Have a ride to the airport for an early flight?

A few years ago on my way to the airport I was explaining to my friend, who kindly gave me a ride – how getting a ride to the airport was a good indicator of the social support network one had. Indeed, it is one of the items in a social support scale. In the next few entries that’s what I will focus on – social network.

Why talk about social support? Need to belong is one of the two fundamental psychological needs humans have – the other one is autonomy. There are numerous studies that show how having a social network predicts overall wellness – physical as well as psychological.  Social support acts as a buffer against stress, boosts your immune system, bolsters your self-esteem. People who have strong social ties are less likely to suffer heart attacks; they recover faster from surgeries or strokes; and they are less likely to be overwhelmed by stressors…  Believe it or not it even makes you live longer!

Living abroad, I came to appreciate the importance of social support even more. Each time I moved to a new city, without exception, the most important thing that anchored me was the support of my family and friends. My perception of the challenges of relocating is tremendously impacted by the social network I have.  First of all I receive emotional support – having people who listen to your worries, fears, and reassure you that all will be Okay is priceless.  Then, there is the informational support – advice and suggestions about the many challenges of relocation from renting an apartment to finding a family doctor. And it doesn’t end there! People in a social network also offer tangible assistance – helping with packing, selling or storing things, or giving a ride to the airport!

I experienced the support of my social network first hand again last week, when I launched the SetSail Coaching website.  Family and friends from all over the world kindly offered their support with emails, calls, referrals, or by joining to the Facebook group of the company – boosting my motivation and confidence further.

Of course, like with many other things, it is not the quantity but the quality that matters when it comes to social support. According to research three seems to be the critical number here – if you have three people in your life that you can count on, you are pretty much on the safe side.

How about you? How strong is your social support?

  • Is there someone who takes pride in your accomplishments?
  • Do you feel there is someone with whom you can share your worries and fears?
  • Would you have a hard time finding someone to go with you to a day trip?
  • Do you meet or talk with your family and friends often?
  • Do most people you know think highly of you?
  • And, if you needed an early-morning ride to the airport, is there someone you could comfortably ask?

So… Are you satisfied with the supports you have in your life? If your answer is anything less than “Definitely!” well, what are you going to do about it? 

This entry was posted in coaching, expatriates, internationals, relocation, social support. Bookmark the permalink.

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