By Staff Writer
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How Can a Healthy Relationship Benefit Mental Health?
For a holistic approach to one’s health, both mental and physical wellbeing should be taken good care of. When it comes to mental health, one aspect that can have a huge impact is your relationships. The state of your connections with your family, friends, and co-workers can positively or negatively affect the health of your mind.
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Relationships and Their Connection with Mental Health
Can relationships really affect a person’s mental health? Overwhelming studies have already noted that this is indeed the case. Those who enjoy good relationships with their peers and receive the love and support of the people closest to them live longer and healthier lives.
According to research, those with healthy relationships suffer less anxiety as a whole. And while insecurities may assail them from time to time, the fact that they have people they can open up to and seek support from when needed helps them overcome these challenges. They are also less prone to suffering from depression.
Those who went through the ravages of substance addiction are less likely to relapse as well when buoyed by good relationships. Not only that, the support of a loving family or group of friends can help someone weather through or overcome a period of loss and grief.
Stress Alleviation and Empathy
Good relationships also have the power to help you alleviate stress. In particular, a harmonious connection and intimacy between couples can reduce cortisol levels (stress chemicals in the brain), lessen depression and axiety, boosts sleep quality, and improve brain functions.
If you are on good terms with your family as well or have a few friends you can always hang out with, these people can easily help you relax from the stresses of life. By talking to them about your challenges or any difficulties at work, you can unburden some of the load weighing down your mind. With their support and empathy, you are more likely to find good solutions to your problems.
On the flip side, without the support and empathy from loved ones, a person can feel that they are all alone in the world. The loneliness or the feeling of being trapped by their current problematic situations can lead to a myriad of problems. These can include substance abuse, depression, disassociation, self harm, and more.
Clearly, the value of relationships on mental health cannot be underestimated.
Happiness, Purpose, and Meaning in Life
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Strong relationships can make people happy and avoid the ill effects of loneliness.
On top of that, having a supportive circle of people can help someone achieve a sense of belongingness and purpose in life. This can also boost self-esteem and foster that beneficial feeling of security and trust.
Without that sense of having meaning in life and without that anchor of healthy relationships, one can feel isolation and oppressive solitude. Even if someone is often surrounded by people, if the connections are not healthy, this can still lead to the feeling of being an outsider. Conversations will just be superficial and one’s life can feel unfulfilling.
All of these can directly impact a person’s mental state and even their physical health. A lonely life can lead to a weak immune system, inability to rest properly, and poor eating habits. Beyond that, the lack of happiness and purpose can result in someone feeling totally disconnected that they think it would be better if they are not part of this world anymore.
That is why it is important to nurture great relationships as a way of taking care of one’s mental and even physical health. Having a few people around you who you can talk to no matter what, friends you can trust, a partner who will support you during difficult moments, or family members who will give you that sense of fitting in – all these can go a long way towards a healthier mind!
What Can Be Considered a Healthy Relationship
To make sure that your relationships will have a positive impact on your health, it is important to assess if your connections are indeed strong and beneficial to your wellbeing. So, what exactly are the characteristics of a healthy relationship?
- There is respect between the parties involved and they treat each other kindly
- The feeling of valuing the relationship and protecting it is mutual
- The people involved listen to each other and are able to consider each other’s different perspectives
- The sharing of thoughts and feelings is done openly
- There is no feeling of being used
- Disagreements and arguments do not result in violence or threats
- Emotional, verbal, or physical abuse is never part of the equation
Carefully think about these things and see if there are any relationships in your life that do not meet these requirements. If there are any, it is highly recommended to resolve any bad relations quickly so they do not drag your mental health down.
Make an effort to nurture positive relationships as well. The connections you form with the people around you will have a big impact on your mental state. It is only right that you take good care of your mind’s wellbeing by fostering happy and fulfilling relationships.