Increase Your Social Support

IMAGE Social support refers to a person’s network of relationships with other people. It can be defined in terms of:

  • Quantity—how many relationships a person has
  • Quality—the type of relationships a person has and how satisfied a person is with those relationships

Health Benefits of Social Support

Studies have found that social support often plays a role in health and well-being. Many researchers believe that social support can help:
  • Improve mental and emotional well-being
  • Reduce stress and stress-related illnesses
  • Improve recovery from illness
  • Increase resistance to disease

Other Benefits

Other benefits that may be derived from social support include:
  • Companionship
  • Emotional support
  • Assistance
  • Financial or material help
  • Information and advice

Assess Your Social Support

Take a look at your current social network. Assess your level of satisfaction with the quantity and quality of your relationships.

Quantity of Relationships

How satisfied are you with the number of relationships you have and the amount of time you socialize with others?
  • How many close and/or dependable relationships do you have with people within one hour’s drive from your home? Consider relationships with:
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Neighbors
    • Coworkers
    • Others
  • Do you spend time with someone who does not live with you?
  • Do you talk to friends or relatives on the phone, via email, or text message?
  • Do you go to meetings, social clubs, or other groups?
  • Do you belong to online social networking sites or support groups for people with similar life situations?

Quality of Relationships

How satisfied are you in your relationships with family and friends? In the majority of these relationships, do you feel that you are:
  • Understood
  • Loved, or at least appreciated
  • Heard
  • Informed
  • Useful
  • Able to talk about your deepest problems with at least some of them
  • That you have a definite role or place
  • Able to be yourself

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