Staying Connected - Cultivating a Social Support Network

In order to feel loved, accepted and to experience a sense of belonging, it is of great benefit to you to surround yourself with family members and close friends. Having a social support network of people you can talk to, share with and whom are there for support and encouragement can go a long well in helping to build strong interpersonal relationships.

A social support network is also an excellent form of stress reduction. There is nothing like an evening out with a couple of close friends to help a person forget their worries and enjoy the here and now. After some laughs, a good meal and perhaps some drinks you may find that you have gained some perspective on your problems and they don’t seem as large and as looming as they did before the evening got underway.

What is a Social Support Network?

A social support network is composed of loved ones, friends, acquaintances and your peers. Whether you have a large network of people to talk to or a small one, there are always ways to reach out and meet more people. In the same way, there are always opportunities to draw closer to the individuals who are already in your social support network.

Not everyone’s social support network is the same. You might be involved with a church group or a local charity and develop close bonds with people you meet there due to a common cause and shared interests. You might get to know your neighbor well due to your passion for gardening. Or maybe your sister has moved closer to where you live after being further away for years and now the two of you have the opportunity to develop your sisterly relationship. You both have young children and share a love of romantic comedies, mystery novels and tennis which helps bond the two of you.

Benefits of Connectedness with Other People

Time spent with a person or persons from your social network can help to relieve the tension in your life as you get to talk problems and situations out and you also get the benefit of someone who is there to listen to you and give you suggestions and advice. Perhaps there is more than one way to look at a problem that is causing you a great deal of pressure? Perhaps the solution is simpler than you might think? These are things that might have escaped you that the other person can bring to your attention.

Being able to cope better with stress is much easier to do when you do not feel all alone. A feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself is a significant way to deal with tension and stress in your life.

Choose Diversity

It also helps to have a little diversity in your social support network. In other words, finding different individuals to discuss the different areas of your life that cause you stress. There may be some people that you can talk to about job related problems while others can relate better to your family problems.

When you remain connected to others, you have a sense of security that you do not have when you are alone. If your friends notice that you seem to be becoming depressed or despondent, they can let you know. Once you know this, you can do what needs to be done to manage the stressful situation you are facing.

Staying connected is important for your health and well-being. Having a strong and supportive social network surrounding you benefits every area of your life- your work, your family, your professional endeavors and your personal relationships. Think of it as a necessity for life.


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