5 ways social support reduces stress and benefits your health

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

The difference between a support system and a permanent solution

Before i can tell you about the great benefits social support can bring to your mood and your overall health i first have to tell you about the difference between a support system and a permanent solution.

Lets suppose that you were in dept in such a case there are many things you can do to feel better such as surrounding yourself by friends, meditating or exercising.

While all of these methods will certainly make you feel better none of them will solve your problem permanently and unless you take serious actions to find money you will live with that problem.

The right way to use social support

Now the most popular mistake people do when dealing with emotional problems is that they use the support system as if its the solution to the problem while forgetting that the support system is there just to make them feel better while they are actively trying to solve their problems.

That's also the reason depressed people feel bad once again as soon as they stop taking medication. Its because medication was intended to support them until they solve their problems rather than fully treat them. (see also Treating depression the right way).

now that you know that a support system is there to help ease your pain and not to solve your problems you are ready to know about the tremendous benefits of a social support system.

5 ways social support reduces stress and benefits your health

  • 1) Venting reduces bad emotions: Many people are too insecure to talk about their problems with their friends or relatives. Studies found that the more you expose yourself to others and talk about every detail of your problems the better you will feel. In fact suppressed emotions are among the popular causes for bad moods and depression. In other words, unless you talk about your problems and share them with close people you will hardly feel better
  • 2) Planned distraction can lead to finding solutions: your subconscious mind keeps thinking about your problems even when you don't. Studies have found that you can find good solutions to tough problems if you stopped thinking about them for a while. During that time your subconscious mind will be searching for a solution and then it will suddenly send it to you. Social support can help you stop thinking about your problems for a while and as a result you might suddenly find a solution popping up in your mind
  • 3) Sharing a problem and reducing the pain: Do you remember how stressful exam days were? Do you know why you managed to go through the stress of exams safely? Its because you and the people around you share the same problem. It was found that your mood can improve a great deal upon discovering that you are not alone and that there are many people out there who share the same problem with you. Find those close friends who have your same problems and share your stories with them, this will make you feel much better. If you found no one like you then just use the internet to find an online support group.
  • 4) Less Stress and reduced depression symptoms: Studies found that people who got good social support manged to get over depression faster and experienced less severe symptoms. Stress was also found to be reduced a great deal if good social support was provided. One study has found that married men live longer than single ones, researchers then concluded that the emotional support married men get from their wives helps them have a better health.
  • 5) Intellectual friends and permanent solutions: When we feel bad or down we see the world differently and our perception of everything changes that's why we might need to let someone other than us suggest solutions to our problems. Because our bad moods can cloud our thinking process a good friend who feels better can sometimes help us find the right answer. If you were lucky to have an intelligent friend then he might propose a good solution that can help you solve your problems.

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