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Be thankful for your family and friends, that social support helps more than we often realize

This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving. It is a time when we eat too much, and take time to meet and connect with people we love. It can be easy to take our family for granted and think they’ll always just be there but holidays can be wonderful times to really step back and make the effort to appreciate those who are close to us.12400833_1018538031520834_1054953620426982871_n

When I was sitting around the table with my family, I started thinking about the love and support that I have. Having just s
tarted a business, Nick and I have been overwhelmed by the love and help of those closest to us. Everyone seems to be crossing their fingers for our success. There’s a warmth in that feeling. Even being 3+ hours away, I knew they would be there if I ever needed them.

That feeling of social support, that moment when you know that even at 3 AM if there was something that went wrong you would have those people there to take you to a hospital, is extremely powerful. When we are younger, we think that the more people we know the better. It is a popularity contest. But as we get older, we start to realize it really is about the quality of those relationships not the QUANTITY. Having 1 000 people on Facebook doesn’t mean that we have people by your side when you need to lean on them.

costa-ricaResearch is “supporting” that connection as well. Social support is a factor that has been shown to protect us against disability and the need for long-term care. It is not just that someone is there to take care of us. It is that when we feel supported with QUALITY relationships, we don’t feel as lonely or isolated. We go out more. Our mood is higher. So we do more things. We have someone to do things WITH.

All of these things matter. Throughout the entirety of our life, but it seems to be that much more important as we get older.

So reach out to a person you love today.

 

Call them. Having a couple of minute conversation can mean so much. It makes you feel connected and up to date with what is going on in that person’s life.

Make an ongoing lunch date. Say you will meet every Monday for breakfast or the first Sunday of each month.

Make seeing people a priority. We can get so busy in our lives but even if its 30 minutes or a 5-minute phone call. Our relationships are important to our overall feelings of happiness.

I have noticed that as I have put a focus on reaching out to my close friends, even if it has just been a “how are you?”, that I haven’t felt alone or isolated. By reaching out to them, I feel supported.

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