Reach out to friends to get over tough times

May 29th, 2009 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 29 (IANS) Boosting existing social connections or making new ones during a job loss or money problems or during any other adversity ensures a win-win situation, a new study says.
Strengthening existing friendships, volunteering for a non-profit organisation and participating in a hobby-oriented club are just some of the ways to turn one’s focus outward in what Bernardo J. Carducci, psychology professor at Indiana University Southeast (IUS), calls a win-win situation.

“The solution to these difficult times is in becoming more involved in the lives of other people,” said Carducci, who conducted the study.

Carducci said social connections help promote better health and happiness in individuals and can buffer stress. For people looking for jobs, the helping hand can go both ways when they volunteer for a service or non-profit organisation.

Communities and agencies benefit from the help while the volunteers are able to keep their skills current, contribute to a worthy cause and beef up their resumes by demonstrating teamwork and filling in employment gaps, said an IUS release.

Volunteer work can lead to new friendships and contacts who can be key to finding a new job. “You find a job by knowing somebody, hearing about something ahead of time,” Carducci said. “By the time it goes online, everybody knows about it.”

Volunteering can help people step out of their comfort zone by letting them try something new, such as teaching seminars to community groups - with little risk to the volunteer.

“You might find that there’s something different that you might want to do,” Carducci said. The work helps volunteers stay focussed and optimistic, he added.

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