Relationship Wellness

One topic that is often not a highlight of well-being conversations is relationships. Along with your standards of mental health, eating habits, sleep schedule, and more; relationships can also have an impact on your well-being.  

Research has shown that healthy relationships reduce stress and those in healthy relationships have a 50% greater chance of survival (University of Minnesota). The key word is ‘healthy’ relationships. Being in a college atmosphere where your friend and acquaintances rotate semesterly and distance or time constraints put a strain on your relationships, it can be hard to establish healthy relationships that remain consistent.   

Speaking in terms of exclusive relationships, there are negative impacts on your health if the relationship is struggling. Tense relationships negatively impact physical, mental, and sexual health. There is a connection between bad relationships and increased depression and loneliness, if severe, they are strong enough to hurt your immune system.  

If your physical and mental health is poor, it affects your sexual health. Sexual health is not the health of your sexual organs, it is the positive or negative relationship you have with your sexuality and sex life. If you find yourself struggling in a current relationship, or find yourself in that position in the future, remember that your health should be a priority. I tend to give mediocre relationship advice, but I can say that compromise and communication are very important for healthy relationships.  

In the case of friendships and acquaintances, there can be a lesser negative impact and a greater positive impact. Like I said before, having negative relationships and being lonely can be bad for your health. Yet, social relationships tend to have a constant flow which means you are less likely to become lonely. That doesn’t mean exclusive relationships are bad, but don’t slack on your friendships. This social loop can include close friends, co-workers, classmates, and anyone you have the chance to communicate with often.  

If you seem to be lacking connection it's highly recommended to extend those relationships. I know some readers are introverts, but make friends with other introverts so you can have the same benefits of extroverts. For young adults, there is a direct link to inflammation, increased blood pressure, and a higher risk of obesity if you lack social relationships (Better Health).  

There are many studies and resources available proving that healthy relationships lead to a healthier life. Being a part of a social network can increase your longevity and protect your physical health. I shared a few examples, but I am attaching links to the sources used in this article if you want more information. My request for you today; call your mom or grandma, knock on your dorm neighbor’s door, have a conversation with your coworkers, and tell your significant other that you are grateful for them. Treat your social network like a real network: take it seriously.