There has been a lot of research that points to a connection between social support (or lack of) and depression. Having a supportive network can improve well-being and appears to have a protective effect against stress.
The term “social support” can include the following:
* Someone to turn to in tough times – a friend who can listen, offer feedback, or advice.
* A group that shares common interests and concerns
* Day-to-day companionship.

Some ways to ease back into a social network can include joining a book club at the library, finding a support group you can identify with, or taking a community-ed class that interests you. Psychologist Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD, has written a book called The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques. In it she suggests brainstorming ideas with a therapist. Some of these ideas include:

*Practice seeing positives: Depression can color the way you see people around you, and how you interact with them. Consider making a commitment to say 5 nice things a day, and make a compliments chart to keep track.

*Improve your social skills: Remember the basics – smiling, make eye contact, ask how the other person is doing.

*Schedule specific engagements: Make coffee dates with friends, set up regular phone calls with out-of-town family, take your grandkids to the park. Wehrenberg suggests following through even if you don’t feel like it, and don’t leave yourself an out for canceling.

Plugging the gaps in your social network is one piece in dealing with depression. Talking to your doctor about medication and seeing a therapist are also significant components to getting yourself back on track……. Esperanza  July 2013

 

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