more satisfying life. Numerous studies indicate that social ties reduce stress and increase feelings of wellbeing.

So think about what you value in your friendships. Do you appreciate unflinching acceptance and fierce loyalty, even after disclosing your darkest secrets? Or is it feeling so secure with someone totally on your side that anything is possible? No matter what, here’s how to nurture these valuable relationships:

Give and take. You may find it hard to ask for help, especially if you think your coping strength comes from not needing to depend on others. Friends can buffer the effects of distress and provide refuge and meaning when you are feeling blue. But they are able to support you only if you let them in.

Lower expectations. Friendships are complicated. No one can meet all your needs all the time. Being jealous or possessive can lead to rifts and misunderstandings. Look deep inside to find emotional strength as you face your conflicts with friends head-on. And if you have hurt feelings, talk about them long before resentments build.

Stay in touch. Relationships change over time, but that doesn’t mean they have to end. When you’re feeling vulnerable, small slights or disappointments can become exaggerated. Recognize that certain standards may be hard to maintain. Allow your friends some slack because no one is perfect.

Whether you text each other often, exercise together once a week, meet at book group monthly or enjoy an annual weekend getaway, carve out enough time to nourish you and your relationships. Support one another as you continue to grow into the understanding and closeness at the heart of friendships.

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