Part of the human condition consists of needing meaningful connections. Despite how capable we may feel, we need other people so we can live a happier and healthier life.
This means that we need a support system. Social support consists of informational, instrumental, appraisal, and emotional advocacy. It can come from friends, family, coworkers, mentors, and organizations that help you with both tangible and intangible aspects of life.
How a Support System Can Improve Your Health
Your social network can help you with everything from having a little more fun to taking care of overwhelming situations. It enhances your lifestyle and well-being. Keep reading to learn how building a network will improve your health.
Better Physical Health
Numerous social research studies suggest that support systems impact your physical health positively.
One study on cardiac health supports this notion. It showed that a person with high social integration only presents half the risk of ending up getting admitted into the hospital again following a heart attack compared to those with low social integration.
A network of friends and teammates also promotes physical activity. Whether it’s a walking partner, a spotter at the gym, a friend to play catch, or a hiking buddy, we tend to do more when somebody else holds us accountable.
Involvement in sports and other activities keeps us moving. This allows us to stay in better shape and may lower our risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses.
A Longer Life
A similar study to the one mentioned above and discussed in the same research paper followed men who went home following a heart attack. Researchers discovered a greater mortality rate for the men who went home alone as opposed to those who went home with a person or people to care for them.
Another study conducted on elderly women has found that subjects who received emotional support tended to live longer than the others.
Life simply feels better when you live around people who care for you. So it’s a bonus that they may help you actually live longer.
Your support system provides you with relationship advice, assistance with little tasks, and emotional and physical support through major life events. Societal stress adds up. But they are your people, and your people make life less stressful.
Your family and friends can also help you reduce and even avoid anxiety.
Anxiety occurs when you fear something that may or may not happen. Knowing that you can count on somebody to help you, regardless of the situation, will naturally make you feel more relaxed.
Even if your social network cannot offer you anything except hugs, that will help too. Physical touch releases endorphins that boost our happiness levels.
Build Your Social Network for a Healthier Life
You may feel like you can only count on yourself. But you should strive to build a solid support system.
A support network can help you live a long life that’s both happier and healthier. Read about more ways to improve your health and feel your best!