The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman

February is the month of love and romance. I am going to broaden that theme to relationships in general for most of the month. And I cannot point to any one source of advice for happy romantic relationships as helpful as Dr. Gary Chapman’s classic book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (2010).

Dr. Chapman’s book is based on thirty years of counseling couples. From his experience, he developed a practical rubric for understanding the love needs of most individuals who make-up a couple. Instead of looking at the couple as the focal point, he looks at each of the two people as individuals with their own needs. The key to finding what he calls, “love that lasts,” is for each individual to not only understand his or her own self needs, but to also understand the needs of the other person. Dr. Chapman boils these needs down to what he calls, “The Five Love Languages.”

He believes that individuals within a love relationship have five primary love languages that each person needs to have met by his or her partner. More importantly, each individual has one or two love languages that stand out among the five that are particularly important. The key to a long-lasting love is to know the primary love language (or languages) of your partner and to make sure that you are meeting those needs. It is also important to know your own love languages and to ask that your partner meet your needs.  That may sound a little confusing, but it is really just four easy steps:

1. Know your partner’s love language/ languages.
2. Do what you can to fulfill your partner’s love language needs.
3. Know your own love language/ languages.
4. Communicate to your partner what it is/ they are. ~ Remember to use mindful
communication to do this.

See? It’s simple. Yes, it does require mindful, respectful communication, but because there are only five love languages it does not require hours of processing. In fact, once you have had the initial communication about the love languages themselves, it really is more about actions than words.

Dr. Chapman explains this process as, “keeping the love tank full.”  He uses the metaphor of a tank – like a tank of gasoline for a car – to explain how the love languages work within a relationship.  He says that we each have a love tank that needs to be filled in order for us to feel fulfilled in our relationship. But, we do not all take the same kind of fuel in our tanks. The love languages represent the different types of fuel that can fill individuals’ tanks. That is why it is important to fill your partner’s tank with the correct fuel aka love language.  You don’t want to put diesel fuel into a car that takes unleaded. Just like you don’t want to expend energy trying to fill your partners tank with the wrong love language.

The Five Love Languages
What are these Five Love Languages? Let me get right to it:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

Words of Affirmation
Words of Affirmation come in many forms. But, ALL of the forms are positive.

Compliments, of course, are words of affirmation:
“I am so impressed by how well you handled Joey’s temper tantrum today! Great parenting!”

Gratitude comes in the form of words of affirmation.
“Thank you so much honey for stopping by the store on your way home from work. That
was one less thing for me to do and it really helped me out.”
“I” statements that affirm that your partner gives you positive feelings are words of affirmation:
“I feel so protected when you hug me.”

Words of affirmation, because they are positive in tone, not only help your partner feel good AND appreciated, but they help you feel good too!

Be careful of the backhanded compliment though! These are negatives disguised as positives. Here is an examples:
“I am so grateful that you took out the trash! Now, if only you could remember to do that
every week!”
Notice that while the first sentence is positive, the second sentence is a criticism. If you follow your words of affirmation with a criticism of any kind you have undone your good work.


Quality Time
This one is especially big for couples with children and/or busy careers. We live in a world of busy, busy and lots of technology.  It is very easy to get distracted and not spend quality time with your loved ones.  As a working mom, I also am very aware of how hard it is to find quality time to spend with my husband AND my kids! But, it is very important to carve out a regular time to spend together. And it is important to remember that quality time requires undivided attention – e.g. without electronics!

Quality time requires good communication skills where both parties are talking and listening.  However, it is not a time to vent or argue. The communication that happens during quality time is sharing about your life, thoughts and feelings. It is also about listening with attention and care to your partner’s tales from his or her daily life, thoughts and feelings. Quality time requires being compassionate, caring, attentive and open.

It also requires sharing and compromising when it comes to choosing what you do during your quality time. Most couples do not agree on everything they might have an interest in doing during their quality time. One person may like to spend time outdoors. The other person might prefer going out to a meal. This is where compromise needs to come into play. Perhaps a hike followed by lunch at a nice bistro will meet both needs.  Or, one weekend can be spent kayaking and the next you can go out to a nice dinner. If quality time is not your love language, but it is your partner’s, perhaps go with what he or she wants to do a little more often than what you want to do.

