I’m sure you have a lot of friends, personally, and professionally.  Often, we try not to discuss the stressful events in our life with them.  We don’t want to burden them with our problems.  Besides, when we are down, some friends would suggest that we just have fun and paint the town red, whatever that means.

However, sharing our predicaments with a friend can relieve our stress, increase our strengths, and can help us create innovative solutions for life’s inevitable ups and downs.

I have said for years, make sure you spend time with friends that are supporting you, rather than distorting you.  Choosing the right companions is the key.

Some researchers claim one benefit is that friends make us sharper.  Research shows that a 10-minute chat on a social topic can boost executive function, this type of mental agility can help us solve problems.

It is also important to have friends around us who support us when we take stress-filled risks.  Friends reduce our body’s stress response.  Studies have shown that when people have a negative experience while one of their friends is present, not only do they feel better about themselves afterwards, but they also had lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, during the stressful situation, than those people who did not have a friend present.

We can tolerate so much more stress in life when the right people are there to let us know that we are not alone, in good times and bad.  So, make friendship a priority and schedule time together.  Never take friendship for granted.  Join a variety of groups that match your interests.  Have different friends for different activities.

Choose the best the best people to work alongside, to enjoy social activities, and share the same home.  It’s your life, so live it, and live it well.

Assess your friendships.  Invest in the best.  True friends will help you manage your stress.

If you and your coworkers are suffering from significant stress, contact me at kit@seminarsonstress.com and I will deliver a presentation packed with dozens of stress management strategies.  Check back to seminarsonstress.com regularly for a new video blog.