Studio 5 - Weekdays at 11am on KSL 5

How to Use Your Support Systems

Thanks to technology, communicating with others has never been easier - so why are we so lonely?

Dr. Trish Henrie-Barrus breaks down new research that points at a need for support systems, and an understand of how to use them.

Researchers are finding that our fast paced society, lack of connection and need for achievement are creating more loneliness in the world. The opposite of loneliness is belonging. As humans, we have an innate need to belong. To one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world. Belonging has been shown to be fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being.

Abraham Maslow found that we all have needs and the need to belong and have intimate relationships is very basic.

Research has also found that our interests, motivation, health and happiness are inextricably tied to the feeling that we belong to a greater community that may share common interests and aspirations.

Women particularly have this need to belong as we are very relational. We have a need for support systems in our lives.

In times of high stress (divorce, death, financial problems, parenting problems) we may lose our way or competence in handling life. A support system helps us cope and return to our previous level of functioning.

"A sense of belonging," writes Dr.Kenneth Pelletier of the Standford Center for Research and Disesase Prevention, "appears to be a basic human need- as basic as food and shelter. In fact, social support may be one of the critical elements distinguishing those who remain healthy fr0m those who become ill."

· Helps me gain a sense of who I am, especially in times of transition
· Helps build my self-esteem
· Doesn't enable bad behavior but gives good feedback
· Is a resource pool
· Supports me
· Leaves me stronger
· Times of high stress may lose our way or competence in handling life. A support system helps me cope and return to our previous level of functioning
· Helps me develop new skills and reach goals
· Advocates for me


· People with common interests This would include groups to help through the transition such as divorce, grieving, parenting groups. These support systems help us sort out our problems and realize we aren't the only one suffering with this issue.

· Experts These are people who can act as mentors to us. They can challenge our way of thinking and help us see new perspectives and ways of doing things.

· Close friends They usually know us pretty well and are more open. They help strengthen us and are nurturing.

How to Be A Good Support System:

· Don't enable or coddle the person. Be honest and open. Being blunt and challenging bad ideas is good at times.
· Nurture but don't create dependency. Empower the person. Remember you can't force the person to change or be happy. That is their responsibility.
· Believe in the person. Start where they are at.

Dr. Trish Henrie-Barrus teaches Positive Psychology at the University of Utah. She also has a private practice where she specializes in positive psychological techniques to change lives. She can be reached at 801 787- 9855.

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