Integrative Nutrition Blog

The Importance of Having a Support Network

October 25, 2013

Whenever you undertake something new in your life – whether it’s weight loss, a career change, a big move, or anything else that takes you out of your comfort zone and is intended to change your life for the better – it’s important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people throughout the process.

You may have heard the saying, “You’re the average of the five people you hang out with most.” Research shows that your environment can have a profound effect on you and having a strong support network in place can actually make you more likely to achieve your goals since it influences your thinking and self-esteem.

So how do you find these positive, supportive people? Some may be right in front of you and others you may need to seek out.

1. Start with who you know – your own friends and family. Identify who among them are most likely to be supportive. You’ll know from past experience. Nurture those relationships and strengthen the bond by choosing to spend more time with those people. Lean on them during difficult times and celebrate successes with them.

2. Spend time where happy, positive people hang out. Seek out yoga studios, networking groups, or motivational speakers who challenge you to be at your best. Not only will the energy uplift you, but you’re likely to meet others who are there to find inspiration and meet other happy, positive people.

3. Do what you love. When you cultivate hobbies, inevitably you’ll meet others with similar interests. You’ll be able to bond over your shared love of pottery or Zumba, for instance. As an added bonus, the more time you spend doing activities you enjoy with others who feel the same way, the more fulfillment you’ll get from your life overall.

People will naturally come in and out of your life. Use your intuition to know which ones to keep around and which ones to let go. If the conversation doesn’t flow easily or something feels off, it’s ok to not pursue the relationship. If someone leaves you feeling drained or bad about yourself, it’s ok to let the relationship fade away. People grow and change and you may find that some relationships may no longer serve you. Releasing negativity from your life opens space to let the new and good flow in.

Marissa Vicario, IIN Class of 2009, is founder of Marissa's Well-being and Health, a health coaching practice that empowers women to kiss their unhealthy habits goodbye and transform their relationship with food. She enjoys running, training for triathlons, yoga, cooking, green juice, photography and traveling. You can connect with her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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