Research consistently indicates that the number one buffer against the negative effects of stress is support. When you know you’re not alone, you can fare way better than someone who does feel like they’re alone.
In fact, studies have been done where they had people try and judge the height of a mountain they would have to climb. When they were alone, they would judge that mountain to be far higher than when they were with a group of people. Unconsciously, we feel like we can handle things when we’re not alone and see obstacles as bigger than they are when we are alone.
So let’s talk about 4 types of support that everyone should have.
Emotional support is when you have someone in your life who makes you feel good about yourself. You don’t have to have a thousand Facebook followers to feel supported. As long as you have at least one person in your life who likes you just as you are, flaws and all, you have emotional support in your life.
Who is that person who supports you emotionally and is there for you when you need to talk? Who will always lend you an ear to listen to your troubles? Most of the time, we don’t need to be told what to do. What we need is someone who will listen and give you the feeling of “I get it. I understand what you’re going through.”
Write that person’s name down, that way you always know if you need something, you’re not scrambling around feeling alone. That person’s name will be at the front of your mind.
Let’s face it. The economy that we’re living in now is not necessarily supportive to everyone. It can easily feel like you are drowning.
What are your sources of financial support? Do you have a job? Do you have savings? Do you have parents to fall back on? If you actually needed to crash on someone’s couch. Do you have someone who will let you spend the night on their couch?
Having a safety net that you can fall on if things get really desperate can make you feel just slightly more relaxed. Knowing that if things got really rough, you have a soft place to land is comforting.
Informational support is just that. If you need professional advice on something, do you know how to find it? Do you know how to find an attorney if you needed one? Do you know how to get medical advice if you needed one? Do you know how to get advice on certain life choices that you need to make?
Do you know how to use your local librarian who is the expert on researching things? Do you know how to use that as a resource for help in getting information?
Informational support is just as important as the other types of support.
You might have friends who are willing to listen to you for hours on end. You may have friends who may not want to listen to your troubles at all, but they’re willing to lend you some money. And then you might have friends who don’t know anything about anything but they’re willing to lend you money and they’re willing to listen when you need somebody to listen to.
But who will give you practical support when you need it?
Let’s say you’re moving. Do you have somebody you can call to help you lift that couch? That’s practical support.
Let’s say your car’s broken down and you need a ride somewhere. Do you have somebody you can call to give you a ride? That’s what I consider practical support.
Do You Have All 4 Types of Support?
No one person is ever going to be able to provide all 4 types of support all the time. That’s why we need multiple sources of support. What are the names you wrote down?
Who can satisfy your needs for emotional support? Who in your life can provide financial support if you ever needed it? Where can you go for informational support? And then finally, who can you turn to for that practical support?