Benefits Of A Social Support Network

Benefits Of A Social Support Network

Humans have a need for social connection. This stems, in part, from our ancestors needing to stick together to stay alive. Individuals who strayed from the group experienced a harder time surviving the elements and not starving to death.

While it is far safer to be an individual these days, that does not mean it is healthy for us to be isolated.

Isolation can impact mental well-being. It is for this reason that people suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns can benefit from the love and encouragement found in social support networks.

Social Connection: A Vital Part of Depression Recovery

When struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns living life can feel like it is taking place within a pit of despair. Pain outweighs pleasure. Meaning and fulfillment are elusive.

When we experience these negative emotions, there can be a tendency to retreat and isolate; however, doing so can make the dark darker.

Recovery from depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns can be a complex process, but you do not need to fly solo. By surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones you can continue to experience authentic connection with other humans. Each connection can be viewed as a light capable of beginning to pierce the darkness and build momentum toward recovery.

Research suggests there is a link between social relationships and varied aspects of mental health and wellness. It is for this reason that psychologists, therapists, and counselors may emphasize the importance of developing and maintaining a fulfilling, meaningful, and authentic social support network.

Developing and Maintaining Social Support

Social support comes in different forms. Sometimes you may need help with daily tasks. Sometimes you may need an ear to listen or a shoulder on which to cry. Sometimes you may need some sound advice.

Below are some ideas for building a supportive network of people who love and care about you.

1. Create a List

Make a short list of friends and family members who have shown you love, kindness, or support in the past.

2. Make a Commitment

Commit to reaching out to someone on your list once weekly (or more). You can do this by phone, text, email, or in person.

3. Be Honest

The people who love you can best help and support you if you are honest with them. When you reach out to folks in your social support network consider sharing what is on your mind and in your heart. Talk openly about struggles you are navigating. Strive to be open to perspective offered or advice given.

4. Get Out (Safely)

With COVID-19 continuing to impact our lives it is not as easy to get out and socialize in person, but doing so (while adhering to recommended risk-management precautions) can contribute to healing, growth, or positive change. Communication by phone, video calls, text, or email is also useful.

Of course, sometimes we need a bit more help than our loved ones can give. If you believe you would benefit from more specialized support, know that working with a skilled, experienced psychologist, therapist, or counselor can support adaptive coping with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. If you are interested in therapy to explore these concerns, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together. Telehealth appointments are available.


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