From Alone to Anchored: How Close Relationships Can Help Regulate Stress?

Krgoswami
10 min readJan 25, 2023
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There is a vital importance of close relationships in regulating stress. In today’s fast-paced and high-stress world, it’s more important than ever to have a support system for close friends and loved ones. Research has shown that having a network of supportive relationships can have a powerful impact on our ability to cope with stress. People who have strong social support are better able to handle stressors, have lower levels of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress), and are more likely to report feeling satisfied with their lives.

Think for a moment, when you come back from your workplace and certain decisions or fears have induced stress on your mind and you are alone at home! It will almost kill you with uncomfortable experiences for your body and mind. But if there is someone who is there to listen to you and support your actions or decision, the stressed situation may elope forever.

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The Science Behind Stress Regulation In Close Relationships

When we experience stress, our bodies release a cascade of hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, which help us respond to the perceived threat. This is known as the “fight or flight” response. However, chronic stress can have negative effects on our physical and mental health, such as the increased risk of heart disease, anxiety, and depression.

Various studies have shown that close relationships can have a buffering effect on the negative effects of stress. When we feel supported by loved ones, it can mitigate the physical and emotional response to stressors, which in turn can decrease the production of stress hormones. Studies have also found that people who have close relationships have lower blood pressure and heart rates during stress, indicating that their body’s physiological response to stress is less intense.

Close relationships can also provide a sense of emotional regulation, allowing us to process and make sense of stressors, which can in turn decrease the emotional toll of stress. Overall, the science behind stress regulation in close relationships highlights the importance of having a support system for loved ones who can buffer the effects of stress on our physical and mental health.

I was surprised by the interview process of one of the biggest industries when I was a bank manager in the township of the subject organization. The induction process is also called the spouse for interview. As a psychologist, I could understand the logic behind a conversation with a spouse. A good relationship with a spouse was always a good indicator of an employee’s progress for the organization.

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The Role Of Social Support In Stress Regulation

Social support refers to the help and encouragement that we receive from others. It can come in different forms, such as emotional support, practical support, or informational support. Social support can have a positive impact on our stress levels, by providing a sense of security, belonging, and a sense of control over the stressor. Social support can also help to buffer the negative effects of stress on our physical and mental health.

It is not true that only your close relatives can reduce your stress level. It could also be a girl serving food at a restaurant where you used to dine regularly. The trainer who was not attached to my gym schedule always released my stress when he exchanged a couple of words during my evening session.

Emotional support, in particular, can be especially beneficial in regulating stress. This type of support includes things such as listening to someone, offering encouragement, and expressing empathy. When we feel emotionally supported by loved ones, it can increase our sense of self-worth and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. This in turn can help to decrease the emotional toll of stress. As a service manager when I listened to my frustrated customers, almost 80% of their mental stress and anxiety evaporated even though I talked only 20% of the time nodding yes and no.

Practical support can also be beneficial. This type of support includes things such as providing tangible help, such as helping someone to move or providing a ride to an appointment. It can also include things such as providing financial help or giving advice on how to handle a specific stressor. This type of support can help to reduce the practical difficulties associated with stress and increase a sense of control over the stressor. Help an old man to cross the road in dense traffic and you almost make a day for him.

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How Close Relationships Can Provide A Sense Of Security, Belonging And Reducing Stress

One of the keyways in which close relationships can help regulate stress is by providing a sense of security and belonging. When we have close relationships with loved ones, we feel like we have a safety net, and that there are people who will be there for us when things get tough. This sense of security can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and fear in the face of stressors. Mere assurance of a son for using his saving money for entire family may give great relief to his father.

Close relationships can also provide a sense of belonging and connectedness. Humans are social animals, and we have an innate need to be part of a community. When we have close relationships with loved ones, we feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and that we are not alone in the world. This sense of belonging can help to decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can be major stressors in themselves. A couple of words of advice from a father may give an unbelievable feeling of belongingness to their growing children.

Close relationships can also provide a sense of predictability and stability in our lives. When we have close relationships with loved ones, we know that we can rely on them for support and that they will be there for us, no matter what. This sense of predictability can help to reduce feelings of uncertainty and insecurity, which are major stressors. Your words, “Once I am there, you need not worry!” can play a critical role in regulating your stress or providing security that can turn to reduce the feeling of anxiety or fear.

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The Benefits Of Emotional Intimacy In Stress Regulation

Emotional intimacy refers to the deep understanding and connection that we have with someone else. It is characterized by feelings of trust, vulnerability, and open communication. When we have emotional intimacy with someone, we feel like we can be ourselves, and that we are understood and accepted for who we are.

It is not necessary that emotional intimacy is with loved ones only, Even when you share reliable friends on social media can also regulate your emotion when you can share your thoughts, feelings, and fears with them, without fear of judgment. This can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can be major stressors in themselves.

