These days, the majority of people desire happier and healthier lifestyles. So if you want to improve your mental and physical health, strengthening your social relationships may be a worthwhile goal.

Connections with others like these not only provide us with satisfaction, but they also affect our long-term health in the same way as proper sleep, a healthy diet, and quitting smoking. A number of studies have demonstrated that people who have fulfilling relationships with their peers, family members, and society are more joyful, have fewer medical issues, and live much longer.

Meanwhile, a correlative absence of social connections is likely to be linked with depressive symptoms, dementia in later life, and higher rates of mortality.

Our bodies and minds are connected in the brain by the social hormones oxytocin and serotonin, the vagus nerve, and the HPA stress axis. Whenever you find yourself surrounded by nice people or find someone who is there for you, you will feel secure. As a result, the body systems, especially the nervous system, digestive system, and immune system, all function more effectively.

How social relationships can be healthful.

Scientists have studied both biological and behavioral factors underlying the health advantages of interpersonal relationships. For instance, it has been revealed that it reduces undesirable levels of tension, which may harm coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system. According to another study, acts of caring can stimulate the release of stress-relieving hormones.

On top of that, some studies point out that the positive effects of social support can reach both the giver and the receiver. All of this is encouraging because having compassion for other people can be one of the most accessible health actions. It is affordable, and no extra equipment is required. Since it is so easy to conduct, we can perform it in multiple ways.

According to the findings of scientists, solid relationships might lower the body’s chronic inflammation. Inflammation plays an important role because it is associated with numerous diseases and conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and functional decline.

Oxytocin, often referred to as the ‘love hormone’ because its levels rise during a hug or intimate contact, has a number of positive impacts on health: it lessens tension, appears to have anti-inflammatory functions, decreases pain, and supports bone growth, potentially reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

What matters

The quality of relationships is the key. One study discovered that people in successfully satisfying marriages and married couples had a lower risk factor for coronary artery disease than those in unpleasant marriages. Further research has found an association between frustrating or adverse relationships with family and peers and poorer health. An insightful line of research has uncovered indications of weakened immunity in spouses during especially nasty marital arguments. Building a strong relationship may have an impact. An extensive investigation reported that the possibility of dementia was lowest among people who maintained satisfying social relationships.

Think logically, not just emotionally.

When it comes to the brain and affection, people who report high fulfillment in relationships possess three essential neurochemical components. Furthermore, in healthy relationships, when partners attempt to leave a destructive action, it can result in positive perspectives (maintaining positive views of the partner). It’s all about wasting less time reflecting on the negative sides of your relationship.

No relationship is flawless, and the brain is easily loaded to recall hurtful moments. But if you opt to disregard these things and just prioritize what’s vital for you instead, it will be good for your overall health as well as your relationship.

How to strengthen your social relationships

You can strengthen your social connections by reaching out to people you already know, such as colleagues, relatives, school friends, and neighbors. Keep in touch with them frequently or organize simple or special occasions to enjoy time with them. Plus, consider the common interests or passions you share; social platforms are also wonderful opportunities to stay in touch or meet new peers.

How to meet new people

There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people or form new communities. You are able to start a dialogue or discussion with some of the people you encounter daily. Being with other people or joining an association, passion club, volunteer organization, or local group can be useful approaches. Not all strategies will work for everyone, so you should try out more than one method to find out which ones work for you. If your first attempt fails, you may try something else.

The concept of social connection is to share your life experiences and stories and be self-disclosive with others while also listening to theirs. You will gradually gather a group of people in your life who will stay by your side and whom you care about as well. Maintaining a satisfying relationship over the years might be difficult, but making the effort is worth it because a successful relationship does not only have a positive effect on mental health but also on physical health.

Good relationships aren’t just happier and nicer, when we know how to heal relationships and keep them strong, they make us resilient. – Sarah Treleaven