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The Importance Of Taking In Social Support

August 1, 2019

Although I have technically celebrated the anniversary of the launch of Peak Mental Performance Coaching, the anniversary of the combination of the sport / educational side with the clinical psychology side of the practice under one roof is tomorrow. Thinking about this has made me think about all the people who have been supportive in making this process a success and I could not have done it with that them. Obviously family is first and foremost in my mind, but the support does not stop there. I could not be where I am today without former teachers, coworkers, my current suite mates, friends, my referral sources and connections, random insurance agents, and even my clients. Each has taught me something and helped me move forward, grow my own confidence, and contribute to my success. That is why I am always willing to pay the lessons I have learned forward to others looking to grow in the field, and always looking to add my list of collaboration. 

 

Given all this support and positivity it has played in my life, it is apparent we cannot as people be successful without it, but yet whether it is sports, school, or general mental health so many people continue to push the support away, feeling guilty that they just cannot do it all themselves. But why does this happen? Why do many people at their own detriment push away the support they have in life that can lead to success?

 

For athletes, many will take in guidance from their coaches or parents, but at times either think they know better than those people, and are not willing to listen or learn. For injured athletes, despite research showing how imperative social support is to recovery, many do not communicate closely with their doctors or trainers, not asking questions about their treatment or what is going on with their own body. Sometimes others suddenly find themselves alone, as they miss out on social opportunities with teammates or disconnect from those around them not wanting to be a burden. Finally, many struggle to relate to teammates just in terms of play, more focused just on their own performance, or blaming others on the team when things do not go well. Ego gets in the way for these people.

 

As for students, it is so common for many to just negative with their academic challenges, shutting down, quitting, rather than seeking out others who might know a different approach that could lead to success. I spend hours each week with clients with various learning challenges, who say they would use the help as long as no one knows about it. I'm not exactly sure how that works. Many of these same students blame others when things get hard, versus looking at own responsibility. Many students look at teachers as the enemy (as do some parents), but they are not. Yes it is important to push them to do their work also, but finding a collaborative process is essential for success. 

 

Finally, what about general mental health? Many people with anxiety avoid new experiences and new people as their anxiety holds them back. People who are depressed retreat and withdraw into themselves, pushing away anyone who may hold contradicting views of they are as a person. Parents do not always use support of others due to fear of judgement in their parenting skills. Kids with behavior disruption or social skills deficits avoid others as well simply as an unhealthy coping skill to deal with these deficits or associated negative self-esteem. I could keep going, but the reality is by trying to connect with others, we can learn to overcome these deficits. Avoidance as usual stifles personal growth, in turn fueling negativity in a person's mental health, impacting confidence growth.

 

So by looking at all these different areas it is obvious there are numerous reasons why people shy away from using social support. Do not get me wrong. I am a proponent of independence, responsibility, and problem solving on your own for many reasons.  However, whether it is related to sport psychology, school, or general mental health, not reaching out at all does not help either.

 

So now what do should a person do? Here is my advice in no particular order.

 

1. Let go of your ego, as only then you can allow yourself to connect with others and utilize their advice and guidance. They may help you think of something you may never have thought of.

 

2. Be active in seeking out people who may have expertise that can help. Ask questions of your doctors, trainers, teachers, etc of why they have you do what they say or what is going on. Without the knowledge and understanding of their motives and the why, how can you apply the guidance.

 

3. Advocate for yourself. Yes it is hard to reach out to others and ask for help, but only you know what you need in order to be successful. 

 

4. Be okay with learning. Everything is a learning process so approach it that way. You do not need to know all the answers, and having a learning mindset helps with confidence building. 

 

5. Learn general communication and social skills. Too many people struggle with the social skills to simply talk to people. (Maybe putting the phone or video games down may help with this.)

 

6. Be okay with a different of opinions. We are so concerned with being judged or that there is a ''right'' or ''moral'' thing to think that we do not actively listen to differences in opinion.

 

7. With that -  stopped being judgmental of others get off your moral high horse, a different opinion does not mean one is morally right. Society in general could learn a lot from that one. 

 

8. Seek out active social time. Make time with your friends or family. Go places, do things that will take your mind away from the stressors. Being with people is a GREAT stress management tool.

 

9. Social support helps everyone succeed whether it is a team, friends, or even a family. Everyone is more likely to succeed when people work together.

 

10. Finally, it is simple fun. Yes there is research about social support and impact on hormones and neuroreceptors, but when it comes down it. Socializing is just plain FUN. Why would you not want this - Isn't this one of the most important goals of life?

 

Anyhow these are just a few thoughts on the Importance of Taking In Social Support. I'm sure I missed a few or will be able to come up with others in time as well. In the mean time, go be with someone, learn something, and have Fun. 

 

As always - Confidence In Performance, Confidence For Life.

 

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