(meeting others; making connections; relying on community)
Support from a community – whether emotional, educational or social – can make a big difference in your quality of life. Whether you’re living with MS, or a family member, friend or support partner to someone living with MS, connecting with others in similar situations can validate that you’re not alone and help you build confidence to face the challenges presented by this unpredictable disease. It’s actually a proven fact that making social connections releases oxytocin, a pleasure-inducing hormone that can stave off depression and increase happiness – as described in The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. The following resources may help you make connections and identify ways to build community in your life today:
- Use common social media like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, or
- Connect with others with similar interests and experiences through the Society’s private community at MSconnection.org, or
- With a personal Peer Connection – a volunteer who has “been there” and can provide you with helpful tips, suggestions and emotional support. Online application, or
- Make the most of Internet search with keywords like: how to make new friends, how to build community
- Through the Society’s 50-state network of chapters. Support Groups – traditional and non-traditional groups (like supper clubs and hiking groups) – can be found by calling the Society at 800-344-4867 or by searching your local chapter website, or
- Get involved. Find out activities taking place in your neighborhood and community through Internet search with keywords like: [town name] community events, [town name] calendar. Whether a food drive, special event, or coffee shop music night, attend to become more visible and get know what makes your community tick.
- Network in your personal life – invite a neighbor over for coffee, or ask them to join you in an activity. People find spontaneity to be exciting and adventurous. Don't be discouraged if they say “no thank you,” just ask another time and people will recognize your willingness to connect – most will be pleased by the invitation!
- Smile. Even add a wave to it! These seemingly simple gestures can actually help you build connections and a sense of community in your neighborhood.
By phone 24/7 with the Society’s MS Friends.