Positive relationships are more than the number of friends one can have. It is the quality of your close relationship that matters. Living in conflict or in a toxic relationship is much more damaging to your mental well-being than being alone.
As individuals living in a society, we must prioritise investing in building and maintaining good relationships and tackling the barriers to forming them. Failing to do so is equivalent to turning a blind eye to the impact of smoking and obesity on our health and wellbeing.
There are many benefits of having good close relationships, especially in time of crisis.
- Having close relationships can provide us with a purpose and a sense of belonging.
- Close relationships result in increased happiness and life satisfaction, improved psychological well-being, and reduced risk of suicide and death.
- They also reduce stress levels and modifiable health behaviours such as tobacco and alcohol use as well as improve self-esteem, exercise and diet.
Now the question arises; How are we to maintain such relationships? Few easy tips are as follows:
- Give time; put more time aside to connect with friends and family.
- Be present; it can be tempting to check your phone, Facebook messages or even work emails when with family and friends. Try to be present in the moment and be there for your loved ones, and switch out of work mode whenever possible.
- Listen; actively listen to what others are saying in a non-judgemental way an concentrate on their needs in that moment.
- Be listened to; share how you are feeling, honestly, and allow yourself to be listened to and supported.
- Recognise unhealthy relationship; being around positive people can make us happier. Recognising this can help us move forward and find solutions to issues.
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