Support System: What it means and why you need one
Two people supporting themselves as a system

Support System: What it means and why you need one

What is a Support System

A support system is a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support.

Part of life is experiencing ups and downs. We want people who understand us and can be depended upon during tough times. We need people who will listen to us and give us honest feedback. Research has proven that having a support system has many positive benefits, such as higher levels of well-being, better coping skills and a longer and healthier life.

Studies have also shown that social support can reduce depression and anxiety. Some people do best with a large support group, while others need a small support system. Giving and receiving support from others is a basic human need.

The goal of social support is to decrease stress. To determine the strength of your support system, make a list and determine who is healthy and positive and who is not. Also limit contact with the negative people in your life.

Negative people can drain your energy and bring you down. Watch for these types of people who may be negative: blamers, liars, alcoholics, drug abusers and those who put you down. Your time and energy need to be invested on those who make you feel good about yourself. Support can come from family, friends, pets, neighbors and clergy. Support can be emotional or financial. In countries like Nigeria where there are few support groups it is very important that you are surrounded with the right kind of people. Your support group must be able to help you in time of needs, they should be people who understand you as a person and are more loving than they are judgmental. They understand that life is a process and that we are striving towards perfection in our everyday lives.
Do not mistake having a crowd of friends and family for a support system. If your home or friends are toxic and you cannot talk to them then you need to look for a support system outside your home. Your colleagues in the office could also be part of your support system, as long as they bring love and light into your life.


Importance of a Strong Support System

Avoidance or Overcoming Midlife crisis: The midlife stage is a phase when there is a loss of self-confidence and feeling of anxiety or disappointment that can occur in early middle age. A strong support system helps you overcome these feelings as soon as they begin to bud so that before they bloom it nips it. Midlife crisis oven leads to severe depression and suicide in some extreme cases.

Kara shares her story 

“As I sat in my room all alone after getting off the phone with a company and hearing the words “thank you for applying, but we are going to move forward with other candidates” for the second time that week, and probably the fifth time all together, I had no words. I could feel the anger; sadness, stress and frustration all build up inside of me. Tears were forming in my eyes and all I wanted to do was scream or cry. I made two phone calls after that. The first one was to my mum who told me to keep my head up and to keep searching and that this one wasn’t meant to be. She told me that there was something better for me out there. The second phone call I made was to my friend. When he answered the phone, my voice was shaky and all I could spit out was “I didn’t get the internship.” He immediately replied with, “I’ll be right there.” About five minutes later he was at my doorstep with a hug and a lot of comfort.  He sat with me until he made sure I felt better. After the frustration settled a bit, I thought of how lucky I was to have such an amazing support system around me”.

Sometimes we are stuck in work environments that do not create room for growth or are somewhat toxic. The Nigerian economy does not create room for easy switches from job to job or career to career. We have the mentality of holding on to the one we have instead of staying home and doing nothing. Without a strong support system, these kinds of situation could lead to chronic depression.

Applying to different jobs and getting no feedback is probably even worse than the case of Kara. It creates this feeling of hopelessness that having a strong support system helps take away. A support system spreads positivity and most times are often the first thoughts when you need to escape from certain situations that are trying to weigh you down.

Having a great support system in life is so important. They help you deal with the hard things going on in your life and are there to celebrate the good times with you. They help relieve some of the pressure and stress that life can bring. Having a support system really shows you that you are never alone in life nor will you ever have to face anything alone. Support systems are the people who are there for you no matter what because they care about you and want to see you succeed and be happy. They are the people who encourage you when you feel like giving up and the people who celebrate with you when you succeed. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Having someone to talk to about even the minutest and sometimes deemed insignificant things is very important. It takes off the tension and creates ease.

I used to work in a really toxic office where there was so much negativity and people would often look for ways to pull you down even in your happiest of days just to make you look bad. There was a penal code for every misconduct and we were often living on the ledge, very scared of when the next penalty or suspension email would carry our names. I had to develop a support system within the office, a few positive people who were like minded and shared my values. We would share our office worries with each other and vent whenever we needed to. We would also advice each other on How to address issues and avoid getting into trouble. Looking back, I do not think I would have gotten through the period I worked there without their support.