Emotional Support Network: What Is It And How Does It Help Us?

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The human being is a mammal, a relational animal. This implies that, inevitably, bonds are part of our nature. All people, to a greater or lesser extent, are part of a community. In the same way, throughout our lives we can provide and need support from other people and there is nothing wrong with that.

The concept “support network” has gained great importance in recent times, but… what exactly is it? Throughout this article we will define it and see what types of support exist. Additionally, we will talk about the importance of the emotional support network and, finally, about some strategies that can be useful to establish and maintain one.

What is the emotional support network?

We could define the emotional support network as the set of people who provide nourishing and secure ties for a person. In this sense, the support network provides support and help when the person needs it in various vital areas. These relationships are based on care, respect, support and accompaniment.

Having an emotional support network helps a person feel integrated, valued, cared for and even loved. Having the certainty that we have meaningful connections that will support us when we need it promotes emotional well-being. We cannot forget that we are social beings and, to a certain extent, we need others.

There are multiple situations in which we may require help throughout our lives. Therefore, the types of support that we may need are also diverse. One of the possible classifications is mentioned below:

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In addition, it is considered that they can also be classified depending on the origin of the support. In this sense, two categories are exposed:

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Is it really important?

Although the short answer would be a resounding yes, below we will see why it is so important to have an emotional support network. In addition to the information presented so far, there is increasing scientific evidence that supports the importance of the topic.

On the one hand, social and emotional support networks are known to play a crucial role in both the physical and emotional well-being of people. It is considered that having meaningful ties, and ones that are truly positive for the person, can improve the quality of life and be an elementary protective factor.

1. Physical health benefits

In relation to the issue of physical health, systematic reviews point out that feeling at the disposal of a support network has multiple benefits. Among them, The greatest recovery in case of illness, a lower predisposition to suffer from chronic diseases and greater longevity stand out

2. Emotional benefits

On an emotional level, without a doubt, having secure bonds is something elementary. Studies point to better self-esteem, reduced stress and anxiety, and reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness. Furthermore, people with a good network perceive themselves as having more capabilities to deal with complex situations.

3. Mental benefits

At a cognitive level, although there are still few studies, a relationship is observed that can have a positive impact. That is, improvements in people’s cognitive performance are mentioned. And, in addition, it is considered a protective factor for the development of some neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive deterioration.

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4. Other benefits

At the individual level, it has been observed that significant links may be related to the promotion and implementation of healthy lifestyle habits and self-care. This, together with everything mentioned above, can lead to great social benefits since there is greater resilience and less need for health care.

Strategies for establishing and maintaining a network

Despite the many benefits that can be obtained from having an emotional support network, it is not always easy to feel like you have one. The reasons can be very diverse and we cannot take for granted that the family and the circle of friends are those secure links. Sometimes, we will need to establish new connections as a form of self-care and there is nothing wrong with that. Below we mention some strategies that may be useful in this construction process:

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