Sometimes, emotional intimacy can also provide a sense of validation and understanding. When we share our thoughts and feelings with someone who is emotionally intimate with us, we feel like we are being heard and understood. This can help to decrease feelings of alienation and disconnection, which can be major stressors.

Emotional intimacy can also help to improve our ability to regulate our own emotions, by providing a sense of emotional security and a sense of being understood. This can be beneficial to stress regulation, as it can help us to process and make sense of stressors, which can in turn decrease the emotional toll of stress.

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The Impact Of A Lack Of Close Relationships On Stress Levels

It is also correct that a lack of close relationships can have the opposite effect and increase stress levels. People who lack close relationships are more likely to experience chronic stress, which can lead to a range of negative health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety. People who are socially isolated are more likely to have a heightened physiological response to stress, resulting in an increased production of stress hormones.

There is a tremendous effect on emotion when you have relationships that may induce a sense of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection which can be major stressors in themselves. Loneliness can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety and can also have negative effects on physical health.

Likely, people who lack close relationships may also lack the emotional support and practical support that can help them to cope with stressors. People who do not have close relationships may not have someone to talk to about their stressors and may not have someone to help them with practical problems.

So, we have to be aware and wise about close relationships which can, otherwise, harm stress levels, by increasing feelings of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection and by decreasing the availability of emotional and mental support.

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Strategies For Building And Maintaining Close Relationships As A Stress-Regulation Tool

Building and maintaining close relationships can be a powerful stress-regulation tool, but it does take effort. Here are some strategies for building and maintaining close relationships:

1. Be open to new experiences: Joining a new group or club, taking a class, or volunteering can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests.

2. Be intentional about connecting: Make a point of reaching out to loved ones regularly, whether through phone calls, text messages, or in-person visits.

3. Practice active listening: When you are communicating with someone, make an effort to truly listen to what they are saying and try to understand their perspective.

4. Show vulnerability: Share your thoughts and feelings with loved ones and let them know when you need their support.

5. Practice empathy: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their feelings.

6. Show gratitude: Express appreciation and gratitude for the people in your life and let them know how much they mean to you.

7. Be consistent: Building and maintaining close relationships takes time and effort, so make sure to make it a regular part of your life.

8. Seek professional help if needed: If you find it difficult to build and maintain close relationships, seek professional help to overcome any barriers or difficulties.

Overall, building and maintaining close relationships require effort, but it can be a powerful stress-regulation tool. By being open, intentional, empathetic, and consistent, you can build and maintain a support system of loved ones who can help you to cope with stressors.

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The Importance Of Self-Care And Self-Compassion In Close Relationships

Close relationships can be a powerful stress-regulation tool, but they can also be a source of stress themselves. It’s important to practice self-care and self-compassion to maintain healthy relationships and prevent burnout.

Self-care includes taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This can include things such as getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and practicing mindfulness. When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to show up for our loved ones and be present in our relationships.

Self-compassion is also important because it involves treating ourselves with the same kindness, care, and understanding that we would offer to a good friend. It means being kind and understanding of ourselves when we make mistakes, and not being too hard on ourselves when things don’t go as planned.

Setting boundaries and learning to say “no” can also be important. We can’t always be available for others, and we need to take time for ourselves. Setting boundaries can help us to protect our time and energy and prevent burnout.

Overall, self-care and self-compassion are important in close relationships because they help us to show up as our best selves and prevent burnout. By taking care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of our loved ones and maintain healthy relationships.

Close relationships can play a critical role in stress regulation. Studies have shown that having a network of supportive relationships can have a powerful impact on our ability to cope with stress. Close relationships can provide a sense of security, belonging, emotional regulation, and social support. They can also help to buffer the negative effects of stress on our physical and mental health.

Emotional intimacy can be especially beneficial in regulating stress. It can provide a sense of validation, understanding, and emotional regulation, which can help to reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness, alienation, and disconnection. On the other hand, a lack of close relationships can have the opposite effect, increasing stress levels and decreasing the availability of emotional and practical support.

However, building and maintaining close relationships requires effort. It is important to be open, intentional, empathetic, and consistent, to build and maintain a support system of loved ones who can help you to cope with stressors. Additionally, practicing self-care and self-compassion, and setting boundaries are important to maintain healthy relationships and prevent burnout.

I would like to add at the end that relationships can be a transformative power in regulating stress, and it is worth investing time and effort therefore let us be wise enough to build and maintain our true bond with our near and dear ones.

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Krgoswami

Former aircraft engineer IAF, Retired Branch Manager SBI, Psychologist, Best Selling Author & Defence Recruitment Trainer https://krgoswami.com