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As humans, we seek connection from various people, whether through romantic partners, friends, or family members. Relationships are an important part of life and can affect your mental health both positively and negatively. So, how do relationships affect mental health?

Relationships Improve Health

Relationships can help with both physical and mental health. According to Harvard Health Publishing’s article “Strengthen Relationships for Longer, Healthier Life,” people with healthy relationships:

  • Heal more quickly
  • Have lower blood pressure
  • Are less likely to experience depression
  • Are less anxious

Relationships help foster mental health in various ways, including:

  • Relationships help provide purpose and meaning
  • Friends and family can encourage positive behaviors
  • Conversation with someone who listens can help relieve stress and process emotions
  • Engaging in activities with others can increase energy and release tension

Identifying Positive Relationships

Healthy relationships can help improve your mental health, but how do you identify positive relationships in your life? Healthy relationships have specific defining characteristics, including:

  • Mutual respect: Valuing who the other person is and understanding each other’s boundaries
  • Trust: Feeling confident that both people can rely on the other to be honest and have each other’s back
  • Honesty: Being truthful to help build trust and strengthen relationships
  • Compromise: Acknowledging different points of view – both people and are willing to give and take, and neither person always gets their way
  • Good communication: Speaking honestly and openly – if one person needs to sort out their feelings first, the other person respects that
  • Understanding: Taking time to recognize what the other person might be feeling

Relationships Can Cause Harm

While healthy relationships can improve your mental health, unhealthy relationships can harm your mental health. There are various ways that relationships can cause harm, including:

  •  Consistent Negativity: When you have a relationship with someone who is consistently negative, it can bring you down, too. Being in a negative state of mind can make you view the world from a more negative perspective, harming your mental well-being.
  • Bringing Down Self-Esteem: A harmful person might constantly put you, your actions, and your feelings down. Eventually, you might start putting yourself down, too. Being treated poorly leads to a poor relationship with yourself.
  •  Worsening Anxiety and Stress Disorders: Unhealthy relationships can create mental strain and stress, which can increase anxiety and stress.

Identifying Harmful Relationships

It can be challenging to identify harmful relationships. However, some common signs of unhealthy relationships include:

  • Controlling behaviors
  • Lack of support
  • Dishonesty
  • Patterns of disrespect
  • Ignoring of needs

We all have relationships, whether they are with a romantic partner, family member, or friend. The relationships in our lives can affect us in various ways, either boosting or harming our mental health. Identifying healthy and unhealthy relationships can help you maintain your emotional and mental well-being. If you are struggling with your mental health and relationships, The Guest House is here to help. We can equip you with the tools you need to overcome your struggles and live your best life. Call us today to learn about treatment options at (855) 483-7800.