Live Long and Foster: Strong Relationships Benefit Health

If you’re taking care of family wellness, there’s one thing you need; other people. Obviously, you need more than just you to make a family, but research shows that connecting with others is vastly beneficial to your wellbeing. Not only does interaction raise your spirits, but it also does wonders for your health.


According to the results of prominent researcher Sheldon Cohen, PhD, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, if you form close bonds with other people, you’ll live for longer than those who don’t foster meaningful relationships. In one of his studies, Dr Cohen analysed the autobiographies of 96 psychologists and 220 literary writers for words that indicated close relationships, such as father, mother, neighbour, sister, brother etc. The writers who used the most of these words in their stories had lived for longer than those who used these terms less often. Moreover, a 2007 study from University College London found that people who have more negative interactions in their closest relationships are more likely to develop heart disease.


So how do you strengthen your relationship wellness?


1. Accept the things you cannot change. People are different and flawed and, no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to fix the things you don’t like about someone. Love the people in your life for the people that they are, warts and all.


2. Accentuate the positive. You can choose to look at annoying habits in others as deal breakers or irritants, or you can try to see them as charming quirks. That’s just part of who they are, and you might even miss those little annoying behaviours if they were gone.


3. Show your appreciation. Even if your loved ones are “supposed” to do certain chores, make sure you say thank you – a little gratitude goes a long way.


4. Walk a mile in their shoes. Your style of handling conflict or difficult situations may be different to the other person’s. You may rather hash it all out, but your loved one may be an internal processor, and would prefer to think things through alone. Accept the difference, and try to adjust the way you interact.

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