Across three studies, researchers recruited over 900 students for a one-day experiment. During that day, they were asked to connect with a friend in one of seven different ways:
Catch up about how you’ve been
Have a meaningful conversation
Laugh and joke around
Show care, affection, and support
Be a good listener
Show you value them and their opinions
Give them a compliment
At the end of the day, everyone filled out surveys about their emotions and their day overall, including how lonely, anxious, stressed, and connected they felt.
Ultimately, people who had just one interaction with a friend felt less stressed and more connected at the end of the day than those who didn’t. And it didn’t matter what they did together—whether it was being silly or having a deep discussion.
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Many of my clients report to me that they are isolated and don’t have anyone to really talk to and have become anxious and depressed. I share with them the information above and ask who they might reach out to and interact with? Try it once every day for a week and report back on the effect this activity has had on their mood.