How to Strengthen Your Relationships
Friday, November 30, 2012
Whether you’re the life of the party or you have a small circle of friends or family, building and maintaining healthy relationships is an important part of being an Active, More Powerful You!
Friends: Your Posse
You may have a more intimate circle of a few very close friends or a complete entourage that you would be lost without. Whatever your style, friends play an important role in your life. They’re the people you talk to about the annoying thing your partner is doing or the crazy email you got from your mom. Even though we love and appreciate our friends, sometimes we take them for granted.
Try This: Take an attitude of gratitude and write a note to one friend each week for the next month. Whether they held your hand through a crisis or made you laugh after a stressful day, letting your friends know how grateful you are to have them in your life will make their day—and yours!
Family: Ties that Bind (and Gag!)
Every family is unique. Sometimes families hang out for fun while others only get together when they absolutely have to (holidays, funerals, weddings). At times, people in your family may get along and other times they have disagreements. For better or worse, families shape who we are and are a big part of how we navigate relationships outside family.
Try This: Think of 3 (or more) of your favorite things about the people and relationships in your family, whether they are long-held traditions or less formal ways in which you relate. If you feel inspired to, tell your family what you enjoy and appreciate about them, whether by phone, email, or at your next get together.
Your Romantic Partner
Forming close, intimate bonds with a romantic partner can be the source of some of our greatest joys—and greatest stresses. Whether you have been married to your high school sweetheart for decades or you are just starting a new relationship, maintaining your connection to your partner can be challenging—but also rewarding!
If you are currently in a romantic relationship: What are the things that initially attracted you to your partner? What are the things you think initially attracted your partner to you? To keep the spark alive, plan a fun date to rekindle some of the things you used to like to do together or find new ways to connect and have some fun!
If you are not currently in a relationship but think you might like to be someday: Be true to yourself. Think of the lessons you have learned from previous relationships that will help you to be a better relationship partner in the future and then create a “wish list” by writing down the values or qualities that are most important to you to find in a romantic other.
Having strong connections to important others (i.e., friends, family, and romantic partners) contributes to positive mental health and well-being. And recent research suggests that strong social ties can improve physical health too, including boosts to the immune system and length and quality of life.