There are times in life when you may need support, not really from families and friends but among people that share the same fate with you.
And this has been the reason behind having “support groups”. It creates a platform that readily provides individuals with like-minds, and offers the attention and support they need at the moment to keep going.
Understanding support group
Support groups are mainly for the sole aim of bringing people who have/ or still going through the same experiences together. The aim is to share their fears, challenges and know how they can manage and overcome it.
Today, there are many support groups created eventually for all topics, ranging from academic issues to health and lifestyle. Some of them are medical support groups, mental health support groups, family support groups, children and adult support groups, addiction support groups, community support groups, etc.
Most importantly, the groups provide their members with just not practical support but also emotional support. It can be led by a professional who offers medical advice, self-care and possible treatments.
Support groups can be online or offline but whichever way, their aim, and objectives are always the same.
While the online support group can provide you with easy access to information, experiences and more, offline support groups provide you with the opportunity of meeting one on one.
In this case, you meet physically where you can ask questions and get firsthand answers and information.
There are many benefits of belonging to a support group. It serves as one of the ways to stay positive, regardless of what you are passing through.
Here are ways support groups can help you stay positive
- Feel less lonely
When faced with challenging situations, loneliness gradually sets in. Even when you are surrounded by your families, friends or loved ones, it seems negligible.
This is because no one around you may understand what exactly you are passing through. No one shares experiences with you which could motivate you to keep going. So, irrespective of their care and support, you still feel alone.
And that is one of the things a support group tends to eliminate. You probably won’t feel as if you are facing such situations alone, where there are people around you that have experienced or are passing through the same thing as you.
It gives you the feeling of having people with the same purpose around you, thereby, creating a sense of belonging and make you feel less lonely.
- Express your feelings
One of the things that contribute to weighing you down when you are faced with challenges, includes not knowing how to express your burden.
Be it health issue, career, or lifestyle problem, but you can’t express it because you feel those around may not understand, there will be no solution.
Support groups will provide you with the tool to let out all the feelings within you, both the positive and negative ones.
And not just expressing how you feel but doing so with all honesty and openness. There is no way to get assistance if you are not honest with yourself.
Again, if you hold back information that could have been useful for your wellbeing, there is absolutely no way to help.
When you do so, you feel more relaxed and less burden, knowing that those around you understand how you feel.
- It keeps you motivated
Sometimes, what you need might be the motivation to move on. Someone that can keep you believing that tomorrow holds a brighter future you.
Motivation helps, such as, in the case of someone who has a chronic illness, motivation helps in the management and treatments of such conditions.
Staying motivated gives you a reason to live, achieve and become better.
Support groups keep their members motivated as a constant reminder. No matter what kind of health challenges that they might be passing through, that they are going to be better and live better if only they choose to.
- Gives you a sense of belonging
When faced with some life challenging situations such as mental health conditions, having a feeling of belonging somewhere can help you cope with the struggles.
Support groups give you the attention that you seek, making you have the feeling that you matter to them.
- Improves your understanding
There are some situations you may not fully understand, no matter how it was explained to you, you still seem to have questions like how and why.
Online search engines may not have helped, interactions with your doctor too may not fully help, but a platform like a support group will let you understand whatever things that need understanding.
Irrespective of how uncommon or severe such health conditions might be, support groups will help you understand better ways to manage it.
Because, in most cases, if you do not understand what you are passing through, you may never understand why you are being treated or handled that way.
It also provides a platform to ask questions and get your answers from professionals or through members’ shared experiences.
In addition, they provide an enabling environment for feedback on treatment options, also an insight into each treatment and what to expect.
- Gives you room for acceptability
It may not be easy living with a disability or a health condition that may make life challenging for you.
Those situations allow your negative emotions to overcome you. A feeling of regret, disappointment, sadness and so on, over what you’ve lost rather than accepting your current situation still tickles.
Living in such conditions may not be easier but accepting your ‘new you’ and understanding that there are people who have gone down the same lane just like you, can give you the strength to thrive.
Support groups give you that opportunity of knowing that accepting yourself amidst your disability and limitations is one of the things that can make you go forward.
And not only that, it will make you find new goals and opportunities, as well as made adequate changes to suit your current situation.
- Improves depression
Depression sets in when one is in distress. Those living with mental conditions or other health conditions may feel rejected and isolated.
But with the help of support groups, you will no longer feel lonely. Again, with their sensitization, seminars, and teachings you can be able to battle depression.
- Gives you a reason to help
Being in a support group helps you as well as other members to feel relaxed, less depressed, motivated and improve on your self-esteem.
Over time, you will feel belonged and transformed into a better person, with the information and experience that you might have gained.
And this will make you stay positive, irrespective of all negative influences, and also make you develop a helping spirit towards those who go through the same thing as you do, helping them just as you been helped.
How you can search for a support group;
- Search online on Facebook or other platforms as there are many support groups available online.
- Ask your doctor as he/she can recommend a nice support group around.
- Go to therapy centers within your locality, for their available group sessions.
- Search for professional organizations that deal with your kind of challenges.
There have been some opposite experiences shared by people, that support groups could cause more harm than good.
As the experiences of the members might be negative which gives other members no hope of becoming better or any sort of motivation to keep moving.
This case majorly arises within people that have mental issues, as most have complained of increasing anxiety when the opposite should be the case.
It is advised that people with such experience can try out another support group. Again, if he or she is still not getting any better or positive results should see a doctor for possible therapy and self-care.
There are some challenging life situations that can make you lonely, depressed and afraid of not knowing what the future brings, but belonging to a support group can make you feel better and comfortable.
No matter what challenges you may have, the support you get from these groups will make you feel positive every day. However, it doesn’t have to replace an appointment with your doctor for proper management and evaluation.
And remember that having a support group makes your health challenges, lifestyle, career, etc., easy but the journey even becomes easier when the first support comes from you.