How to build a strong personal support system becomes a crucial question because it’s a major factor that influences how we experience both our good and bad days. A personal support system could be understood as a system built by people who are close to a person. It aims to strengthen the person as well as make them aware of the resources they possess and their limitations which are important when dealing with difficult situations. Hence, having a strong personal support system is more of a necessity today rather than just a personal hack.
The importance of a personal support system can be more easily understood by a diathesis-stress model, which states that each one of us has a different predisposition vulnerability to stress, such that when we are exposed to an amount of external stress which triggers our vulnerability, we then tend to experience negative emotions and setbacks in life. But this external stress can be mitigated or reduced by protective factors (such as one’s personal support system) by using adaptive solutions and/or provision of resources to deal with the stressful experience.
So, how to build this support system? The first step is the identification of those who are already a part of your protective factor or support system. This can be done by asking yourself a few simple questions:
- Who all helped me emotionally or psychologically in dealing with my past stressful experiences?
- Who among my friends always listens to me and offers me solutions instead of judging my mistakes?
- In my hard times, who stood by my side like a true friend?
- Who among my friends points out my mistakes to help me better deal with situations?
The names that come to your mind while answering these questions are the people who are part of your support system. It’s okay, even if you have a couple of people instead of a large group, as quality is always preferred over quantity in this context. Furthermore, it might get hard for some people to ask for support or perceive such help-seeking behavior as a weakness, for those of you who experience this, remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable amongst close ones.
The next step is to strengthen your connection with your support group members, to do this:
- Be the support system for them whenever they need you.
- Make some backup resources so that any of your support system members don’t feel overwhelmed.
- And remember to show gratitude to them from time to time