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Who is on your support team?

Bridging the East River by Randy Wick / © Some rights reserved.

I frequently talk to people who struggle with the experience of being alone when facing change. They don’t think they can call on a friend or family member and feel overwhelmed at times. Here are some tips that can help you build your own support team.

Why do we need supportive people around us?

A strong supportive team of people helps you cope with stress in times of difficulties and change, and play an important part in your growth. In general, social connection and belonging contributes to our overall wellbeing, to our resilience and reduces stress. Even one supportive friend or family member can make all the difference. Another benefit of being surrounded by supportive people is that they can be our external alert system as they can let us know anything we are not aware of – our blind spots.
So, a good team is a key ingredient in our growth.

How do you build and maintain your support team?

  1. Make a list of people you would like to have in your life. Think of your family, friends, people you know from a club or from online peer groups or professionals.
  2. Identify the support you would need from each person. The support we need from others can take on many different forms and shapes. Ask yourself the question whether you need emotional, practical, or motivational support. You might need someone who listens to you without giving advise, need some motivational support from a mentor or you just need that help with household chores.
  3. Let your team know how they can support you. This is an important step. Don’t assume that others know what you need. Most of the time they are not aware of our needs because we have never told them. Therefore, start to express your support needs to them so that they know how they can help you.
  4. Create a mutual supportive relationship. For a relationship to be supportive it needs to be mutual. Listen to the other person and be interested, involve them in your life, invite them for tea or even let them know how happy you are that they are in your life.

Who is in your support system right now? Who do you want on your team?

Photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cantchangerandy/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

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