Social support is the foundation of human relationships. It is the network of people who we are able to rely on and who offer us emotional, practical and mental support when we need it. The benefits of social support are numerous and important to our health and wellbeing.
Emotional health is an important aspect of our overall wellbeing. A lack of social support can cause feelings of loneliness, isolations, and even depression. The presence of healthy social relationships can provide a sense of belonging and break down feelings of isolation.
The role of social support on our emotional wellbeing can be seen in several different areas. Individuals who have a strong support system typically have higher self-esteem, improved coping skills, and more optimistic attitudes about life. They are able to lean on others in times of stress and worry, and generally have lower levels of anxiety and depression.
It may come as a surprise, but social support also has a direct connection on our physical health. Studies have shown that individuals who have a strong social support system have lower blood pressure, improved immune function, and an increased likelihood of overall longevity.
The benefits of social support extend to disease and illness as well. Individuals with a solid support system tend to have better health outcomes, lower stress levels, and a faster recovery time.
Stress and social support
Stress is a common facet of modern life, and while we all experience stress differently, prolonged stress can have disastrous health effects. Social support can help individuals manage and reduce stress. It works by enhancing coping abilities and providing a supportive network that an individual can turn to under high-stress situations.
Social support comes in many forms
Social support can come in many different forms, including practical support, emotional support, informational support and even spiritual support. Each form of support provides its own unique benefits, and it’s important to find the type of social support that works best for you.
Practical support can be financial, such as loaning money or offering a place to stay during hard times. Emotional support can come from loved ones who can provide a listening ear or a shoulder to rely on. Information support is helpful for individuals seeking guidance and reassurance when making difficult decisions. Finally, spiritual support can come in the form of a sense of belonging and shared values.
Social support is not just a nice-to-have; it is a fundamental element in our overall health and wellbeing. It rivals the importance of sleeping, exercising, and eating a balanced diet. For those who are struggling with mental or physical health, the presence of a strong social support network can provide the necessary comfort and resilience to fight back against tough times. It’s never too late to reach out and connect with loved ones or cultivate new friendships. The benefits of social support are immeasurable, and we can all benefit from the love and care of others in our lives.