April 8, 2012
I have been sharing my thoughts and information on different types of support. Having already discussed practical support and informational support, it is now time to discuss, emotional support. I believe emotional support is the most important type of support for those going through difficult times.
What is Emotional Support?
According to thefreedictionary.com, emotional support is the sensitive, understanding approach that helps individuals accept and deal with their difficulties or illness. Enabling a person to communicate their anxieties and fears; derive comfort from a gentle, sympathetic, caring person; and increase their ability to care for themselves. Emotional support can come from family, friends or health care professionals, but according to The American Institute of Stress, emotional support seems most effective when we can share our feelings or burdens with others who are experiencing or have experienced similar problems. Attending a support group is one way to receive emotional support.
Why Do We Need Emotional Support?
Although some individuals may believe the need for emotional support is a sign of weakness, research has shown the benefits of such support. Often shame and embarrassment prevent others from seeking emotional support. There should be no shame in seeking help. I, personally, have found that the ability to talk to others, who have been through similar life experiences, has helped encourage me to overcome my challenges as well as to maintain a more healthy and positive outlook. Emotional support may not be essential but we are designed with a mind, body and spirit. I have found that all aspects of an individual need to be cared for and nurtured. By leaving out emotional support, a big part would be missing in helping us to deal with life challenges.
Emotional Support is Good for Us
Criticism for the need of emotional support has largely been answered by clinical studies that have shown that emotional support can increase longevity, improve psychological function and cause improvement to immune system function. In fact, even having a pet can provide beneficial emotional support. In my own experience, receiving emotional support from family, friends, pastors, others who have dealt with similar circumstances and compassionate health professionals all have contributed to overcoming my challenges. Continuing to have emotional support from them, enables me to continue to deal with my current life challenges and will help me to deal with the future challenges as well. There are many organizations and resources available that provide emotional support for those facing mental illness. Please check out my website resource list for some of them. Links for further reading are provided below.
I would love to hear your comments on your experiences with emotional support.