Keeping you connected to good health
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What? You, too? I thought I was the only one.'” -C.S. Lewis
Healthy Relationships have both short and long-term effects on health.
Good connections, healthy relationships and social support improve health and increase longevity. Personal relationships, family, social and work connections are all included in the lifestyle medicine pillar of healthy relationships and connectivity. The quality and quantity of social relationships affect health behaviours, physical and mental health and mortality risk. Several studies have demonstrated that social relationships have both short and long-term effects on health. These effects emerge in childhood and cascade throughout life resulting in cumulative advantage or disadvantage in health.
Why are our relationships important for our health?
Many scientists have investigated the factors which account for the health benefits of connecting with each other and healthy relationships. They suggested several complex psychological and physiological mechanisms to explain how social relationships promote health. Social support may have indirect effects on physical health through enhanced mental health, by reducing the impact of stress, fostering a sense of meaning and purpose of life to minimise unpleasant arousal of risky behaviours. Mental health is a key mechanism that works in conjunction with other mechanisms to shape physical health. Research confirms that healthy relationships help to relieve harmful levels of stress, and increase stress-reducing hormones and hormones of happiness.
Loneliness is bad for health
Poor quality and low quantity of social connections are linked to adverse health outcomes and mortality, such as chronic inflammation, an impaired immune system, increased inflammatory markers and other factors. Several recent review articles provide evidence that a low quality of social connections is linked to the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases, recurrent myocardial infarctions, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, slower wound healing, cancer and delayed cancer recovery.
What is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship contributes to a sense of happiness and connection.
Everyone is different and has individual needs around communication, sex, personal space, sense of humour. Shared interests and values can also be completely different. People change through the different stages of their lives, their interest, habits, health and mobility do not stay the same.
Key signs of a flourishing relationship:
Adaptability; a relationship which is able to adapt to different circumstances, through the different phases of life is one of the first hallmarks of a healthy relationship.
Open communication; the ability to discuss any issues which come up, listen without judgment, share problems, resolve conflict by addressing and discussing without judgement while trying to find a compromise or a solution.
Trust; this involves honesty and integrity, going beyond believing that your partner or friend will not cheat or lie to you.
Independence; meaning you rely on each other for mutual support but still maintain your identity as a unique individual.
Curiosity; meaning you are interested in each other’s ideas, thoughts, goals and daily life, you want and enjoy each other growing into the best selves, willing to consider and talk over changes in the relationship structure.
Teamwork; Work together and support each other when needed.