“A good friendship is a wonderful antidepressant,” says psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser. “Relationships are so powerful, we don’t always appreciate the many levels at which they affect us.”
Humans have an inherent need to build relationships, and when these relationships are healthy it can lead to better mental health and emotional wellbeing. A positive relationship can be shared between any two people that support, love, and encourage each other. Annually, we recognize National Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August to celebrate the positive relationships in our lives. At Acenda, we are celebrating this day by sharing the four benefits of having uplifting and healthy relationships.
1. Healthy relationships encourage personal growth.
There’s no better feeling than having someone cheer you on during life’s ups and downs. When you have someone in your life who will support you no matter what, you are more confident and self-assured. These relationships will enable you to take greater risks and chase after your dreams because you have a strong foundation of support no matter the outcome.
2. Positive relationships add meaning to our life.
It’s human nature to want to feel needed and to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves. Many people strive to make a positive change in this world and enjoy the feeling of doing something good for someone else. Being in a loving and healthy relationship, romantic or platonic, can give a person a sense of purpose and fulfillment. In fact, supporting others will in turn make yourself happier and stronger!
3. Healthy relationships can decrease stress and lead to a longer life.
Research suggest that the social and emotional support from a committed relationship or strong friendship can be a buffer against stress. Studies also suggest many biological benefits, including lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems. Reversely, studies have also suggested that a lack of social relationships can have the same effect as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
4. Social support in life.
It’s helpful to surround yourself with people that you trust and can learn from. This could mean being an excellent listener, a wise mentor, or being available to a help friend with any situation, like moving houses. No matter how big or small, these are all supportive ways to strengthen your social support system.
Above all, everyone deserves to have healthy relationships that provide joy and promote personal growth. Acenda is here to help if you or someone you know is experiencing challenges in their lives that is causing increased isolation and loneliness. Our clinicians are trained to help adults and youth overcome social anxiety, depression, and trauma so that they can thrive in the modern world.