Why Healthy Relationships Are So Important
Humans are social creatures by nature. The relationships we build with others are vital to our mental, physical, and emotional well-being, and ultimately, our survival. The reason why healthy relationships are so important is because they support us living a healthier life overall. Remember, a relationship doesn’t mean there has to be romantic feelings. Friendships, familial relationships, and romantic relationships all count! Now, what makes a relationship healthy? In healthy relationships, people tend to listen to each other, communicate openly without judgment, consistently make time for each other, remember details about each other’s lives, engage in healthy activities together, and trust and respect each other. Below, we will touch further on the benefits healthy relationships can have on your overall wellness and how to improve and maintain your relationships.
Wellness and Mental Health Benefits
Many studies have concluded that people with strong, supportive relationships live healthier, longer lives. Mentally, healthy relationships can reduce the risk of depression and/or anxiety. Furthermore, those with strong relationships are less likely to develop dementia and mental decline as they age. Conversations with loved ones who take the time to actively listen can reduce stress and help you process your emotions in an effective, healthy way. Less stress in your life is beneficial to both your mental and physical health.
Your close relationships may also encourage you to practice positive health behaviors like maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, checking in with your doctor frequently, and finding the right work-life balance. Ultimately, when you have people you care about in your life, you are more likely to take care of yourself. Most importantly, healthy relationships help people feel like they have a purpose and place of belonging. It can be easy to feel lost in life, but a strong support group can help to remind you, you have meaning! If you are on a wellness journey, it is important to prioritize your relationships with others and focus on how you can improve the relationships in your life.
Improve and Maintain Social Connections
Healthy relationships don’t just happen. They may require work and maintenance. However, the foundation of a healthy relationship is generally already there and obvious to see. Both people within a healthy relationship are willing to put in the time to maintain or improve the connection. Unhealthy relationships can contribute to high stress levels and can actually trigger mental illness. Thus, it is important to spend your time fostering relationships with people who encourage healthy habits and provide emotional support. Being able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships is a great first step. If any of your relationships include physical, verbal, or emotional abuse, often leaving you feeling unhappy, these relationships are more harmful to your well-being than beneficial.
To maintain your healthy relationships, you must be willing to give time. Setting aside time for your friends, family, and/or significant other shows them that you value the relationship. During your time together, you should be present. Disconnect from work and your phone so you can give your undivided attention to your loved ones. As we mentioned earlier, actively listening to your loved ones is a key aspect of a healthy relationship. Actively listen to what others say, be attentive to their needs and wants, and avoid judging. Instead, provide unconditional support and love. Listening should not be a one-way street though. You should also feel like you have someone who listens to you. Share your feelings, be honest about what you need, and welcome support from others.
How Therapy Can Help
If you want more guidance on how to maintain or improve the relationships in your life, therapy is a great option. Working to become the best possible version of yourself will only have a positive effect on your relationship to others. Also, therapy can equip you with the skills to better manage disagreements and hardships within your relationships so you can come out even stronger in the end. Chriselda Santos, licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, understands the importance of maintaining healthy relationships. If you are interested in learning more about Chriselda’s approach to therapy, or you want to book an appointment, visit her website.