Receiving Gifts
I appreciate how Dr. Chapman describes gifts as, “visual symbols of love.” And the most important point he makes about gifts is that in order to be a visual symbol of love they need to be thoughtful – in other words, they need to be given by taking into consideration the other person’s likes, dislikes, interests and feelings.  

I remember my mother telling a story about a friend of hers who would complain every birthday when her husband sent her a dozen red roses.  I was a teenager at the time and said to my mom, “geeze, a dozen red roses seems pretty nice to me.”  My mom explained that her friend’s husband had his secretary send the roses. Her friend said that the husband rarely remembered her birthday and would forget to say, “happy birthday.” I hear this type of thing a lot now that I’m a coach – people are giving and receiving gifts, but the gifts are not very thoughtful so they don’t hold a lot of meaning for the receiver.

Dr. Chapman also talks about “the gift of self.” He differentiates this from Quality Time in that it is not necessarily just about spending time together. It is about giving your time to your loved one when it matters. He tells a story about a woman who believed her husband loved softball more than he loved her. The husband played softball on the day that she was in labor with their daughter. He showed up for the birth, but then left her alone with the baby to go play softball again. He did not give her the gift of self by being there to share in everything surrounding the birth of their daughter. He also gives the example of couples who spend so much time working they do not engage with their love partners on a regular basis. They may in fact feel like they are working hard to provide for their partner, and the family, but they are not giving the gift of self on a regular basis.

Acts of Service
Acts of Service are the actions you can take to support your partner in helping your life run.  In our house I do the cooking and my husband does the dishes. These are acts of service we do for each other and in support of our family. We worked this out a long time ago because he does not know how to cook and I really dislike doing the dishes.

It takes a lot of work to just get things done in life! The house needs to be cleaned, the cars need to be kept in good repair, and well, the children need to be cleaned and kept in good repair too!   All of the little things that are on the “to do” list of life can add up to a big mountain of stuff to get done. If your partner’s love language is Acts of Service it is very important that you lend a helping hand with the “to do” list. Acts of Service will help calm your partner’s anxiety and overwhelm about the list and will allow him or her to feel secure and loved.

One of the most important points Dr. Chapman makes in this chapter is to remind people to put a boundary up if they feel like the Acts of Service they are performing for their partner are turning them into a doormat. If Acts of Service are not reciprocated with your own love tank being filled you will end-up doing them with resentment instead of love.

On the other side of this coin is if your love language is Acts of Service, do not use guilt or coercion to communicate that you need acts of service to help you feel loved. In other words, do not say things like, “if you loved me you would help out around the house more!” Likewise, do not say, “if you do not help out around the house more, I am leaving!”  Love languages are communicated mindfully. You can try something like, “I feel so loved and supported when you help out with house and kids. Acts of Service is one of my love languages. So thank you for showing your love to me through your help.”  

Physical Touch
Physical touch is one of the strongest, and yet most complicated, of the five love languages.  Because physical touch can be so very negative as well as so very positive in nature it important to be very careful with how you communicate with touch. Dr. Chapman notes how, “a slap in the face is detrimental to any child, but it is devastating to a child whose love language is touch (p. 110).” Likewise, he explains how a, “tender hug shouts love,” to a person whose love language is touch.

The complications of touch deepen when we consider what kind of touch is comfortable to your loved one vs. what kind is not.  If you touch your partner in a way that he or she is not comfortable, that touch will not bring pleasure. In fact, that touch could be emotionally damaging.  Just as is the case with the love languages in general, just because you like a certain kind of touch (just because you have a certain love language) it does not mean that your partner likes that same kind of touch. It is important to communicate with your partner about the type of touch that he or she enjoys and that speaks love.

A Note About Religion
Dr. Chapman is a Baptist pastor and holds a Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Thus, his 5 Love Language book has some Biblical and Christian references in it.  If you are a Christian, then great! Enjoy! If you are not a Christian, and don’t have a desire to read the Christian parts, just skim over them.  I personally am openly spiritual and ecumenical in my theological beliefs. I find some Christian theology to be lovely and very helpful in my life. I find other Christian theology to be harmful and dark. Thus, I take what I like and leave the rest. That is what I suggest for those of you who are not interested in the Christianity within this book.   There is so much quality to this book outside of the Christian elements that I do not recommend skipping the book altogether just because you don’t like that particular element.

Why Read the Book if I Read This Blog?
Okay, I know that might be something I could have left unsaid. You obviously know that there is much more depth in a book than in a blog that is reviewing the book.  But, here are some particular reasons why you should read the entire thing:
There are many real-life examples given in the book that you may be able to apply to your own relationship.
There are, of course, many more details…
I find the exercises at the end of each chapter helpful in applying the details to my own life.
Dr. Chapman provides helpful profiling scales to aid in determining what you love language is/ languages are.
I hope you end your February with some love! The love of a partner ~ the love of good friends ~ the love of family ~ or, most importantly, the love of yourself!

The 5 Love Languages is an imprint of Northfield Publishing, Inc.  Chicago, Ill. 2010

ISBN# 978-0-8024-7315-8


Have you read any of The 5 Love Languages books? What did you think?
Do you have an idea of what your love language is?  What about the love languages of the people in your life?
Your comments and shares are greatly appreciated!

With Love & Light!
Jen

Friendship Blog Part 2: Where to Find Your Support Tribe

Friendship Blog Part 2: Where to Find Your Support Tribe

In my first blog on friendship I talked about how having friends is important for stress-management but for some people the idea of making new friends can be stressful. For some, meeting new people may be easy, but forging long-lasting friendships may be confusing. For others, overcoming social anxiety can be their biggest challenge.

I gave a quick overview of these things in my “How to Create Your Support Tribe” blog last week. This week I am deepening the conversation to give more details about where to find new friends to add to your support tribe!

WHERE TO FIND FRIENDS

This can be a truly perplexing topic for adults. Most of us are no longer in school where we were forced together with a finite group of people to choose from. Some people forge friendships in the work place but in many jobs, more than casual relationships can be problematic. Stay at home parents and those who work from home can have a particularly challenging time meeting people because they are often alone.

Be a Joiner!

Finding a group of people with whom you have something in common is a really good way to make friends. Joining groups also gives you something to do while you are getting to know new people. This is something that introverts find particularly helpful. If you have a book to discuss, it gives you something to say.  If you are hiking or kayaking it gives you something to do while talking. Here are some different ways to find groups to join:

  • Meetup.com: This website has groups with every interest under the sun! And, if you don’t find a group already in your area, you can start one up! If you build it, they will come.

 

  • Book Groups: Go to your local book store and inquire about groups. This is something you can also find on Meetup.com. Start one for kids through the PTA/PTO at your children’s schools if there isn’t one already. Join it with your kids if there is one. Goodreads.com also has online book groups specified for different genres. Pick one or more and create an online community for yourself.

 

  • Politics: Join the political club in your area that matches your political affiliation. Again, these will most likely be like-minded people

 

  • Find a Church, Synagogue or Spiritual Center: This is most challenging of course for those who are not religious. So I will focus on them. There are “fellowships” even for Atheists and Humanists. I personally attend a Unitarian Universalist Fellowships where a rather large part of the congregation is Atheist or Humanist. And while I personally am very spiritual and follow multiple religious teachings, I fit in quite well there. You can also try Unity Churches, Buddhist Sanghas, or Hindu Satsangs. But, if this is just complete anathema to you, then ignore this one.

 

  • Classes & Activities: Classes are another place to meet people who have similar interests to you. Check through your local Community College, Community Parks & Recreation Division, or Adult Education program: they are chock full of classes in everything from advanced physics to dance to photography. If you are into art, see if the local galleries have classes. If you are into music, go to the local music store, I’ve never seen one that doesn’t offer classes.

