Brain Facts

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How Does Social Support Relieve Anxiety?

With all of these forces seemingly acting against people with anxiety, the positive benefits of social support are all the more necessary for acceptance and recovery. What are some of the positive benefits of socializing while experiencing anxiety?

Biologically, socializing produces the hormone oxytocin which activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the body's calming response). This hormone also increases the need to seek social support and assistance when in crisis. People with strong supportive networks of friends, family, or healthcare professionals receive more of a "social boost" from the chemical and other-seeking nature of oxytocin.

Socializing takes the anxiety-sufferer out of his/her own head and problems to focus and help other people. This alone reduces many classic isolationist and withdrawal anxiety symptoms.

Volunteering and performing altruistic acts is a great way to escape your own head. Helping those less fortunate than yourself gives you tremendous perspective not only on your own condition, but the resources and strengths you have at your disposal. It is also scientifically certified to help your self-confidence.

Being social helps you achieve some mental distance from your own distress. It also promotes gratitude, a feeling itself linked to all manner of mental health benefits. Making social connections and then reflecting on their value in your life and recovery initiates the gratitude process.

Gratitude itself also increases self-esteem and ?confidence, making it easier to navigate and desire social connection.

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