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Good Friends Can Improve Your Health, And What You Can Do About It

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We all know intuitively that positive relationships with friends or family can make you happier and healthier. And yes, scientific research shows that it is true, and I wanted to share with you some information about it, because it really is an important topic. I have personally learned a lot from reading up on this. It has been life-changing in several ways, so I wanted to make sure I spend time to share a few interesting insights that will hopefully inspire you to become even better at building friendships!

A review of history (or reality TV) will quickly remind you that one of the biggest problems humans face is our inability to get along with one another. These poor relationships lead to anger, family separation, divorce, fear, violence and even war. So it’s easy to understand how the stress caused by poor relationships can adversely affect your physical and psychological health. Bad relationships can lead to depression, addiction and overeating.

But you probably know people who are in positive relationships. Those are the people who smile, hold hands, genuinely care about others and also take care of themselves. They tend to be happy, healthy and positive in all aspects of life.

Scientific research shows what we intuitively know is true: social support leads to better health

Findings from scientific research show a robust relationship in which social support from friends and family can improve your health and decrease your risk of death (Source: National Institute of Health, Johns Hopkins Medicine).

Positive people who build and maintain positive relationships with their partners, family, friends and coworkers gain important physical and psychological benefits, including:

  • They look and feel better. People in positive relationships have higher self esteem and boost the self esteem of their partners, family and friends. If they do face setbacks or suffer temporary periods of sadness or depression, they can count on the support of others in their relationships to pull them through those tough times.
  • They live longer and healthier lives. People in positive relationships take care of themselves and encourage others to do the same. Positive people have higher self esteem, they eat healthier foods, exercise often and become models of health and fitness. Rarely do you see those in positive relationships smoke, drink to excess or give in to addictions. The results of living a clean life?
  • They are happy, friendly and more open and sociable. People who develop positive relationships with others provide endless fun and laughter. They are genuinely happy and share that happiness with their friends and family, even during the most stressful situations.

Want to improve your relationships?

I have found that the following simple tips can help me become a better friend/partner :

Practice your listening skills. When someone is talking to you, pay attention. Don’t interrupt, be attentive and show them that you want to hear what they have to say. When you give your partner, friends and coworkers your undivided attention you will gain their respect.

Practice communication. Communicating with your partner, family and friends will determine the quality of your relationship. Speak to others the way you would like to be spoken to and maintain eye contact.

Practice positivity. Be positive in every aspect of your life, beyond your relationships. Negativity breeds negativity. If you cannot change (improve) the attitudes of those around you, then you need to change the people around you. Find successful, positive people and model them to create similar positivity and success.

Identify needs. To strengthen any relationship, identify what your partner, family member or coworker needs – and fill that need!

Healthy habits

View our new page on building healthy habits to find out how to make friends, stay fit and eat healthy.

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