JENNIFER BALLERINI

Therapist Blog

Choose Good People

Good for Your Nervous System

It's Friday, and I'm ready to swing, pick up takeout and hang out quietly with my family (hello, pandemic, my old friend!)… Whether or not you're having the wild weekend Aaliyah referenced, here's a quick reminder that who you surround yourself with matters. Consistent research shows us that healthy relationships make us more resilient in the face of stressors (hello, pandemic, my old friend, again!) and can even make us feel less physical pain. Among EFT couple therapists, there's a famous study where women were given a small electric shock on their foot while in an MRI machine. The women who went through this alone showed elevated fear and pain responses, those holding a stranger's hand felt some diminishment in the fear and pain, and for those holding their partner's hand, brain scans showed little to no fear or pain response. There's two lessons here: Research psychologists are probably sadists (they are ALWAYS hurting/stressing out their subjects) and also that secure attachment is MAGIC. Take good care of you and your nervous system by leaning in to the people who make you feel better and setting healthy boundaries with people who deplete you — your mind and your body will thank you!