The Importance of Relationships
It has been an interesting year to say the least. It seems like every month there has been something new to worry about. Nothing is a constant in our lives right now; it feels like things are changing every day. This can start to take a toll on our mental health. Even though it appears as though nothing is stable right now, relationships are one of the most stable things we can cling to during this time. Having healthy relationships is one of the main coping mechanisms we can use to be happy and healthy during this time of uncertainty and throughout our lives.
Healthy relationships are vital to our mental and emotional wellbeing; they allow us to have an overall better life. There are many benefits of healthy relationships including less stress, quicker healing, healthier behaviors, lower blood pressure, stronger immune system, and a longer life.
Having healthy relationships has been linked to lower production of cortisol, which is a hormone the body produces when it is stressed. So, when we are surrounded with healthy relationships, our body produces less cortisol, therefore we feel less stressed. People with healthy relationships are less responsive to emotional and even physical stress.
Research has shown that people with strong social support recover better from surgeries and injuries. It has been found that married people who undergo heart surgery are three times more likely to survive the first three months post-surgery than those who are single. This suggests that there is power in relationships and healing.
It is always easier to reach a health goal when we have someone doing it with us to encourage and hold us accountable. When we have healthy relationships and someone is there to help us reach our goals, such as healthy diet and exercise, we are much more likely to stick with our goals.
Lower Blood Pressure
There are many reasons why having healthy relationships can lower blood pressure. First, as stated above, the body produces less cortisol when we are surrounded with healthy relationships. High amounts of cortisol cause high blood pressure, so when we have lower amounts of cortisol, our blood pressure automatically goes down. Second, those with healthier relationships tend to feel more relaxed and are more likely to engage in exercise or other heart healthy activities, which also help lower blood pressure.
Stronger Immune System
There are a few reasons that having healthy relationships strengthens the immune system. As stated above, when we are stressed, our body releases the hormone cortisol. If we have cortisol in our bodies for extended periods of time, our immune system gets weaker and we are not able to fight an infection off as well as we normally would. In addition, studies have shown that people who have healthy relationships produce more of a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone makes people happier and less likely to succumb to the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Studies have shown that when people have healthy, positive relationships, they live longer. This can be attributed to many of the factors mentioned above such as reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and healthier behaviors.
With all of these ideas in mind, it is easy to see how relationships can boost our mental and physical health during this time of uncertainty. So, go take some time to strengthen your relationships today!