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Building Healthy Relationships Can Increase Mental Health Wellbeing

The benefits of having healthy social connections are linked to better mental health, lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trusting and cooperative relationships with others.

As humans, we are social beings that depend on each other to survive throughout our entire lives. Balancing work, family, friends, and many other obligations can feel daunting at times. By building healthy, supportive relationships we can increase our mental health, handle stress more effectively, recover from setbacks faster, improve our sleep, and heal quicker physically.

Anxiety and depression symptoms are often caused by a lack of boundaries and poor interpersonal relationship skills,”. “Therefore, it is of utmost importance to develop skills that will help us to have a voice in our relationships that promote interdependency; being able to meet and voice our own needs appropriately.”

Relationships play a significant role in our mental health journey. Research studies suggest that people with strong, supportive relationships tend to live longer, healthier lives, have lower blood pressure, are less likely to experience a relapse in depression, and have less anxiety. Relationships extend beyond romantic partnerships

According to the Mental Health Foundation, a relationship is “how two or more people are connected or the state of being connected.” A major driving force behind our desire to seek out connections involves our need to belong. Research demonstrates that married couples and individuals who live together have the most powerful health benefits. Being a part of positive relationships can increase happiness and life satisfaction, improve psychological well-being, and reduce the risk of suicide or death.

Building healthy relationships can increase our mental health and well-being by providing a source of companionship, intimacy, and social support, as well as improving our self-esteem, exercise habits, and diet. Healthy social relationships foster mental health in many ways, including:

How to Maintain Healthy Relationships

The quality of our relationships is important for maintaining our mental health and happiness. We’ve put together a list of tips for improving relationship quality and how to maintain healthy relationships:

1. Give It Time

Set aside time for family, friends, and significant others. Recognize that building a healthy relationship takes time. Be patient with the process and you will go far.

2. Be Present

Disconnect from work and social media to devote your attention to the relationship you are trying to build.

3. Listen Actively

Actively listen to what others are saying and be attentive to their needs. Avoid passing judgement and ask direct questions to gain clarity when you do not fully understand.

4. Feel Heard

Reciprocate healthy communication standards by sharing your feelings, being honest, and welcoming support from others.

5. Be Aware of Unhealthy Relationships

Harmful relationships involve physical, verbal, or emotional abuse and can leave you unhappy or at risk for health-damaging behaviours. Be aware of unhealthy relationships and address problems by establishing healthy boundaries for what you will and will not tolerate. If issues cannot be resolved, it may be best to walk away.

Avoid Negative Relationships

Being in a relationship does not automatically produce health benefits. The quality of relationships has a powerful influence on mental health. Negative relationships can often create toxic situations which involve conflict and stress. Stress is a significant factor when it comes to our physical and mental well-being. Not only does stress trigger responses in our nervous system, but it influences our ability to cope with negative life events. Negative relationships often result in sleep loss and an increase in health-damaging behaviours, such as smoking or abusing alcohol. It is important to maintain positive, healthy relationships while avoiding negative relationships in our lives.


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