 

  • Join a Sports Team or Activity Group: Ok, I am not an athlete. I’m a yogini. So for me, going to a local yoga studio is a good way to meet people. I do know a lot of people who join sports teams and make great friends – everything from adult softball to basketball to bowling. I even have some friends in Denver who are in a kickball league! That sounds like so much fun!!! But gyms & yoga/ Pilates studios can also be good places to meet people.

One thing to remember about gyms and yoga/ pilates classes is that individuals can truly stay in their own worlds in both environments. People wear headphones at the gym and silence is encouraged at many yoga studios. So I recommend chatting when you can (maybe the locker room) or going to community gatherings hosted by the gym or studio. Many yoga studios have Kirtan concerts and other community events where talking and even dancing are encouraged.

AN EXTROVERT WITH NO FRIENDS?

Even as an extrovert I have twice found myself in situations where finding friends was extremely challenging. And now that I’m moving from the west coast to the east coast, to a city where I know absolutely no-one, I may be encountering that situation again. That can give even a super extrovert such as myself a bit of anxiety! ACK!

A  School Without Friends:

The first time I found myself friend-challenged, shall we say, was in graduate school. I know, I talk a lot about the stress of graduate school. But that’s because it was sucky!!! And not having friends was a part of why it was so stressful. In many school situations an extrovert can find at least a few friends. But in my graduate program it took me a couple of years to find some people I could truly connect with. My program was highly competitive and the students in my cohort took that competitive nature to heart. I was also feeling very insecure and thus was probably repelling people just with my insecure energy.

Additionally, while I tried to keep in contact with my friends from my home-town. It proved to be really tough to do so. My work schedule, between being a student and a teaching and research assistant, was overwhelming and beyond time-consuming. I also got into a huge fight via email with one of my best friends in my hometown and stopped going home on a regular basis.

A Mom, A Job & A Town With No Friends:

The second situation occurred not much later in life – I call the entire period of my life from 25 to 35 “The Dark Ages!”.Just when I had finally forged some nice friendships in my graduate program and the surrounding community, I got married and we moved several hours away (as did many of my grad-school friends).  I was in my first faculty position teaching at a major university, but I was an adjunct lecturer, as opposed to a tenure-track professor. Thus I was caught in a no-man’s land of sorts; I was part of a department, but most of my colleagues did not see me as such. I wasn’t invited to faculty meetings. I rarely crossed paths with other lecturers. AND, I lived over an hour from campus. So as soon as I was done teaching I would head home in order to beat the Southern California traffic.

Soon after starting my new teaching job I also got pregnant. Now one would think that having a baby would be a great way to make friends. This is true to a certain extent, especially for an extrovert. I met a nice couple in my water aerobics class at the gym and my husband and I met a nice couple in our child birth class (but they lived 40 minutes from us). Yet the area of Southern California in which we lived was a little challenging for us. We found that we didn’t have a lot in common with the people in our community: religious, educational and political differences (and of course, those are the things you don’t want to talk about in polite company, right?). So when I tried joining a couple of mommy groups it was definitely challenging. That said, I did make a couple of friends in those groups, one of whom I’m still very close with today.

Having the baby also furthered my alienation with my colleagues at the university. Most of the women faculty members in the department did not have children. Moreover, children or not, tenure-track faculty members were so dedicated to their jobs that socializing and swapping kid stories was just not on their agenda. Coincidentally, there were women in the mommy groups that had a really hard time understanding why I would work. Being a stay-at-home mom was the only way to be a good mother in their eyes – and yes, they did say this to me!

What to do? Become a joiner!

There I was stuck in-between two worlds: career woman & mommy. And I had very few friends. It was really lonely! So I started to join things. First, because the area in which we were living was a very church-centered community I started church shopping. As a person who supports same-sex marriage, is pro-choice and practices yoga, this can be a challenge! But with the help of my mother I finally found a small Lutheran church with a pastor who is my age and a growing group of young families in the congregation. It was at this church I forged what have become life-long friendships. 

