Four Stress-Whittling Ways To Stay Connected

The quality of your relationships will radically impact your life.


Dr. Seth Gillihan states in his book Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple, “As a general rule, nothing has a bigger impact on our well-being than our closest relationships. Nothing can really compensate for impoverished connections with others, and we can tolerate just about anything if our relationships are strong and supportive.”[1]


Moreover, research shows that social support (the support you can access by being connected to other individuals, groups, or the community), is important for both mental and physical health—and enhanced resilience to stress. [2]


Check out these 4 stress-whittling strategies to enhance your social connections and elevate your ability to effectively manage stress:

1. Enjoy the outdoors with others
Join a hiking club, go camping or roast marshmallows around a fire with friends, eat lunch outside with a coworker or classmate, tour a national park or wildlife sanctuary, join a sailing or rowing club, or participate in an outdoor scavenger hunt.

2. Exercise with others 
Workout at a gym or outside with a trainer or buddy, take group exercise classes, walk at a local park, play on a sports team, become a biking or running group member, or gather with friends and shoot hoops (or sport it up however you like).

3. Meditate or Pray with others
Join a meditation group, go on a mindfulness retreat, or attend a church service, spiritual study group, religious ceremony, or prayer group.

4. Make music and Create with others
Join a band or choir, sing along at a concert, play instruments (anything that makes sound!) with other people, participate in a local musical theater production, enjoy creativity in a crafting group, take an art class, or cook with family and friends.



AWARENESS: How often do you make time for pleasant social activities? Who is one person you usually feel less stressed and more energized after interacting with? How could you plan to meet up with that person more often?

ACTION: Plan (put it into your calendar) and Participate in at least 1 pleasant social activity this week. An in-person meetup is ideal but use phone or online—whatever keeps it doable for you.




“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero




[1] Seth J. Gillihan. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple. (Emeryville, CA: Althea Press, 2018), 22.

[2] Fatih Ozbay, Douglas C. Johnson, Eleni Dimoulas, C.A. Morgan III, Dennis Charney, and Steven Southwick. “Social Support and Resilience to Stress,” Psychiatry (Edgmont) 4, (2007): 35-40.