One of the most important factors in mental and emotional health is having a support system that understands us and can help us work through problems.
Support systems can give us advice, help us to learn new skills, keep us on the right track, and hold us accountable to do what needs to be done.
For instance, research reveals that married couples are better able to cope and manage health concerns more effectively together. Women whose husbands were involved in their health care issues, specifically breast self-examination, were more likely to do the examinations and stay on a consistent schedule.
Some estimates say we should have at least 5 different support sources that we can turn to, and fortunately there are numerous outlets to begin building a support system.
Different types of support systems:
Friends and family – The more supportive people you have in your life the more effective your support system will be. Who do you have in your life that can serve as a support?
These should be people who know you well and are able to notice when your behavior becomes unusual or unhealthy. They should be positive and encouraging and help you experience more hope, courage and strength.
Therapy – Sometimes our friends and family aren’t enough to help us get through a difficult time. Sometimes our friends and family have too much on their own plate to be dealing with our problems. During these times we might need professional support. A therapist can be a wonderful support to help you work through issues and struggles.
Support Groups – There are support groups for just about everything you could think of. Support groups offer you interactions with people who may have had similar experiences and can understand what you’re going through. People can learn new skills for coping and connect with people who will hold them accountable.
Spirituality and religion – Having a spiritual connection or religious affiliation offers a wonderful source of support when we are struggling. Spirituality can offer a sense of hope and purpose in our life, and help us find greater strength and resilience. You can also connect with a community of others who have similar beliefs.
Leisure activities and interests – Hobbies and activities we enjoy not only offer us fun and relaxation but can help connect us to others. They provide us a break from our problems and give us a chance to feel good about ourselves.
Consider what your needs are and how these different support systems can help you get your needs met. Whether spending time with friends, engaging in leisure activities, or a support group, these social supports give us a chance to bond with others and build relationships.
Try to find supports that offer you greater positivity. A healthy support system should not lead you to feel resentment, anger, and shame, but should increase your level of joy, purpose, and satisfaction.
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