How Social Support Leads to Better Mental Health
By Sabine Docteur
Social support can be identified as having a group of family and friends who are there for you and who you can turn to in your time of need. In times of stress and emotional turmoil, it is important to have a few key figures who can provide support. There are great links between having the right social connections and general health. Particularly, the lack of social connections and a supportive network has been linked to decreased health through higher risk of cardiovascular disease and depression.
Strong relationship connections could mean better mental health, but there are many reasons why this is so. Let's look at the different types of social support and their many benefits to our health and wellness.
Types of Social Support
When it comes to social connections and support, it can present in several ways. Emotional support may be provided in the form of encouragement and a shoulder to lean on in times of need. Another type of social support is instrumental support, in which someone is there to care for physical needs such as providing a hot bowl of soup for the sick or hungry, for example. Informational support is also a significant type of social support; it serves to provide individuals with guidance through mentorship and advice. Informational support helps to decrease anxiety from the stressors figuring out solutions and navigating life's problems.
Benefits of Social Support
Health benefits of having strong social support include increased ability of coping with stress, thereby decreasing possible mental health issues. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of social support is the gain of motivation to pursue one's goals. This helps individuals to achieve significant triumphs in life such as losing weight and furthering careers, amongst other things. For me, support from my family and friends serve as a major motivation force in achieving my dreams.
One critical consideration about having social support is not being afraid to go get it when necessary; you should not be afraid to reach out to others for support. It's OK to contact associates, deepen relationships with those who are around you, or even seek the help of a professional. Be sure to get the help that you need to better your mental and overall health. Going through life by yourself on the figurative island is tough; don't experience life alone.
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