The Mental Health Essential
Updated: Jul 15
Whether you struggle with anxiety, anger, stress, perfectionism, depression, or anything in between, there is hope. Part of the hope can be found in developing more healthy relationships or transforming current relationships into more healthy and positive ones. This often means fighting the feeling of loneliness and reaching out to those around us. I won’t pretend that it’s easy though because it’s not. In fact, it’s really hard at times. Creating or maintaining healthy relationships in our society today has become more difficult than saying no to Girl Scout cookies. We are constantly being dragged from one thing to the next with little to no time to develop relationships. In order to make relationships work, they need quite a bit of time and effort. In order for them to get time and effort, most of us need to know that they are going to be worth it. Is the time spent investing in relationships able to produce a high return on investment?
Relationships and Your Physical Health
The proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study suggesting the number and quality of social relationships a person has impacts their health just as much as diet and exercise. Having less quality relationships has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and other serious health concerns across different parts of a person’s lifespan. The mortality rate for older adults significantly increases the less a person is socially connected, and the risk for obesity among adolescents significantly increases the less they are socially connected.
The physical response to being less connected to people is burdensome. Not only can it decrease your lifespan, but it can also affect your quality of life.
Relationships and Your Mental Health
Not only is a lack of relationships bad for your physical heath, but loneliness has a negative impact on your mental health as well. Loneliness has been linked to depression and increases a person’s risk of committing suicide. Loneliness can also increase stress and decrease motivation which can make it incredibly difficult to cope with everyday stressors and accomplish tasks.
Living life without meaningful relationships is hard. It becomes more difficult to deal with the hard times and enjoy the good ones.
If there is one thing worth adding to the top of your to-do list, connecting with people should be that thing. Make sure to invest time in people that are important to you and possibly even creating new relationships. If you notice that most of the things you set aside time for throughout the week are tasks related to work or running errands, and you end most weeks feeling stressed out and empty, then commit to taking some time to nurture and build relationships. That could be taking your spouse on a date, or going out with friends. Regardless of how you do it, make an effort to connect. If loneliness is something that you struggle with often and don’t see a way out, then reach out to a professional for help.