Social support is a key component of psychological well-being. Family and close friend who turn up when you need them are a blessing to have. Social support improves the quality of life and give us a buffer against adverse life events.
Whether dealing with a critical situation in life or need some kind of assistance in life or be with people who love and admire you, these relationships play an important role. When in a stressful situation, social support gives us the courage to deal with it and perform better in life.
Social support however is not a one way street. If we are relying on others for emotional support, it is also our responsibility to provide them with the same level of support and comfort when they are in need.
Types of social support
Social support can take up different forms. Each of them are important in some way or other. The three types of social support are mentioned below,
• Emotional support: Some people in our life give us emotional support. They back us when we are in need. They motivate us and boast our confidence. They provide us with a shoulder to lean on when we are in need. This type of social support is extremely necessary when one is stressed or lonely.
• Instrumental support: Some people provide us with financial support when we need it most. They take care of our physical needs and provide us with helping hand when we are in extreme need.
• Informational support: People who provide us with guidance, information, advice and mentoring, are informational supporters. This kind of supports are very important when someone is taking a major life decision. Information from a valid source such as a close friend, a mentor or a guide help us reduce our anxiety level.
People in our social support network can take up one specific role like a teacher who provide us with informational support, or all the three roles like our parents .
Benefits of Social Support
Psychologist and mental health experts have always pointed out the importance of having a social support network. Having supportive family and friends satisfies an individual’s need for love and care. They motivate an individual to strive towards their goal.
Social support whether from an individual or a group can help an individual to reduce the psychological and physiological effects of stress. Social support provides a sense of belonging and security. Human beings are social creature, and it is our primitive instinct to crave for love and sense of belonging. Having a social support network satisfies that need.
Individuals who lack social support tend to be sad and lonely. They tend to be more vulnerable to mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, suicidal tendencies and so on. Researches have shown women with a close friend are less likely to be depressed in comparison to one who lacks a close friend.
Social support network have been literal life saver. People who get support from family, friends, peers are more likely to have less vulnerability to poor health and premature death. They are more likely to have immunity than one who lacks such support.
There is a direct relationship with social support network and wellbeing. People who have a good support network are more likely to deal with stressful stimulus, be it loss of job, bereavement, harassment, illness.
Having a close social support network is a blessing and needs to be nurtured. It is a two way process, give and take should go on simultaneously. Social support network helps you deal with your insecurities and make you an emotionally and physically secure individual.