With a wide visibility of news and media today, we frequently find ourselves exposed to troubling stories that directly or indirectly affect our communities. These events can impact well-being, causing anxiety, sadness, or fear. In response, it may be our natural urge to withdraw from others. Instead, we encourage you to seek support and nurture meaningful relationships with friends, family, and peers. Connecting with others builds resilience while reducing stress and cardiovascular problems following trauma.

Use the helpful tips below to best utilize social support systems

  • Share your story. This helps reduce the feeling of loneliness. Talking to others with similar experiences provides a fresh perspective and helps to put your emotions into words.
  • Be direct about your needs. As you begin to share, be direct about your needs. It may be a sympathetic ear, constructive advice, or a good laugh.
  • Listen as much as you talk. Encourage others to share openly and honestly. It is likely that they need your support as well.
  • Participate in normal activities. This is especially important for children. Encourage participation in enjoyable activities that connect you to a community, like sports practices, book clubs, or spiritual/religious groups.
  • Don’t let your schedule become a barrier. While it is best to talk face to face, you may choose to take advantage of technology to text, email, or join an online support group within your community.

Social support can be helpful in mediating feelings of stress. However, alone, it may not be enough. If you feel overwhelmed, or unable to cope, consider contacting a mental health professional.


Sources: American Psychological Association. National Institutes of Health. Lifework Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.