The term social network refers to the web of social relationships that surround individuals. The provision of social support is one of the important functions of social relationships. Social networking groups offer the basic needs that humans seek: companionship, a sense of belonging, as well as, provide an outlet for gaining new information. Not only will you meet new people, learn something new, but you may also find that in time your health will get better.
When going to any kind of social gathering we anticipate that new relationships may be formed. Many of us thrive on having contact and interaction with others. Social groups are the perfect place to gain support or develop new relationships; after all, social support is the functional content of relationships. It can be categorized into four broad types of supportive behaviors or acts:
- Emotional support involves the provision of empathy, love, trust, and caring.
- Instrumental support involves the provision of tangible aid and services that directly assist a person in need.
- Informational support is the provision of advice, suggestions, and information that a person can use to address problems.
- Appraisal support involves the provision of information that is useful for self-evaluation purposes—in other words, constructive feedback and affirmation.
Whether or not you’re going to a social group for support, you might find it comforting that it’s there if you need it or not. Or perhaps you’ll find that you’re offering someone support. You never know who you’ll meet or how you can impact someone and vice versa.
It’s also pretty much guaranteed that you’ll learn something new. As you communicate and interact with others you’ll gain new ideas or perspectives. Everyone has something different to bring to the table because not everyone’s experiences are the same. It’s nice to be able to go somewhere and exchange information or stories that someone else can potentially benefit from. Human interaction is greatly based on communication and yes, you can read an article online or in a magazine but it’s different when you interact with others face to face.
Positive Effects on Health
Social networks and social support may have positive effects on physical, mental, and social health. By meeting basic human needs for companionship, intimacy, a sense of belonging, and reassurance of one’s worth as a person, supportive groups and interactions may enhance well-being and health. Social networks and social support can increase your pool of new contacts and information thus giving you more outlets to identify and solve problems. If the support provided helps to reduce uncertainty and helps to produce desired outcomes, then a sense of personal control over specific situations and life domains will be enhanced. (GLANZ, 2008) When your mental health changes and you become more confident then you’ll notice your well-being start to improve.
Everything social networking groups have to offer will only benefit you. You’ll gain new contacts, information, and you’ll leave feeling accomplished and satisfied- feelings that will help enhance your health. You won’t have anything to lose; you’ll have much to gain.
The BrightStar Naperville location will host monthly social gatherings, including guest speakers who will discuss various topics related to the healthcare industry. Join us for an evening of networking and learning on the second Monday of the month at 5:00 p.m. in our Naperville office located at 1809 N Mill Street, Suite F.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
GLANZ, KAREN, BARBARA K. RIMER, and K. VISWANATH, eds. HEALTH BEHAVIOR AND HEALTH EDUCATION Theory, Research, and Practice. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. (GLANZ, 2008)