Even the most independent people benefit from human interaction, and having a support system to encourage and guide you through emotionally-tough times can be crucial to your mental health. However, cultivating this support system doesn’t happen on its own, and if you aren’t sure what to look for, you may struggle to seek help when life challenges arise. Read on to learn more about some of the defining traits of a healthy support system.
What Can Support Systems Look Like?
Support systems can take a number of forms and may include family members, friends, physicians, therapists, or counselors. Support systems can also include strangers or acquaintances you meet through church, a support group, an online community, or in just about any other context that provides you with encouragement and accountability. Don’t feel as though your support system is limited to those who are close to you; seeking out support from those outside your inner circle often provides a different, and helpful, perspective on whatever challenges you’re facing.
What Traits Define Healthy Support Systems?
Not all support systems are necessarily the healthiest for those they support, so knowing the foundation of a good support system can be a useful first step in determining how you can improve or boost your own.
Some traits that accompany a healthy support system include accountability, fellowship, the sharing of common experiences, and a sense of purpose.
Having a support system provides a level of accountability to help you achieve your goals or triumph over adversity. Whether someone is attempting to kick an addiction, lose weight, finish a college degree, or just push forward through a particularly difficult phase of life, a healthy support system won’t allow you to give up, and won’t encourage unhealthy or self-harming behaviors. Furthermore, a support system that provides regular accountability checks can operate as a constant cheering section.
Fellowship, or the sharing of common experiences, is also important. This is why support groups tend to be so helpful for those dealing with an addiction or psychological issue. Simply sharing stories and hearing others’ experiences can be cathartic and will bring you closer to others in your group.
Counseling and therapy can always be a valuable component of a support system. While friends and family may be well-meaning, they might not always have the emotional tools you need to help guide you through tough times, and working with a talk therapist or cognitive behavioral therapist can give you an unconditional level of support.
Finally, your support system should imbue you with a sense of purpose.
How Can You Improve Your Own Support System?
If you’re struggling to define your own support system and are facing a potentially life-changing issue like an unplanned pregnancy, Avail NYC can help. Our compassionate advocates will work with you to explore your options in a peaceful, non-judgmental environment, and can offer everything from free self-administered pregnancy tests to pregnancy and after-abortion support.
Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.