Social Support: The Best Foundation of Our Wellbeing

Social Support: The Best Foundation of Our Wellbeing

Last update: 12 June, 2017

We have all been through complicated situations in which we’ve needed our loved ones in order to keep moving forward. This social support oftentimes plays the role of a “crutch” since it helps keep us standing. It also prevents us from falling back down again when we take the next few steps.

It seems evident that having a good social network helps us in our daily life, right? Knowing that we can count on the people who are important to us makes us feel a great sense of comfort. In fact, from a very young age, we seek to interact and build relationships with others. Without knowing the reasons which lead us to it, we actively seek for others to love and understand us. Why is this?

Intuitively, we could think that social support is the number of social relationships an individual has. But thinking about it as the amount of social links we have seems like an oversimplification, doesn’t it? Let’s also add to it who exactly we have this type of relationship with. If they are members of our family, work colleagues, etc.  We already have more information, but it still gives off the feeling that something is lacking.

Having a good social network, and one that we perceive as such, will help us maintain our psychological health.  As it turns out, it has been proven to function as a protective factor when it comes to facing stressful situations. It reduces the impact that the negative effects of stress have over our health, both mental and physical. But, in what way does social support affect our psychological well-being?

Therefore, if our social support network helps us regulate our emotional responses and reinforces us when we try to react to conflicts, it’s helping us confront them in a better way. On top of that, it will be boosting our personal growth.

Chronic diseases are a stressful element in themselves, both for the people who suffer them as well as for their close family and friends. For example, the effects of acquired brain damage has been studied on the family members of the patient. In general terms, they have to change their lifestyle and habits. Not only that, they also have to follow an exhaustive medical treatment.

Their social support will have a notable influence on this. It has been proven that a reduced level of this type of support can lead to people adopting less healthy lifestyle habits. This change in the behaviors related to our health is very important. Especially in the evolution that this type of disease might have.

Besides, if the patients perceive the social network they have as something positive, they will follow their treatments more effectively. This will make their health improve. They will also perceive that their well-being is satisfactory. This social network of support is so important that interventions are held with the patient’s family members. For example, this kind of intervention might apply for patients diagnosed with long-lasting and severe mental diseases.