What’s a support network? It’s any group of people who catch you when you fall; who provide love, affection, and laughter; who help you perform better at your job; or who simply are your go-to friends.

Best of all, having a robust support network eases stress, which is ultimately good for your brain.

Today we’d like you to make a mental list: who is in your support network? Which person would you call in case of emergency? Who is the person who makes you laugh the most? Who provides empathy and care? Who’d bring you chicken soup if you were sick (and vice versa).

Take stock of your support network. If you have a good one already, great. If you don’t have a good support network, this week we’d like you to figure out how to grow and improve your social safety net.

Some tips:

  1. Cast a wide net, think outside the box in terms of friend-making.

  2. Ask for help: you’ll be surprised how many people want to help.

  3. Be proactive. If no one is calling you, you call them.

  4. Use social media and technology wisely, knowing that a little goes a long way.

  5. Follow your gut and your interests: what do you like to do? Do you know someone who shares your love of that activity?

  6. Seek out peer support, especially in trying situations such as a relative with cancer or the death of a spouse or a loved one with alcoholism: there are support groups for everything these days, all just a click away.

  7. Get over your shyness and improve your social skills. Asking questions always gets the conversational ball-rolling. Pretend you’re a journalist. People love to talk about themselves.