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The Power of Support: "We're All In This Together"

Power of supportAmerican author Dan Simmons once said, “It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.” Communication is one of the most essential tools in connecting human beings. It’s a gift that is uniquely human . . . so why not use it to our advantage?

Talk it out.

Let’s face it: we all go through difficult times in life. Throughout those tough times, many of us conceal our true emotions. We think it is a sign of weakness to share our feelings or perhaps believe the misnomer that no one else will understand what we are going through.

But pent-up frustrations and bottled-up emotions only lead to one thing: STRESS. Stress can evoke a number of problems in the workplace, financially, or in personal relationships.  Tucked away, these negative emotions can manifest physically in the form of various diseases. Remember disease broken down is dis-ease, not being at ease with one’s self. So, ladies, call a girlfriend and vent away. And men do the same, even though it may call for stepping out of your comfort zone.

If you can’t find someone in your sphere of friends to confide in, it may be necessary to speak to a therapist, someone at your place of worship, or even a sympathetic ear in line at the grocery store. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to a person, talk to your pet. As silly as this sounds, it can actually help release tension. You won’t get any verbal feedback, but at least it’s off your chest. Talking through things aloud can provide new insight, understanding, and perhaps a new perspective to a situation.

Power in support.

Support groups can have a positive effect on a variety of physical illnesses. In 1989, Dr. David Spiegel conducted a study on group therapy and concluded that it helped women with breast cancer live longer and cope better.

Support groups are a safe place where people can share problems, ideas, and feelings as openly as possible. Communication takes place in a constructive, harmless way, allowing people to express worries, fears, concerns, and doubts in a safe environment.

Scientific evidence proves that support groups enhance the quality of life and help to diminish feelings of helplessness. When others support people in similar situations, they are better able to deal with their own circumstances. Due to the tremendous amount of understanding among the group, intricate bonds frequently form between group members. According to the American Cancer Society, one clinical trial found that “support groups helped in reducing tension, anxiety, fatigue, and confusion.”

It is suggested, however, to avoid online chat rooms or support groups . . . or rather, proceed with caution. Privacy and confidentiality is not guaranteed.  Therefore, hospital-based, independent, or national networks of support groups led by mental health providers are perhaps the safest bet. Plus, most times, group sessions are low-cost or no-cost.

Been there, done that.

We learn from one another’s experiences. Listening to how someone handled a similar problem and/or situation can offer insight into our own state of affairs. Oftentimes, in support groups, the learning comes from modeling oneself after other group members. Talking with others going through a similar situation, in fact, can make tough times easier to endure. Offering support and encouragement can be just as beneficial as receiving it.

Sharing your burden can help lighten your load.

Communicating problems is perhaps the most effective way in discovering healthy solutions. A network of understanding can offer a more positive outlook on a current situation. Most people feel better and their problems don’t seem quite as large once they’ve talked it out.

Now let’s be clear, let it out and then let it go. Try not to focus on the negative. Do not let your emotions eat you up by keeping them tucked away; that which you resist, persists. Try communicating in a constructive and healthy way. Positive communication helps one to keep calm, control stress, and carry on.

Communication is the key to growth and change. So, go ahead and gab away. Discover the power of support . . . you won’t be alone.

Cited Sources

Herkov, Michael, Dr. "About Group Therapy Psych Central." Psych Central.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2012. <http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/about-group-therapy/>.

"Support Groups." Cancer.org. N.p., 01 Nov. 2008. Web. 10 Aug. 2012. <http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/MindBodyandSpirit/support-groups-cam>.

"Talking It Out: The Importance of Talking In Helping To Reduce Stress." -- BluePage.org Topic Studio. BluePage.org, 2007. Web. 15 Aug. 2012. <http://www.bluepage.org/reducing-stress/talking-it-out.html>.


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