Read in this series


When we experience a trauma, we tend to isolate from others. While recognizing the space and time needed to heal, making connections with close family members, friends or new people is important to foster resilience. Contact with those we trust has positive effects, both psychically and physically as it boosts oxytocin levels in the brain, which can enhance the sense of optimism, trust, and self-esteem.

In an unpleasant situation, our view of the world is shaken thus, firstly it is necessary to recognize that we are going to face a dark period but then we need to do something positive to overcome. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Volunteering, advocating, donating – doing something positive and assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.

The following graph depicts a survey from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) which presents that internet access for seafarers for personal use on board ships is more widespread and available than previously imagined.

Staying connected with family, friends, and community can have a profound effect on how life is experienced. However, not all relationships are the same neither they last in time. Certainly, they pass through many phases of development; thus it is important to keep healthy and quality relationships with others. Only these relationships would influence how emotionally resilient we could be in the face of an emotional or physical crisis.

Having a support system in place, even if that means going the extra mile, is important to approach life more optimistically. Additionally, once you have made connections, learning to care for and properly manage these is an essential skill for quickly bouncing back from adversity.

Basic principles

  • Acceptance: all people are unique
  • Respect: do not try to change others
  • Tolerance: there are more dimensions to a situation than simply “right” or “wrong”
  • Trust: be honest with others and maintain confidentiality
  • Forgiveness: cultivate compassion and release the negative thoughts

Key considerations

  • Make relationships a priority over the other important activities filling your life
  • Figure out how to divide up your limited energy and time
  • Decide whether you want to focus on creating new relationships or on deepening existing relationships
  • Do not wait for someone else to make the first move
  • Accept that the connections we make throughout our lives continuously change
  • Participating in groups that provide social support can help with reclaiming hope

7 tips for developing good relationships

#1 Choose quality over quantity

Focus on intimate bonds; close relationships contribute to greater mental-health outcomes in the long term.

#2 Ask for help

The simple act of asking help is a learnable skill. Accepting help from others is not a sign of weakness.

#3 Identify what others need from you

Show interest in knowing about what is really important to others; reciprocity is important for a healthy and balanced relationship.

#4 Be yourself

Accept yourself as you are and that others are never exactly like you. Differences are not bad or wrong.

#5 Appreciate boundaries

Each person's boundaries are partially drawn from their culture. Define the degree of closeness appropriate to each relationship

#6 Invest in communication

Share your feelings and thoughts and develop "intellectual intimacy''. Communication is more than just exchanging information.

#7 Commit

Devote time and effort to create new relationships and nurture old ones.