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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Crave stress-free life? Stay close to those who love you most

IANS  New York, August 30, 2014
First Published: 15:41 IST(30/8/2014) | Last Updated: 15:55 IST(30/8/2014)

We all know that deep and meaningful relationships play a vital role in one's overall well-being but still, most of us are bereft of emotional bonding in life. It is imperative, therefore, to listen to your heart and stay close to those who love you the most.

According to an interesting study, close relationships not only support individuals in their ability to cope with stress or adversity but also in their efforts to learn, grow, explore, achieve goals, cultivate new talents and find purpose and meaning in life.

Also read: Stress, the root of most illnesses, says research

"People will be most likely to thrive with well-functioning, close relationships that serve different support functions - whether the relationship is with friends, parents, siblings, a spouse or mentors," said researchers Brooke Feeney of Carnegie Mellon University and Nancy Collins from University of California at Santa Barbara.

Relationships serve as an important function of not simply helping people return to baseline but help them to thrive by exceeding prior baseline levels of functioning.

"We refer to this as source of strength (SOS) support and emphasise that the promotion of thriving through adversity is it's core purpose," Feeney explained.

Also read: Can a four-day week combat stress?

The second important function of relationships is to support thriving in the absence of adversity by promoting full participation in life opportunities for exploration, growth and personal achievement.

According to researchers, thriving involves five components of well-being; hedonic well-being (happiness, life satisfaction), eudaimonic well-being (having purpose and meaning in life), psychological well-being, social well-being and physical well-being.

Sometimes, support providers may inadvertently do more harm than good if they make the person feel weak, needy, inadequate or induce guilt and make the recipient feel like a burden.

Also read: Tense relationships can cause divorce

"Being responsive involves providing the support that is dictated by the situation and by the partner's needs, and being sensitive involves responding to needs in such a way that the support-recipient feels understood, validated and cared for," Collins emphasised.

The paper published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.


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