Updated August 2020
Over the last several months, many of us have felt isolated from family and friends as we cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and continue social distancing. Having healthy relationships and an overall support system are extremely important to our mental health. Whether you have a special connection to a friend or a sibling bond with a brother or sister, these relationships are all helping your health and well-being. Developing and maintaining healthy relationships with other people has many health benefits!
First and foremost, friends and family help us deal with stress in a more positive way. When we encounter stressful situations, a trusted family member or friend can help not only by listening, but by offering advice or solutions that we may not have considered without their input. These loved ones can also help us weigh the pros and cons when we are facing a difficult decision.
Recovering from Illness
Having a healthy relationship with a friend or family member can also help when we’re recovering from illness. Studies have shown that emotional support after an operation or illness can speed up recovery time.
Having a Sense of Purpose
In a spiritual sense, having healthy relationships can lead to greater sense of purpose. Humans naturally want to be a part of something bigger and to feel needed. Connecting with others can give a person a sense of well-being and purpose.
This doesn’t mean you need to rush out and start collecting friends. Having a smaller circle of close friends and family can be just as impactful as a larger number. It isn’t about the number of relationships you have, but the quality of them!
Even if you can’t connect with your loved ones in person right now, remind them just how happy you are to have them in your life. Call your best friend or video chat with your brother or sister, and let them know they’re important to you. Not only will it brighten their day, but it will do the same for you.
If you are experiencing a behavioral health or psychiatric emergency, please contact please the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-TALK.