Overcoming Anxiety: Tip #15
An excellent support system can get you through the toughest of times. No matter who you consider to be a support:
Furry animal friends
it is important to have a connection with someone positive - someone who can serve as your biggest cheerleader, give you a pep talk, and believe in you when you have trouble believing in yourself. Positive supports truly want what's best for you, and will provide a listening ear when you need it most (our furry friends can be great at this)!. They are not there to judge, react, or criticize, but to lift you up, allow you to vent, and provide another perspective on what you are experiencing.
Very often, I hear from patients that they have a pretty good support system, but then feel hesitant to approach these individuals when they need help.
Having a solid support system takes trust. When we reach out for help, we are becoming vulnerable. We share our pain, our feelings, and our struggles; but, there is usually that fear in the back of our minds that we will not be taken seriously, not understood, and in the end, not supported.
To assess whether you have a strong support network, ask yourself the following questions:
1.) Who can I turn to when I have a bad day?
2.) Who is the first person I would share my relationship difficulties with?
3.) If I am struggling with anxiety at work, school, or out with friends, who
would I tell?
4.) If I'm having trouble with my children, who would I seek advice from?
5.) Who would be by my side to wipe away my tears?
6.) Who would I call if I feel lonely?
7.) If I'm struggling financially, who would know?
Now, a support network does not need to include a dozen + people. It can include a small handful of individuals we feel close with, and then turn to each of them for different reasons. For example, we may not always want to go to our friends with our deepest struggles, or even our relatives. We may feel we need to put on a brave face for them, and show that we can handle whatever stressors come our way - that we are "strong." Perhaps we may use a therapist to meet that need, someone who protects our confidentiality, cannot gossip about our struggles, and is there to provide a nonjudgmental perspective.
Perhaps we may confide in our friends about dating/relationship advice, a teacher about school troubles, or a coworker to vent about our boss and work stressors. We may even use a journal to simply vent about our day in a quiet space.
When building a support network, many individuals forget about the benefits of a support group. If you feel alone in a particular struggle, a support group can certainly come to the rescue.
For example, joining a group that specifically caters to anxiety can help you feel supported in this area, and know there are individuals in your community who are in a similar boat. You will have the chance to gain valuable feedback from peers who know what you are going through, as well as the opportunity to provide support to others. Members often look forward to attending group each week, knowing this time is dedicated to bettering themselves in a positive, productive way. Joining a support group may help you find the exact supports you've been looking for!
Who is in your support network?
DISCLAIMER: The blog posts shared on www.StacySmithCounseling.com contain the opinions of Stacy Smith, MS, LPC, and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations or affiliates. While Stacy is a licensed mental health professional, all blog posts on her site are for informational purposes only, and are never a substitute for professional advice catered to your individual needs. Stacy Smith is not liable for any diagnosis, treatment plans, or decisions made based on the information presented on this website. Furthermore, commenting on posts does not mean a treatment relationship has been established with Stacy Smith.