Social networks foster resiliency

10/13/2016 by Dr. Lotte Dyrbye

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Did you know that by expanding and improving our social networks and support we're also fostering our health and well-being? Having a support system of friends, family and colleagues also bolsters our resiliency, making us better able to cope with adversity and stressful situations. Not surprisingly, resiliency is one of the 12 habits of healthy people. 

Here are a few tips for building and maintaining relationships and making others a priority: 

  • Make a commitment to call, text, email or send a letter or card to important people in your life who you may be losing connection with, such as grandparents, cousins or old friends. Brighten their day and let them know you care about them. 
  • Make it a goal each day to personally connect with at least one family member, friend or colleague. Thank them for being in your life. 
  • Set aside time on your calendar each week to spend time with your family or group of friends. Disconnect from electronics and enjoy the presence of those around you. 
  • Approach others with listening ears. Be a support system for others and show sincere interest. In order to create a support system, you must give in order to receive. 

By tending our relationships and strengthening our resiliency, we can enhance our happiness and gratitude and add more meaning to our lives. 

Lotte Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, FACP, is professor of medicine, professor of Medical Education and consultant in the Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine (PCIM) at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. She is also Associate Chair for Faculty Development, Staff Satisfaction and Diversity for the Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Director of Faculty Development for Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education and Associate Director of the Department of Medicine Program on Physician Well-being. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Medical School and completed her residency at the University of Washington. She also holds a masters in Health Profession Education. Her research interests are focused on medical student, resident and physician well-being.