Improving Mental Health with Healthy Relationships

As social creatures, we depend on contact with others to survive. Our self-awareness drives us to connect with others and form caring relationships. This desire isn’t limited to romantic relationships, but also includes our relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Since we spend the majority of our time around others, its important to maintain positive and healthy relationships. Building these relationships makes us happier, helps our sense of security, provides meaning to our lives and has a positive affect on both our mental and physical health.

Healthy Benefits Relationships have a pivotal role in our mental health, with research showing that there is a strong positive mental health effect for individuals that are married or living together. Being involved in a healthy romantic relationship typically can increase happiness, life satisfaction, psychological well-being and reduce the risk of suicide and death. Additionally, these relationships can also help reduce financial stress and can also influence additional positive changes like diet and smoking/alcohol consumption.

Healthy Traits It’s important that both people trust and respect each other. Also, having open communication helps both people share their thoughts and feelings. Being able to speak openly can make arguments and compromise easier. Another healthy trait is setting boundaries in the relationship. Healthy boundaries include being responsive for both your personal needs and the relationship needs.

Tips for Healthy Relationships Set aside time for those close to you, being present in the moment, not distracted.  Practice mindful communication, listen to what others say and be aware of their needs. Be open and honest about your feelings.  If others offer support, be accepting of it.  Finally, be able to recognize unhealthy relationships, which can include verbal, physical or emotional abuse. Recognizing these problems is very important  to improving physical and mental health.

Connecting During COVID-19 Social distancing doesn’t mean withdrawing from society. Strengthen relationships outside your home by using technology to connect. Spending quality time at home can be as easy as preparing a meal together, taking a walk or playing a game together.  Connecting with friends, family or your spouse doesn’t have to wait until the pandemic is over.

If you find yourself struggling with communication and conflict, consider contacting your EAP. The call is confidential and the help is free. Call your BHS Care Coordinator today, at 800-245-1150, to discuss available options.

BHS is the parent company of Safety First.