Michael Keogh   Feb 9, 2023   -   min read

Having a strong support system can make all the difference when it comes to your health and wellbeing. From offering encouragement and motivation to providing a sounding board and accountability, social support can play a key role in helping you reach your goals and maintain good health in the long run. Read on to explore the various types of social support and how they can impact your health and wellness.

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How social support impacts your wellbeing

Social support plays a crucial role in your overall wellbeing, influencing your mental and physical health in many ways. Here are the top benefits of having a supportive social network.

Encouragement and motivation

One of the most important benefits of social support is the encouragement and motivation it provides. Too often people try to take on their goals alone, but this only hurts their progress or success. Instead, having a supportive network can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals, even when the going gets tough!


Social support can also provide accountability, helping you stay on track as you work towards your goals. Whether it is a support group, a workout partner, or a health coach, having someone to answer to can give you the extra push we need to make healthy choices and maintain good habits. The key is to find the accountability system that works for YOU, so if you don't have success at first, just keep trying until you find the match for you.

A sounding board

Social support can also provide you with a sounding board, allowing you to talk through your thoughts and feelings, which often leads to appropriate advice and guidance. Not only this, having someone to talk to can help you manage stress, cope with challenges, and maintain good mental health. So whether it's a friend, family member, or professional, ensuring you have great social support can be the difference between ok, good, and great wellbeing!

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Different types of social support

Social support comes in many different forms with each type being important in it's own way. When combined, these different types of support play a crucial role in improving and maintaining your wellbeing.

Emotional support

Emotional support involves having people in our lives who we can rely on for comfort, understanding, and feeling heard. Not having this support typically leads to mental health problems, social withdrawl, and compromised physical health. This is why building social support is essential for ongoing wellbeing.

Informational support

Informational support involves receiving education, advice and guidance to help you make decisions or create a plan of action. This type of support can be particularly valuable when you are trying to make changes in your life and you don't know the steps to take that will move your forward.

Practical support

Practical support involves receiving practical assistance, such as help with errands or tasks around the house. This support is essential when there is an emergency you're dealing with in life, and can be particularly important for people who are managing a chronic illness or disability and may need extra help with daily activities.

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How to build a supportive network

There are many ways to build a strong social network. Whether it's meaningful connections with loved ones, belonging to a community, or working with trained professionals, they each have their own benefits.

Reach out to friends and family

The first step in cultivating a supportive network is to reach out to the people who love you the most. For many of us this is our family, but not all families are as supportive as ideal. In this case, your friends are the family you choose! To connect meaningfully with these groups, support them as you want to be supported yourself. Call them, be vulnerable with them, and help them to achieve their goals in life.

Join a support group

Joining a support group can also be a great way to connect with other like minded people, and receive (and give) support. Whether the group has a specific focus (ie supporting those with a chronic illness) or a more social outlook, support groups can provide a sense of community and understanding.

Seek professional support

Seeking professional support is a powerful tool for improving and maintaining your wellbeing. Having the right professionals in your social support ensures that you take the most direct road to achieving your wellbeing goals. This can include working with a therapist, health coach, or doctor.

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It's now up to you!

You can see that having a strong social support network is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. It provides encouragement, motivation, and accountability, and can be a sounding board, helping you to work through decisions and plans. The support takes a few different forms, such as emotional, informational, and practical support. 

Build on what you have today, by reaching out to loved ones, joining a support group, and seeking professional support. And remember, that by investing in social support, you are investing in your current and future wellbeing, and ongoing success.

Want some help using this information to improve your health and life?

About the Author

Michael Keogh is an Exercise Physiologist and Health Coach with 8 years experience in clinical and corporate settings. He is also the co-author of upcoming book “Thrive: How to 10X your Health, Wealth and Happiness”.

He uses exercise as medicine to treat chronic disease and ensure healthy ageing, whilst guiding his clients towards sustainable health behaviours that result in improved performance and greater satisfaction in work and life.

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