Relationships with friends, family members, and significant others can have a major impact on our health and well-being. It is not always easy to build and maintain these relationships. With busy schedules and stress from work and home life, many of us find our relationships taking a back seat to other priorities. However, by cultivating healthy, positive relationships with those around us, we are able to build a strong network of people that will celebrate with us during good times and support us through hard times.

According to Harvard Health, individuals who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community have fewer health problems and live longer, happier lives. A strong social network also reduces your stress levels and risk for depression. People who feel as though they have a strong social support system have fewer cardiovascular problems, fewer immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol – a hormone linked to stress levels.

With relationships, quality trumps quantity. It is important to openly communicate with those who are close to you. Offer them support when they are struggling, and don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it. Even when schedules get busy, be sure to take the time to check in with those you care about. Healthy relationships take work, but the positive benefits are worth the investment. Check out the box to the right for more information on the positive benefits of strong relationships.

Benefits of Healthy Relationships:

  • Increased sense of belonging and purpose
  • Higher happiness levels and reduced stress levels
  • Improved self-confidence and self-worth
  • Added support system to cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or death of a loved one
  • Encourage you to maintain healthy lifestyle habits.

Sources: MayoClinic, WebMD, CDC. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.