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Having emotional support is often mentioned as a critical component of psychological health and strong relationships.
Support is a necessity, not a luxury.
According to Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness are associated with poor mental health and poor cardiovascular health, among other health problems.
Living life on life’s terms can often e challenging. As social creatures, we aren’t built to go it alone. Having people to share both good and bad times is one of the biggest highlights of experiencing this life.
Here we’ll explore the components of an emotional support network and how to build your own.
Components of an Emotional Support System
Support systems can take different forms and each can play a different role in your life. Below we’ll discuss the three main types of social networks.
This type of support is the kind when others in your life give you a shoulder to lean on. It’s the kind of support that you get when you need some cheering up or a good cry.
The kind of support that is more practical—like when someone helps you with your physical needs or helps with a project. Even something small, such as bringing you soup when you’re sick, counts as instrumental support.
In times of stress or confusion, such as making a big decision, you may need guidance. Informational support can take the form of advice, mentoring, guidance, or information.
Let’s explore how to begin building your own social support system.
Where to Look to Start Building
Learning how to build a support system is a skill that can be developed over time, like learning how to play an instrument. You’ve just got to commit to practicing. Here’s where you can start exploring.
Whether a therapist or life coach, professionals can offer almost every type of support already discussed, if not all. They may also be able to offer you more specialized support. For example, a therapist can give you advice on stopping a panic attack.
Communities are usually formed around common interests, activities, or finding a solution to a common problem.
There is power in coming together for a unified purpose. These communities can often attract diverse people who are held together by a shared passion. Finding a community can often be a game-changer.
Google communities in your area or use one of the many apps to find a community near you.
Online communities can be great for those who are more introverted or prefer the convenience provided by the Internet.
The number of online forums and communities is limitless. Tools like Zoom and Skype make it easy to meet people all over the world. These connections can be fulfilling and unique.
With all the tools and communities available to us, no one needs to be alone. And, as science tells us, we shouldn’t be alone.
You can use the information above to start building your very own emotional support network.
To learn more about health, be sure to check out our health and wellness section.