Each one of us has a different struggle in this battle against Corona. One amongst them we all share is the long confinement in our house. It all started so suddenly. You get up one morning only to figure out that all the plans, meetings, outings, adventures, summer vacation have come to a halt. This invisible virus has influenced our lives visibly.
The long periods of social distancing has forced us to find a way to set ourselves in a new way of life. Adapting to this situation is difficult of course but our mind plays a role in adjusting in this new situation hence we practise several coping mechanisms.
What is coping?
According to Folkman & Lazarus, coping refers to ‘cognitive and behavioural efforts made to master, tolerate, or reduce external and internal demands and conflicts’
One of these coping strategies we commonly use is social support. Many of you might be catching up with your old buddies and reminiscing about the good old times, at the same time sharing the difficult experience of this isolation with them. Conversations like these make our subconscious mind believe that we are not alone in this.
Much like the support you are using right now from your old buddies, the Nawab of Junagadh was also looking for support when his kingdom was annexed during the partition of India in 1947. The only difference was that he turned to man’s best friend- a dog. While fleeing for his life, he took his dogs with him while forgetting that he also has to flee with his wife. As a result, he left her behind by mistake (or not!). Who said only humans can give us support? Also, who am I to judge?
Studies (Roohafza & Afshar ‘14) have shown that social support plays a significant role in coping. There is substantial evidence about how social support aids in lowering problems related to one’s mental health. It helps us to elevate self- esteem and be better equipped to handle stressful events in life.
Social Support can be categorized as follows-
- Tangible/ Instrumental Support: When you give financial assistance, material goods, or services to the ones in need.
- Emotional Support: When you simply converse with someone and show concern, affection, and empathize with their condition or issues. Emotional support helps one believe that they are valued. For example, when you talk or visit your friend when their pet passes away, you are giving them emotional support.
- Informational Support: Giving guidance, suggestions, or providing useful information to someone.
- Companionship Support: A kind of support that gives someone a sense of social belonging. The involvement and satisfaction that comes with being a part of a social circle gives a sense of belongingness to the individual.
All of us, in one way or other, have experienced at least one of these supports. During these trying times, it is our responsibility to extend the support that we have received to the ones in need. It’s all about give and take
Take it easy,
- Hamid Reza Roohafza, Hamid Afshar, Ammar Hassanzadeh Keshteli, Narges Mohammadi, Awat Feizi, Mahshid Taslimi, and Peyman Adibi – Journal of research in Medical Sciences.(2014 ) – What’s the role of perceived social support and coping styles in depression and anxiety?
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