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Why Support Groups Are Beneficial

Nobody enjoys catfights or the occasional drama. We either resolve to stay friends or choose to keep out of each other’s way and most times due to conflict. Still, no relationship strives without conflict because it eventually proves that nobody is perfect. Though one may attempt to disassociate from individuals he or she once shared common interests with, truth be told, no man is an island. More so, we’re able to handle difficult situations when in the company of those who may have experienced similar circumstances and are willing to stick it out with us.

Yet, finding and flourishing in the right company can be tricky. Sometimes, it depends on what we’re happy to share and whether we’re ready to respect other people’s opinions. However, this notion isn’t based on a biased point of view but highlights the advantages of being part of a support group. A circle of individuals who aren’t ashamed to admit common mistakes but rather, know that their ideas, goals or interests could inspire others to maximise their potential. Do such groups exist? Yes, they’re called support groups.

So what is a support group?

From a medical point of view, support groups are a gathering of people who share common health interests or disorders. They tend to focus on specific conditions such as depression, anxiety, breast cancer, bereavement, etc. and in some cases, led by professional facilitators such as social workers, nurses, etc. This is a typical and formal kind of support group. They don’t replace the expertise of a medical practitioner but create a safe environment for people to discuss their concerns freely and receive advice.

Nevertheless, I’m referring to a different type of group where women, men or both, celebrate, motivate and support each other. There’s no leader or expert, but persons from seemingly diverse backgrounds.

Having moved to a foreign country, I was quite reluctant to join one because I was only acquainted with one or two members and felt others might treat my concern with disdain. Surprisingly, it turned out to be a venue for profound conversation with rewards like business ideas, casual childcare, relevant information, prayer chains and social activities emerging.

Hence, 5 reasons why support groups are beneficial.

1. Networking
Some groups are built and coordinated via social media platforms e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook, Meetup etc and proven to initiate successful channels for networking. Members chat, exchange concepts, advertise products, provide professional tips, propose and follow through with charity projects etc. There’s always something positive to talk over, or hilarious to banter about.

2. Prayer Chain
For me, this is one of the best features. Members take on monthly prayer chains and encourage others with kind words and gestures. This strengthens the bond and makes each person feel loved and appreciated.

3. Companionship
One of the biggest benefits is the individual knowing he or she is not alone. From most discussions, you might realise your situation isn’t that different from others. Whether it’s a personal or work related issue, members share their experience which could be uplifting.

4. New Skills
Being in a support group could also help identify and develop new skills. You might not think much of what you’re unknowingly good at, but others could see the potential and provide ideas on how the ability could put to good use.

5. Social Activity
Naturally, it’s not always work and no play, as everyone needs to relax and unwind from time to time. So whether it’s a girls night out, class reunion or the unfortunate demise of a loved one, spending quality time with people who care or appreciate us is refreshing.

Thus, it’s okay to be wary about meeting new faces or reuniting with old pals because you wouldn’t want to give too much away. Even so, when you are asked to join a group; wisdom, maturity and somehow instincts may make it easier to decide whether to opt in or out.

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Ngozika Oguekwe

Ngozika is an ardent writer with a knack for composing heartfelt articles. A master's degree holder in Housing Management and Policy from the University of Greenwich, England. But above all, a joyful wife and miraculously, sane mother of two brilliant boys. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @obi77ng

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