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Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Support For Stress Relief

By March 9, 2010

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Over the weekend, we had a party for my son's tenth birthday. As with many birthday parties, it involved a lot of moving parts, and some juggling. And as with many parties we've had in the past, I felt such gratitude for my family and friends, who helped me out when I needed an extra set of hands. My sister was seating kids for cake when my attention was occupied, a friend helped serve ice cream while another friend served cake. My husband wrote down the gift list and took plenty of pictures. And my friends all generally pulled together to help me ensure that all the kids were happy. This type of support--hands-on, physical support--is a type of support that I'm not always comfortable asking for, but really appreciate. And, as I realize that people are generally happy to help--in fact, most good friends would prefer to help out!--I'm getting more comfortable with asking for and giving this type of support.

As I was reflecting on the gratitude I felt for the support my friends and family were giving, I also thought about all the emotional support we share, and all of the other types of support that help us all keep stress at bay. While relationship conflicts can be a cause of stress, the right circle of friends and type of social support can work wonders.

I recently read some interesting research on types of support, however, and found confirmation on what I've always instinctively felt: that not all types of support function in the same way and, even more interesting to me, some types of support can actually be damaging if given in too-large quantities. Read more about the research on different types of support, and see the resources below on how to share stress relief with your loved ones through supportive relationships.

Read More Relationship Research for Stress Relief

Relationship Resources for Stress Management:

  • Types of Social Support
    What are the different types of social support, and how do they work? Do men and women need different things? And is it really possible to get TOO MUCH support from a spouse? Learn more about social support and stress!

  • Best Types and Sources of Social Support
    Social support is a wonderful remedy for stress, and can come in many shapes and sizes. And different types of social support resonate with different people (though esteem support is virtually universally liked). What does good social support look like to you? What are your favorite types and sources of social support?

  • Communication Skills
    Conflict in a relationship is virtually inevitable. In itself, conflict isn't a problem; how it's handled, however, can bring people together or tear them apart. Poor communication skills, disagreements and misunderstandings can be a source of anger and distance, or a springboard to a stronger relationship and happier future. Next time you're dealing with conflict, keep these tips on effective communication skills in mind and you can create a more positive outcome.

  • How to Create Truly Supportive Friendships
    Creating a supportive circle of friends is well worth the effort, but it does take some work. Here are some important things to remember in building your social support.

  • More Research on Social Support

What are some ways you've given support lately? What are some ways that people have supported you? Share your experiences in the comments, we'd love to hear them! And if you've found this post helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends and family via the 'share' button. Thanks!

March 11, 2010 at 8:35 am
(1) Tracy says:

Good article and I’m sure one that is often overlooked on a day to day basis.

i agree that it is not easy asking for help or even accepting it when it is offered but when you consider how this could reduce your stress levels in the long run and possibly prevent illness, well then it is a no brainer. we need to learn to say yes more often and to seek help when we need it.

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