Stress and Social Support
Social support means the people and other sources of physical and emotional comfort in our lives. Benefits of social support include warmth, intimacy, sharing accomplishments, self-esteem, self-identity, solace, comfort, and the easing of loneliness.
You may find that each person - or even a pet — provides you with a different type of social support. However, the quality of your social support is more important than the quantity. A single individual can serve as the source for all your social support needs.
Three Major Types of Social Support
Psychological/Emotional: Offers encouragement, comfort, someone to share your burdens with
Informational: Offers assistance with making decisions
Practical: Offers help with chores, financial assistance, work schedule adjustment, child care, etc.
Typical Sources of Support
- Family (spouse/partner, children, parents, grandparents, siblings)
- Close friends
- Acquaintances (casual friends or contacts from church, school, neighbors, etc.)
Strategies to Improve Your Support Network
- Be a good friend to others. Offer and provide support when needed. Remember how good it feels to help someone else.
- Be willing to ask for and receive help from others.
- Recognize that you are part of a group or community that relies on each other. You don't need to be completely independent.
- Communicate your feelings and needs more directly with members of your current social support network. Most people want to help, but don't always know what is needed.
- Find new ways to get comfort and support (support groups, therapy/counseling, keeping a journal).
- Practice being assertive, not aggressive or passive.
- Means asking for what you want in a simple, direct way that does not negate, attack, or manipulate anyone else. You take responsibility for getting your needs met in a way that maintains the dignity of other people, as well as your own.
- Helps you express anger in a healthy manner.
- Helps develop self-respect and self-worth.
- Can be learned, strengthened, and practiced for better results.
Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships (9th Edition). Robert E. Alberti and Michael L. Emmons (2008)
The Shyness & Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear. Martin M. Antony and Richard P. Swinson (2008)