The other thing I did was I started a National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter in my area. This was a lot of work, but it was also fun. I met some amazing young women from the local university. And I forged another life-long friendship with one of the women who worked for the state chapter. Thank goodness for Facebook! I get to keep in touch with all of these wonderful women even though we live miles & miles apart!

Moving Again…

At this point in my life, online groups were just starting to appear, so I didn’t join any Meetups or Yahoo groups. But now, because these online resources are so prevalent, I have used Meetup on several occasions to make new friends. When we moved to San Diego I was all over Meetup! I’ve also learned how to reach out to other women and tell them I think it would be fun to hang out – moms from the school, baseball moms, women I meet through my business, women from church, etc..

Here are a few things I like to say to extend new friendships beyond the “group” setting

  •         I like you! We should have coffee or lunch sometime!
  •         Let’s get the kids together for a play date. Do you guys have time in the next couple of weeks?
  •         We should talk about working together. Let’s have lunch.
  •         Wow, your business is really cool (or what you do is really interesting). Would you like to have coffee or lunch sometime? I’d love to hear more about it!

 

Finally: Be “the starter”:

In my experience, I have found that many people just do not make overtures like the ones mentioned above. Well, maybe in business they do. But not so often in personal life. This may be a regional thing. Southern Californians, in my opinion, are really nice when you get to know them, but they’re not necessarily overtly friendly. If you find yourself in a place where you have a lot of acquaintances, but few friends, you may need to be “the conversation starter.” Use the phrases above, or your own, and reach out to people who you like! The best way to make friends is to be one!

Please leave comments! I would love to hear what you have to say about friendship!

What friendship challenges do you have?

What friendship challenges have you had in the past?

How did you overcome them?

What are your favorite friendship-making conversation starters?

Thanks for reading & commenting!

 

Love, Light & Namaste!

Jen

Building Your Support Tribe

Building Your Support Tribe

Having a supportive community around us is one of the best things we can do to build resilience and reduce our stress levels!

I want to direct you to focus in on the word “supportive.”  What I refer to as a Peaceful Living Community is not made-up of a bunch of people who are just in our lives. A Peaceful Living Community is a support tribe; it is made up of people to whom you can turn in both happy and sad times and they are able to turn to you for support as well.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a metaphor that I like to use to explain what kinds of people belong in our support tribe: Grocery store people and hardware store people. Grocery store people are the people you turn to and find the support you need. Hardware store people are people who are not emotionally available to support you.

AREN’T OUR FAMILIES OUR SUPPORT TRIBE?

Many people are lucky enough to have parents or other family members who are the center or strong part of their support tribes.  Find the people in your family who are positive, uplifting and nonjudgmental. Those are the people you want as part of your peaceful living community.

 Just because someone is related to us does not mean that they are a grocery store person! Our parents, by their very role as parents “should” be our grocery stores, at least until we are adults. However, there are just some parents who are not emotionally supportive. This is especially hard as children because we don’t have many options to turn to but as adults it is up to us to find other people to fill our emotional needs. If you know of a child who does not have parents to fill their emotional needs, maybe you can be that person for them.

Even if you are a person who has a great family, it is still very important to have others in your community. Reach out using the suggestions from my “The Importance of Community” blog or come up with your own. A diverse support tribe is optimal – family, partner, coach/ therapist/ pastor, and friends – make up the strongest community but we can find support from all kinds of people in our lives.

WHEN “I DO” BECOMES “I DON’T”

Aren’t our spouses or romantic partners supposed to be our primary emotional support systems? Similar to our parents, technically, “yes.” And yet, sometimes they just are not. Perhaps they are going through an emotional downturn themselves or maybe they do not want to be a grocery store.  At this point, as the person who needs emotional support we need to ask ourselves a few things:

  •         Are my emotional needs constant and perhaps overbearing?
  •         Do I have stress-management techniques in place to help me cope with my emotional needs?
  •         Do I have others to turn to besides my spouse or partner to help fill my emotional needs?
  •         Does my spouse or partner give me some emotional support, but it is just not enough?
EMOTIONAL NEEDS

Answering these questions honestly is very important. If you are a person who is very emotionally needy, for whatever reason, that is okay. But, it may be too much to ask of one person to fulfill all of those needs. If your emotional neediness comes from a place of insecurity, overwhelm or past trauma you may want to seek out a trained coach or therapist who can help you heal. You can ask your spouse or partner to support you in that endeavor, but be aware of asking him or her to be your sole emotional support system.

