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Build a social support system outside the family

education Updated: Apr 06, 2015 12:40 IST
Mental health


What separates our society from others is the importance we attach to family bonding and social support. For many of us, we go about life knowing that there will be someone back home with whom we can share our difficulties, and who will always support us, no matter how bad things get.

At the same time, however, your family doesn’t need to be the only source of social support you have. In fact, the wider and more diverse your support system, the better it is. Be they your classmates or team members, a social support system outside the family will expose you to fresh ideas, allow opportunities for greater self-awareness and self-growth and mean lots of fun as well.

Others have felt the same: Talking to people will help you realise that it’s ok to feel the way you do, that others too have gone through what you’re experiencing and that you will deal with it.

Know yourself better: All of us have some blind spots and people around us often understand things about us better than we do. Spending time with others will help you know yourself better.

Enjoy lighter moments: Social support doesn’t only mean talking about serious things or reaching out in times of crisis. Spend lighter moments together doing things you all enjoy.

Exposure to fresh views and opinions: Sharing your views on current events and advancements can give you an insight into other views that you may not have considered in the past.

Get an objective perspective: Talking about your difficulties may allow you to get an unbiased, objective outsiders’ perspective.

Involve yourself in extra-curricular activities: A great way to build a healthy social circle is to involve yourself in sports and extra-curricular activities that you enjoy.

(The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare )