Basic survival of the human race dictates there must be interaction with other humans. Lucky for us, we actually desire human interaction. Even the most anti-social person needs human connection. We are social creatures and thrive on creating and nurturing bonds with other people.
When we create relationships with people, strong, healthy relationships, they have much more benefit than just companionship. These relationships also enhance our mental and physical health, which is pretty exciting news!
And by “relationships” we shouldn’t limit that to those of the romantic persuasion. We experience many differing types of relationships throughout our lifetime. Every person on every plane we interact with is considered a relationship, in very broad terms of course, but it’s true.
You can have a relationship with your boss, co-workers, family members, friends, lovers, etc. Each one is individual in nature and serves a different purpose. What stays the same though are the benefits, as long as the relationships are healthy and nurtured.
Better at Handling Stress
Healthy relationships help us handle stress better, romantic relationships and otherwise. We have a sounding board. Someone to bounce ideas off of or just vent to about the day. This is incredibly helpful for decompressing after a stressful day.
Likewise, good relationships with your superiors and co-workers allows for office stress to be handled with integrity and professionalism. Stress is managed better because we have experience with good relationships and know how important they are in the grand scheme of things.
Sense of Purpose
A healthy relationship gives one a sense of purpose, a desire to do better and make another person happy. Life gets busy, there’s no doubting that fact. However, when we are in a healthy relationship, we strive to do things that please the other.
Having a sense of purpose is very different than being codependent, although sometimes the lines get a little skewed; which is why boundaries are important.
Humans, being social creatures, experience happiness through service. When we help others, it actually helps us!
A Healthier Version of You
Physically speaking, those in healthy relationships pretty much have a built-in caretaker. Studies have shown that having a partner to help you heal actually speeds up the healing process.
Furthermore, if you’ve got people who care about you, they are likely going to encourage you to take care of yourself physically. People in healthy relationships usually have:
- Higher levels of oxytocin which promotes closer bonds and comfort
- Increased levels of dopamine which is the body’s natural pain killer and makes us happier
- Decreased levels of cortisol which aids in reduced pain and stress levels
Overall, people with strong connections and healthy relationships seem to see things in a different light than a lonely miser. People who have cultivated relationships with others tend to be more empathetic and nonjudgmental. They value the people in their lives and routinely show it.
It’s easier for people in close relationships to accept the fact that changing another person isn’t their job, nor should they try to force such. In fact, they spend more time emphasizing the good in a person than pointing out negativity. They try to lift people up instead of tear them down. Additionally, those in strong relationships readily make themselves available to those in need.
Laugh, Smile and Be Happy
While relationships aren’t all good days and happy times, those in healthy relationships undoubtedly have more good days than bad. They laugh together, plan activities together, smile and bring out the best in the other person.
Sometimes that’s being a gym partner even if the gym isn’t your idea of a good time. And sometimes that means being the shoulder to cry on and man bash after a rough breakup.
Relationships don’t necessarily need to be long-term to be beneficial either. As we go through different stages in life, our needs are going to change. As we mature and gain experience, quality over quantity becomes more important.
You might always have a strong bond to a childhood friend or make it to the 50th wedding anniversary, but that shouldn’t deter you from forming new relationships along the way. Sometimes we just click with certain people and become very close, very fast.
No matter the situation, stage of life, financial status or education level, people need people. We need healthy relationships. They help us as much as the other party, which is a total bonus. There are so many benefits it would be physically and mentally detrimental not to work on nurturing strong, healthy relationships.