While what you do is important to your overall emotional health, it is equally vital who you do it with. Your relationships, including your friends, family, and romantic partners, play a crucial role in your well-being and happiness, and when you surround yourself with the right people, your well-being can flourish and grow.
We Are Social Beings
All of us, even the staunchest of introverts, need other people in our life to provide fulfillment and support to thrive. In fact, some psychologists believe that healthy relationships may be one of the most crucial factors influencing well-being and personal satisfaction today. That is because a supportive relationship is one that provides us with things we cannot give to ourselves, including external sources of trust, nurturing, empathy, and caring.
We form various kinds of relationships that serve multiple purposes throughout our lives. When we are young, our relationships serve to help us figure out who we are and what we enjoy while also helping us test out boundaries and explore norms. As we age, relationships serve to support our needs, provide us with love, and to continue to challenge us to grow and explore in new ways.
What is an Emotionally Healthy Relationship?
You can have an emotionally healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with just about anyone in your life, from family members to partners to colleagues and friends. Anyone you interact with regularly can serve a significant role in your life. When your connection is positive and enhances both your life and the other person’s, it is a healthy relationship.
Other defining qualities of an emotionally healthy relationship include having and working toward common goals, mutual respect, a commitment to maintaining the relationship, being honest with one another, empathy, feeling that there is shared emotional understanding, and loyalty.
A healthy relationship allows you to have your own boundaries that the other person respects and honors. You and the other person should need each other, but you should not be overly dependent on each other. Effective communication and intimacy are essential, as is feeling emotionally secure in your connection.
How a Relationship Affects Your Emotional Health
Now that we know what a healthy relationship looks like let’s imagine that many of these qualities are missing. You feel disconnected and even rejected by the other person. He makes you feel insecure, you have very little in common, and you both struggle to share your honest thoughts with the other. When the healthy qualities are missing and replaced with adverse factors, not only does the relationship suffer but so does your emotional health.
Unhealthy relationships can negatively influence your self-esteem, lowering your energy levels, keep you focused on negative thoughts, and drain you of hope for the future. Toxic relationships can make you feel even worse about yourself and lead to self-destructive behaviors and other unhealthy habits that can harm your physical as well as your mental health.
When you lack supportive relationships in your life, it is hard to overcome adversity or rise above challenging circumstances. And the fewer positive bonds you feel, the more likely you are to feel isolated, which can lead to depression.
When you have a positive, healthy relationship, you feel more capable of overcoming adversity, you are much more likely to have robust mental health, and you find it easier to maintain a positive mental outlook.
Healthy relationships are critical to maintaining emotional health and well-being. When you connect with other people, you will enjoy more favorable outcomes, make healthier choices, and find more happiness in your life.