Humans are social creatures, and having social connections is essential to our well-being. Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. However, having strong social connections can improve our overall well-being, increase feelings of happiness, and improve our ability to cope with stress.
Here are some steps to help build a support system for better mental health:
- Identify your support system: Your support system can include family members, friends, co-workers, or even support groups. Identify individuals who you trust and who are supportive of your well-being.
- Communicate your needs: Discussing your needs and feelings with your support system is essential to building a strong connection. Let your support system know how they can provide support and be clear about your boundaries.
- Cultivate new relationships: Joining social groups or clubs can help in meeting new people who share your interests and values. Try new hobbies that may bring about connections with new people, stay open to new experiences.
- Be open to receiving help: Sometimes, it can be challenging to accept help from others. However, being open to receiving help can strengthen your connections and help better manage stress.
- Practice active listening: Listening to others and being present in the moment can help build stronger connections. Listen actively by focusing on the speaker and avoiding distractions.
Building a support system has many benefits for mental health, including:
- Increased feelings of belonging and connection
- Improved coping skills and resilience
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- Reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Improved mental health
To address any feelings of loneliness or isolation, it may help to speak to a mental health professional through your Assistance Program. The program is free to use, confidential and personalized. Learn more about resources available at our member support page.