By Eleanor Beeslaar
Healthy relationships contribute to positive mental and physical health! Meaningful and satisfying relationships with our loved ones increase our happiness, lead to fewer health issues, and are linked to a longer life expectancy (Harvard Health Publishing, 2010). Our relationships with our friends and family provide a valuable support network to lean on during hardships. Having a strong support network can provide relief during challenges and help reduce feelings of stress and helplessness, which can improve our mental and physical health outcomes during difficulties (Johnson, 2011). On the other hand, unhealthy relationships or a lack of positive social connections can increase the risk of developing adverse health effects, such as depression (McHenry, 2015).
Because healthy relationships are so essential to our overall health outcomes and life satisfaction, it is critical to treat them with care and make them a priority. We encourage you to resolve to put your relationships first and focus on making them stronger, healthier, and happier!
Here are some things to keep in mind when working towards having healthier relationships:
- Make time for the people who are important to you!
- Show gratitude and kindness.
- Focus on effective communication.
- Practice active listening.
- Use “I statements.”
- Avoid hurtful words or criticism.
- Remind yourself that you deserve kindness and compassion from your loved ones.
Harvard Health Publishing (2010, December). The health benefits of strong relationships. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/the-health-benefits-of-strong-relationships
Johnson, T. D. (2011, March). Healthy relationships lead to better lives. Retrieved from http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/41/2/20.full
McHenry, E. (2015, February 13). How relationships affect health and wellbeing. Retrieved from https://www.healthtalk.umn.edu/2015/02/13/relationships-affect-wellbeing/