STRESS MANAGEMENT     

We all have stress. A spouse or partner can be a good person to go to when we need support in processing our everyday stress. However, your partner is not responsible for being your only source of stress management. Make sure you are exercising, sleeping well, eating healthy food, and using mindfulness techniques.  If your stress is overwhelming, seek the guidance of a trained coach or therapist who can help you feel emotionally more fulfilled and relaxed.

SUPPORT SYSTEM

Supportive friends and relatives, spiritual leaders, support groups, therapists and coaches are all appropriate “grocery stores” to go to in addition to your partner or spouse when you need your emotional needs met. It is particularly important to have a widespread net when you have a lot of need. And remember, there are times in our lives that WE ALL have an overwhelming amount of emotional need! 

IS IT JUST NOT ENOUGH? 

This one can take a deeper thought process. If you are not terribly needy, and your spouse is not even meeting your basic emotional needs, you are definitely in the hardware store! If you are getting your emotional support from other people and places, but your partner is still not meeting your emotional needs, you are most likely also in the hardware store. Or you are probably at least in the parking lot!

This is where mindful communication techniques about your feelings can be invoked to help your partner understand that your emotional needs are not being met. Stay tuned for a future posting about mindful communication! If you do find yourself in the hardware store with your spouse or partner it may be time to seek the guidance and support of a relationship coach or couples therapist. Trained professionals are skilled at bringing couples back together to a place of emotional intimacy and support.

FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES

There are some of us who pick and choose our friends very carefully. Then there are some of us who embrace almost everyone they meet as friends. This is an area in which asking yourself some questions will help you understand how to build the best tribe for you:

  •         Are you a person who needs deep connection with just one or two people?
  •         Or do you prefer to have more people in your circle so you are not too dependent on just one or two people?

Both of these scenarios can be conducive to building your support system. But, they also can both be detrimental if not approached with caution.

Let’s take a look at the first scenario. Having people that you can implicitly trust and respond to gives us a sense of strong emotional security since deep connection is very important to us as human beings.  This is a positive side of having just one or two good friends.  The negative side of this is if for some reason those people are no longer a part of your life, you can be left alone and wanting.  If you are this kind of person you are well-served by having others in your support tribe: Family, partners, a therapist or coach, new friends you’re growing closer to, etc. 

On the other side of the coin, if you are a lots of friends person you may feel like you have a very strong support tribe but after deeper examination you assess if your tribe is only giving you shallow support. If you have so many people in your tribe that you do not have time to connect deeply with any of them, you are missing out on that essential element of human connection – deep intimacy.  You may also find that you are spread too thin trying to “be there” for all of your friends that your emotional well runs dry trying to tend to all of their needs.

The key to having a strong, emotional support tribe of friends is BALANCE.

Try to have more than just one or two close friends, but don’t spread yourself too thin.  It is okay to have people in your life who are acquaintances, but not friends. You are friendly with them but they are not the people who you spend time with on a regular basis. They are not the people you turn to in your times of need or people who have a valued place in your Peaceful Living Community.

Who makes up your support tribe?  Do you have a good balance?

I welcome your thoughts, questions and any value you want to add to my blog! You all are amazing, bright shining lights!

And I’m grateful for your shares and follows on Facebook @peacefullivingwellness & Instagram @peacelifecoach

Love & Light,

JEN

How community creates a peaceful life.

How community creates a peaceful life.

The month of February is all about hearts and flowers and romance! In the spirit of the month of St. Valentine all of my blog entries will be about relationships.  

Not only romantic relationships! I will also talk about friendship and family relationships.  

How to reduce stress

Ask any of us stress-relief gurus about how to reduce stress, and the word community is bound to come up.

Having a supportive community around is us one of the most important things we can do for both our emotional and physical health.  Yet, for some of us, finding that community can be really difficult.

