At times we may feel that we need to do things on our own without anyone else's help. Sometimes this can be cathartic other times it can leave you with a feeling of loneliness and a mild feeling of despair. It is very important for everyone to understand that we are not islands and it is healthy to reach out to our support system. We have support in friends, family and colleagues. It may be difficult at times to lean on this support due to issues that may have come up in your previous or current relationships. However, it is important to nurture and grow our support system.
If you look back, you may see that at different points in your life, you relied on different people for different things. Depending on our age, needs, wants and desires, we have turned to different people in our support system to assist with different areas of our lives. As we grow and age, some of us feel that relying on others is a flaw or limitation, that is NOT true! Reaching out to others in our support system is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of strength. It is just as important to be a support to others, as it is to be supported. Having a good support system is a two way street, we need to support those in our lives just as those people support us.
Here are 5 advantages of having a strong support system:
1. Sense of belonging: A sense of belonging is important throughout our lives. It starts with our family of origin and our friend group as we grow from children to adolescents to adults. We need to thrive, not just survive. With a good support system in place, we can flourish and reach our potential in whatever area we are striving.
2. Reduce Stress: A strong support system aids in stress reduction. Venting and spending time with loved ones can help reduce our anxiety, and increase our mood. Call a friend or family member to go for a walk, hike or a yoga class when you need to reduce stress. Having a strong support system can assist us in decompressing after a stressful day.
3. Improve overall health and wellbeing: A good support system helps with our overall physical health throughout our lives and especially as we age. Feeling as though we are not alone helps with physical health as well as emotional wellbeing.
4. Emotional support: An emotional support system is very important as good emotional health and wellbeing can increase overall physical health. A strong support system is pertinent to good emotional health as it gives us a community of support during the trying times.
5. Improved self-esteem: When we have people we can rely on and who can rely on us for support, we feel better about ourselves. It is always good to feel as though we have some people rooting for us on the sidelines as well as rooting for those in our support system.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a new city or location where we do not know anyone. If this is the case, try volunteering, take a class, music lessons, join a group such as a running or a book club, the idea is to find other people with similar interests as our own. As adults, many of us find like-minded people at our place of work, other times that is not the case. Look for organizations or meet up groups in an interest area and try to slowly build a support system in your new area.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a replacement for treatment or therapy.
Dr. Deb is a successful Psychologist who practices in New York City. She is an Anxiety Specialist who works with adolescents and adults providing both individual and couples counseling.