Imagine a world without any form of support. No one to call, no one to see, no one to reach out to in a time of a crisis and no one to share in your good or bad news. Sounds scary or even unimaginable right? As human beings, our nature is to connect and interact with others in order to form social connections. Support systems are vital, as relationships with others play a crucial part in daily living. Take a moment to reflect on the different connections within your own life and how those relationships affect your life on a daily basis. Interactions with people we see and communicate with regularly may be so frequent, they become difficult to track. The people with whom you have the closest emotional relationships form your support system. They can be vital to helping one cope with stress and life challenges, as well as motivating one to strive for personal improvement. Without support systems, one can easily fall victim to the negative psychological impacts of isolation and loneliness.
Importance of a Strong and Stable Support System
Strong and stable support systems are of significant importance for those in recovery. When one is working toward a specific goal, or working through a difficult time, a support system allows to confide in others their thoughts and emotions, seek advice, or otherwise feel less alone in their journey.
People who lack this are more prone to depression and may experience significant loneliness due to lack of interactions with others. The following are a few examples of risk factors associated with poor support systems:
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation
- Substance misuse
- Cardiovascular disease
- Altered brain function
Types of Support Systems
There are two types of support systems that can improve one’s mental and emotional well-being: social support and social integration. Social support can be as simple as someone assisting with daily tasks, maybe providing financial help when necessary or other means of providing assistance. Social support can also include giving advice to a friend or family member when they are faced with hardships or just showing them that someone is in their corner who cares and is concerned.
The other type is social integration, which includes many different social relationships stemming from romantic relationships to friendships. Social integration consists of many different emotions such as:
- Sense of Belonging
- Familial Connection
- Social Activity and Participation
- Religious Community
One important benefit from social integration protection against maladaptive behaviors and damaging health consequences. There are many other social support systems that include emotional support, instrumental support and informational support. Each serves its own purpose along with also contributing to an individual’s life in different ways as well.
Support Systems and Health Benefits
As mentioned previously, support systems benefit us emotionally, mentally, and provide other positive benefits. Support systems remain an important aspect of our daily lives as it allows for continued social connection. Some other benefits of having support systems include encouraging healthy choices and behaviors, helping cope with stress and improving motivation. Social and individual connection increases and benefits all levels of an individual’s life and without it there wouldn’t be any motivation to thrive, connect and support one another.