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Healthy Relationships: Part and Parcel of a Healthy Lifestyle
It is impossible not to have any relationship with anybody in this world. There are many types of relationships; whichever kind of relationship it is, keeping it healthy is beneficial for your own health and wellbeing.

Relationships with people around you

Healthy relationships contribute to a healthy, happy and meaningful life. Whether it's spending time together with family at the dinner table, enjoying friends' company in an outing, or discussing future plans with your partner, knowing that there is someone there to share your happiness and worries makes ups and downs of life easier to deal with.

Emotionally, healthy relationships help to reduce stress and boost happiness. When you are going through bad times, such as an illness, divorce or job loss, your loved ones provide support and help you to cope with the traumas.1

Healthy relationships also contribute to physical health benefits. Your best friends will encourage you to avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as cutting down on drinking and eating more healthily. They may even be your companions in an exercise routine to make things fun and help you stay fit and healthy!1

What makes a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship between two people is based on a few things:
  • Communication
  • Sharing
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Trust

At the end of the day, good relationships make you feel good about yourself and may offer you better health. Investing time and effort to nurturing your relationships with others will definitely pay off for many years to come.

Besides the people around you, there is one more individual that you should also have a healthy relationship with, and that is YOU.

Relationship with yourself

Having a good relationship with yourself will actually improve your relationship with others. Before you can build great relationships with anyone else, you need to be able to get along with yourself and accept yourself, just like you would with other people.

A healthy relationship with yourself, simply put, is to care, respect and love yourself. You embrace your strengths as well as weaknesses, value yourself as a person, and know that you deserve the very best.

Here are a few ways to form a healthy relationship with yourself2:

  • Take care of your own basic physical needs – eat healthily, exercise regularly, sleep and rest adequately. No one can do it for you except yourself.
  • Do the things that bring you joy. It can be as simple as pampering yourself with a manicure session, eating a small scoop of ice cream, or cuddling with your furry pet!
  • Be more self-aware, ie, be mindful of your own feelings and thoughts, understanding why you are feeling in a particular way or having certain thoughts.

  • Have 'me-time' regularly, even if it's just 15 minutes. Have your morning coffee alone and quietly, solve a Sudoku puzzle, read a piece of article that inspires you, or simply look at the sky and watch the clouds go by.
  • Be your own best friend. When you are having negative thoughts in your head, think about how you would advise your sister or friend, and offer that same advice to yourself.
Sometimes it's difficult to guarantee that relationships with people around you will last. The only relationship that will stay forever with you is the one with yourself. So, take the first step to nurture and cherish this very important relationship for the benefit of other relationships!

References

  1. Mayo Clinic. Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/ friendships/art-20044860. Accessed 19 February 2016.
  2. Psych Central. 6 Ways you can have a healthy relationship with yourself. Available at: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/01/13/6-ways-you-can-have-a-healthy-relationship-with-yourself/ . Accessed 19 February 2016.