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How to Build Better Relationships for Mental Health, Happiness

Your relationships with others can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

Whether it’s friends and family, romantic partners or work and school life, the quality of your close relationships can affect your long-term health.

Research shows that people with positive relationships are more socially connected and tend to be happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.

In fact, a Harvard University study found that happiness and good health come from good relationships.

Healthy relationships can not only add years to your life but also provide a greater sense of purpose.

However, in the same way that relationships affect your mental wellbeing, mental distress can also affect your relationships. For example, if you struggle with anxiety, depression or mood swings you may have less energy for, or interest in, loved ones.

Sometimes people experiencing mental health challenges can feel negatively about themselves, and act against feelings of closeness and connection.

Finding ways to improve relationships is integral to your mental health and overall wellbeing.

Good mental health is linked to having a supportive network that you relax and have fun with, as well as call on in difficult times.

Ways to Connect and Build Better Relationships

Good relationships are fundamental to wellbeing. Being part of a community can help you feel connected, supported and provides a sense of belonging.

Here are some ways to build and maintain social relationships for your mental wellbeing and happiness.

Ways to Connect

  • Be more socially active and spend less time in front of the TV or computer screen.
  • Consider volunteering, which lets you help others, can boost your self-esteem, and is a great way to meet new people.
  • Take a class or join a club to meet people with common interests, such as a book group, dinner club, or sports team.
  • Work on your communication skills
    • Actively listen to hear what other people have to say
    • Give people time and pay attention when you are with them
    • Ask questions

Building Work Relationships

Good working relationships will make your job more enjoyable and result in a more productive environment. Your professional connections can also help further your career. Here’s how to build better work relationships.

  • Develop your people skills or the ways in which you collaborate, communicate and deal with conflict.
  • Learn about Emotional Intelligence (EQ). EQ is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
  • Be mindful by paying attention to your environment and those around you. By remaining present, you can make a consistent and regular impact on the people around you, which can be a powerful tool for building good workplace relationships.
  • Schedule time to build relationships. Consider scheduling time during lunch to have a conversation with someone new or someone you would like to develop a stronger connection with.
  • Appreciate others
  • Focus on being positive and avoid office gossip. If you’re experiencing conflict with someone in your group, talk to them directly about the problem.

Romantic Relationships

All couples experience problems and challenges in their relationships but there are many things you can do to help build a healthy and happy relationship.

  • Talk to each other and communicate your needs – don’t wait for your partner to try to guess what is going on with you.
  • Spend time together – make your relationship a priority and make time for each other
  • Work on feeling good about yourself – this will help the way you feel about your relationship.
  • Accept and value differences in others, including your partner.
  • Be sexually considerate – be affectionate. Accept that individuals have different sex drives and sustaining a healthy and happy sex life requires negotiation.
  • Be flexible – let your relationship grow and adapt as you both change.

Family Relationships

Positive family relationships help families resolve conflict, work as a team and enjoy each other’s company.

Good family relationships are built by spending quality time together, communication and appreciation for each other. Here’s how to build a strong family relationship.

  • Use time together, such as mealtimes, to talk and share a laugh.
  • Have one-on-one chats with each family member to build and strengthen individual relationships.
  • Do fun things together as a family on a regular basis.
  • Make decisions together about what to do for special events such as birthdays.
  • Take an interest in each other’s lives.
  • Include everyone in a conversation when talking about the day’s events.
  • Support each other in important events such as sports days and school concerts.

Consider Relationship Counselling

If you have difficulty building and maintaining positive relationships, consider speaking to a mental health professional.

Relationship counselling can help improve the way you relate to those around you and allow you to break free from old patterns of behaviour.

Our psychologists provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment to help you identify issues in your relationships and find a way to manage or resolve them.

Book an appointment or find out more, contact Psychological Health Care today.