Social support can not only help get you through difficult times, but it can also protect your physical and mental health. Having a support system is so important, especially if you are trying to make difficult changes in your life. Before you learn how to increase support from others, it’s important to know what kind of support you need.
Social support comes in different forms:
- Emotional Support — A non-judgmental ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, someone who provides warmth, reassurance, and empathy.
- Instrumental Support — Tangible assistance. It is a family member cooking for you because you are struggling with your mental health, it is a friend cleaning your home after you gave birth, it is your partner running errands because you are recovering from surgery.
- Informational Support — Giving information and advice that is intended to help someone understand a stressful event, coping strategies, and resources.
- Appraisal Support — Offering information to help with self-evaluation of strengths.
Here are some ways you can get the support you need:
- Share your story. If no one knows that you are struggling, need aid with a problem, or need support working towards a new goal, then they can’t offer help. People don’t always notice when others are struggling, or they may be hesitant to ask. It can be difficult to talk to others about your vulnerabilities, but it is worth it to have the support you need.
- Say yes when help is offered. Be willing to say yes when someone asks if they can help you. Some people have difficulty accepting help from others, but you cannot receive help if you are not open to it!
- Be honest about what you do and don’t need. The people in your life aren’t able to read your mind, so it is important to be honest with them about your needs, and that includes what you don’t need as well. If you need someone to sit with you quietly while you process difficult emotions, ask for it. If you need someone to listen without offering guidance, ask for it. If you need advice, ask for it.
- Ask others what they think you need. Sometimes you don’t know what you need. Confiding in a person you trust can help. For example, if you are working towards a certain goal, ask them what they think your strengths are. If you have an idea of where you would like to go on your journey, ask them for their thoughts. Be open to hearing someone else’s point of view.
You are human and cannot handle everything alone, and shouldn’t be expected to. Everyone needs help at one point or another. Be kind to yourself and be open to the support that others are willing to give.
Want more support? Sign up for the Breaking Up with Sugar Course! A 6-module online course that will help you break up with Sugar and heal your relationship with food. Also, check out Molly’s youtube channel and subscribe to the Sunday Love Letter to get support, information, and motivation on your journey to create a loving relationship with food.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash