READ TIME: 2 MINUTES
Most people are familiar with the fight-or-flight response to stress – when adrenaline surges and you either prepare for battle or run for safety. These reactions may be well suited to a surprise meeting with a bear in the woods but don’t help manage a surprise meeting at work. The fight-or-flight reaction at work can push people away and cause lasting damage to important relationships.
The lesser known tend-and-befriend approach is a better response mechanism to handle stress at work. This approach proactively builds support networks to help respond better to work pressure.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, coined this term after observing women responding differently to stress than men. Women confronted with a stressful situation did not react with aggression or fear, but responded by caring for or connecting with family and friends. Researchers also noted that anyone under stress who sought connection with others showed a natural decrease in stress with increased feelings of safety and wellbeing. The tend-and-befriend technique helps moderate stress levels and build resilience.
This technique is a valuable skill to have in a rapidly changing business world. To develop a tend-and-befriend response, start by creating a social support team at work. Now is your chance to look for opportunities to build relationships across the company. Try adding a social break to your next meeting agenda, giving participants a chance to learn about colleagues and develop new group connections. Connect regularly with co-workers to offer your knowledge and expertise. Each contact is an important building block in your workplace social support network.
Your support network will put you in a better position to face work challenges and provide a sounding board. Support goes both ways, so be willing to give and ask for help. This approach may run counter to how you have responded in the past, so be patient with yourself. Reaching out to others will get easier over time.
We all need support from friends. The tend-and-befriend approach will help you overcome challenges more quickly and with a healthier stress response.
Therapeer is an anonymous peer support app that offers community members a private forum to share their emotional experiences, ask for advice, and seek counsel.
Google Play Store Average Rating:
4.3 / 5 (1,630 ratings)
Users rave about the innovative concept—a place to give and receive peer support from others with similar issues, without leaving home or doling out a large amount of money.
Several users complained that the matching algorithms limit their ability to join community rooms. The time limits on help sessions and slow load times were also listed as constraints.
Is this app right for you?
You are looking for a private place to discuss your issues but want to try something different than therapy or calling your best friend. You also believe that helping others is a way for you to give back and further your therapeutic experience.