I am going to save the dynamics of relationships for the next blog installment How to Build Your Emotional Support Tribe.  For this installment, I am going to focus on why building community is so important for your emotional health AND talk about the different people and places you can go to find the members of your support tribe.

In an earlier blog installment, Supportive Friends, I talked about why having friends is so important for our health. The following research findings help us to understand this:

  • Loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression.  Having people to reach out to when in need is one of the most important interventions for depression. Source
  • Having a social support system is one of the most important factors in reducing both symptoms and mortality in myriad diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and emphysema.  Source
  • Having positive interactions with other human beings raises the levels of our happy hormones and thus promotes both emotional and physical wellbeing. Source
  • According to Emiliana Simon-Thomas of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, “Human beings are an  ultra-social species and our nervous systems expect to have others around us.” Source
  • Even healthy, happy people need to be around other people! Recent neuroscience research suggests that the human brain and neuro-system work better when we are around and interacting with other humans. Source

The many places we can find social support

As a home-based entrepreneur, I can tell you that life can get pretty isolated and lonely without the camaraderie of an employee-filled workplace! Believe me, as a Work At Home Mom (WAHM) and the friend of many Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs), interacting with children as your primary humans is not enough! 😉

Our families can definitely be support systems for us. Our friends, especially a treasured “best friend” are also important social support systems.

It’s important to remember that we should not put all of our support eggs in one basket.

Our families and treasured “best friends” are not around 100% of the time.  I have seen this happen many times both in my own life and through my clients’ stories. I will speak more to this subject in the next blog.

For now, let’s talk about how to spread the wealth of our social support system!  Here are some examples of how to branch out:

  • A coach or therapist are trained professionals who will guide you and support you when you have emotional needs.
  • A spiritual leader is a wonderful person to turn to when we need emotional support.
  • A spiritual group of like-minded people is also a good place to find comfort and camaraderie. Churches, temples, or spiritual centers, in general, can provide some of this support.  I recommend joining a smaller group within the larger spiritual center. Bible studies, meditation groups, moms groups, and helping hands groups all provide a smaller environment in which to make closer friends.
  • An interest group of friends provides a social network and is usually centered around something that all of the people like to do. Examples of interest groups are book groups, movie & dinner groups, hiking groups, etc. etc.  These are good for both extroverts and people who are more introverted to find friends because there is always something going on at the same time as the social interaction.
  • A casual sports team is another good way to gain a wider-spread social group. Just like the interest group, it is a good place for people who are a little more introverted to find friends because they have a common interest with the people, which gives them a topic of conversation. Just make sure to go out for pizza after you play! And even if you are not athletic you can often still find something fun and easy to do. I have friends that play recreational kickball! And yes, they are adults!
  • And finally, your workspace is often a good place to make friends. Use caution when associating with workplace friends though. Make sure that the conversation does not turn into complaint sessions about the workplace or gossip sessions about coworkers. That type of conversation can have very negative consequences and end-up causing you more stress in the long run.
  • And what about us WAHMs and SAHMs? Co-working in a center for entrepreneurs is a great way to get out of your home alone work syndrome! And of course, networking groups and all of the above-mentioned spiritual and social opportunities. SAHMs & SAHDs there are lots of playgroups around if you have little ones at home! Find one that is a good fit for you and make it a habit to go. It is good for you and for your kiddos to socialize.

You may be thinking to yourself, “those are all great suggestions Jen, but where do I find social groups and teams to join?”  That actually is getting easier and easier these days!

Try Meetup or your local YMCA or Parks & Recreation Center. Local public libraries host book groups for adults and story hour for kiddos. Also, check into local group play areas for mommy/daddy & me groups!

Get out & Enjoy! Spread the beauty of who you are with others and let them share their friendship and support with you!

Please share your ideas on how to grow your social support network! Peaceful Living Wellness is a community ~ I love to hear your ideas, wisdom, and insights!

Don’t forget, if you would like to have a coach as part of your support system, just reach out and we can schedule a consultation!

Love & Light,

Jen

 

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