Making healthy social connections
Relationships with those around us can help in so many ways. From supporting our mental health to inclusion in the community, it can make our time at university all the better. We've worked in conjunction with students in Public Health to develop a guide for how to make those first steps, and form strong, lasting social connections.
Making social connections or friends at university is important. Things like feeling connected to our community and spending time with friends is a particularly important way to maintain our mental health and happiness. They provide us with comfort, stress relief, and prevent isolation. However, making a close friend doesn’t just happen overnight, and people can sometimes struggle to develop and maintain quality connections.
A good way to develop a strong connection is by showing genuine interest in what they’re saying and what’s going on in their lives. Listening to each other and supporting them in different ways over time can be a strong foundation for friendship. Learn how to listen well.
One reason why people can struggle to form connections might be because they feel shy or are unsure of how to approach other people. Good news is you don’t have to be naturally outgoing to make new friends. Discover how to make friends with someone you don’t know.
The key is focusing on the long-term goal of forming a genuine connection rather than dwelling on the ones that didn’t go as planned. Here at Latrobe we are one big community with many smaller communities within it. It can be a little stressful to jump out and make new connections, however there are several clubs, programs (such as our 'Buddy Program') or partnerships that you can link in with to find something to participate in and start to make those connections.
'How can I better manage stress?'
Sometimes, despite our best effort, stress can get the better of us. But how can we manage when this does appear? We've paired ourselves with the students from Public Health to develop a guide for how to manage those difficult times, and how to make the steps towards healthy relationships with those around you.
We’ve all been in stressful situations that can feel overwhelming. Avoiding these situations is impossible, but we can learn how to manage them better! The good news is that there is a way of improving how we handle stress which can completely change the way it impacts your life. Viewing stress as helpful is a good place to start.
A certain amount of stress can often be motivating and can help with productivity. Choosing to view stress as a part of life and focus on developing a proactive mindset is a major tool to overcoming the negative impact that stress can have. Developing our resilience can be a powerful protective factor in getting through these times that we all experience.
The better we get at managing our stress and our perception of it in our lives, the easier each challenge is moving forward.
Did you know that stress can also impact your memory?
Stress can interrupt the hormones involved in the 3-step process in your brain that changes facts into long-term memory. That means when preparing for a challenge such as an exam, too much stress can stop us retaining valuable information for when we need it the most.
So, what can we do instead? Preparation, sleep, breathing exercises and changing your mindset o embrace the stress and view it as helpful is the most effective way to produce more positive outcomes. Instead of fearing stress and doing everything to avoid it, adjusting your mindset and accepting stress as an opportunity to grow could greatly improve your life in many different areas.
Stress doesn’t need to be the enemy. Changing your approach to how you view, or handle stress can make you healthier. That assignment coming up…it’s a chance to learn and smash it. That tournament next week…it’s a chance to get stronger. That party you’re nervous to attend…it’s a chance to make friends and memories. We can’t get rid of stress, so we just need to get better at coping with stress in a healthy way.