When it comes to health, both the quality and quantity of our relationships are relevant to the analysis. In one Harvard study of women at midlife, those who reported having highly satisfying marriages had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease than those in less satisfying marriages. Other studies have linked negative interactions with family and friends with poor health. Additionally, having a network of important relationships can also make a positive difference in health and happiness. One recent study even concluded that dementia risk was lower among people with a variety of satisfying relationships.
It’s up to you to make sure you have these strong, lasting relationships. Make time to be with friends and loved ones and work to make those relationships the best they can be by including these components:
- Honesty: One of my favorite Inclusive Health insights is: “The best relationships require HONEST communication.” Strong relationships are built on honesty and trust. You can’t have that if you are trying to be someone you are not.
- Loyalty: Normal friendships become strong relationships as they grow over time.
- Communication: Any relationship can sour with miscommunication. The key is to learn how your partner communicates best and adjust your style of communication to ensure that you are truly speaking their language.
- Flexibility: Life ebbs and flows, as do relationships. Be flexible. Even though you may have a strong relationship, you might go through periods where you don’t talk or see each other as often as you once did. That’s okay. If the relationship is strong, the next time you see each other it will be just like old times.
- Generosity: Take a moment to ask yourself what you do for your loved one or friend that will make their life better?
Building strong relationships takes time and effort, but it can be one of the healthiest things you can do.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement.