Relationships and Family

Relationships and Family

Relationships and Family
Relationships and family are at the center of human life, and they can have a huge influence on your health. Having good friendships and family support eases stress, helps you avoid mental illness, and gives you energy and courage for living a healthier life. Relationships start when you give someone else your time and attention. If you find yourself isolated, the best thing to do is reach out through community activities or family connections. Finding ways to help others will make you feel better, and then pay off later when you need support. Good health means caring for yourself, which is infinitely easier to do when other people are also caring for you. If your relationships are in trouble, take steps to resolve the conflict through communication or seeking counseling. The payoff is greater well-being for all involved.

Recently Answered

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    APaul Hokemeyer, PhD, Marriage & Family Therapy, answered

    As cell phone use has increased over the last 15 years, the way we communicate in relationships has undergone dramatic changes. Texting might be the most prevalent use of new technology in how we communicate with friends, family, spouses, dates etc. Studies have shown 40% of people in the US say that texting plays a part in their relationship.

    A "Text-lationship" is a relationship that is entirely over text. This may be between a mother and daughter who is away at college, an old friend that you have a hard time seeing, but most worrisome is a text-lationship in early dating, when the couple still has a lot to learn about each other. It's easy to create the fantasy of the person you want to be. Without meeting in person, you don't have social cues, interaction, or access to your intuition, which tells you if you think the person might be lying about who they are.

    It's easy to hide behind the device, however, the basis of a good relationship (dating or otherwise) is intimacy, knowing what's going on in a person's life. Texting back and forth gives you a flavor but not the whole meal. While texting can certainly play a healthy role in a relationship, you need access to all of your senses, including intuition, to really have an understanding the other person.

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    ABrenda K. Wade, PhD, Psychology, answered
    How can my romantic relationship affect my health?

    Your romantic relationship can affect your health in that a bad relationship can be extremely stressful and impact you negatively - and vice versa! In this video, psychologist Brenda Wade, PhD, explains how your love life can influence your health.


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    Almost one million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which translates to 3,000 suicide deaths every day. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end his or her life.
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    ALisa Oz, Health Education, answered
    The first and most important thing you can do whenever you're anticipating being in a new relationship is to be really honest with yourself. Most of us never get beyond the superficial layer of our motivations: We think we want to be in a relationship because we're lonely, because it'd be fun, or because we want sexual intimacy. It would really serve your relationships better if you spend time examining your needs, desires, fears, and motivations and looking at your past, what you want presently, and who you are. If you don't, you'll never be able to connect with someone on an intimate level. You will be less fearful of commitment and new possibilities if you focus on all of the good things that come with these new experiences. You’ll be more successful and happier.
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    AHenry Lodge, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Cultures can affect connections with people, and in some ways coming to America can be dangerous. People who emigrated to America from Japan and lost the close connections of their homeland had a tripling of their rate of heart disease, even after factoring out the effect of diet, and this despite the fact that they smoke far more in Japan than we do here. Both Costa Ricans and Cubans have greater longevity than Americans do, despite poverty and higher levels of tobacco use. The leading theory is that both countries have strong, traditional family and community networks.

    In fact, social connections are a more powerful factor in health and mortality than smoking, alcohol, exercise, nutrition or age.
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    AHenry Lodge, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    We are wired for real contact, for vision and touch and movement, and we are wired to be working together. Telephone contact helps, but it’s not enough. To be doing things together and to be relevant to the tribe: foraging, hunting, taking care of our young, gossiping, playing, making clothes and tools. We need connections in real time. If you make this a job -- by building new bridges, taking on new challenges, new involvements, making new friends and building new communities -- you can stay connected virtually forever. You can do this at any age, but it’s easier if you start early.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Every marriage has its issues, but it's how you work through those issues that matters. When you run into trouble, ask for help! Go see a counselor or find a friend to confide in. Working through your issues with an outsider can help you see things from a new perspective. Sometimes just listening to how other couples have solved their problems can help you manage yours -- even if it's just learning from their mistakes!
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    What Are Some Tips for Dating After Divorce?

    Dating after divorce can be overwhelming and even scary. Actress and Dr. Oz Show guest Kirstie Alley talks in this video about some of her favorite ways to get fit, flirty and ready for a relationship.


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    AMichele Borba, Psychology, answered
    The truth is we devote so much time to our families, we forget to take time for our social needs whether it be our significant other or our girlfriends. Relationships help reduce our stress and restore balance. Find no cost ways to ensure you don't put your relationships on the back burner.

    Exercise with friends. Set up a Pilates group or jazzercise class in a home or church building. Just invite a girlfriend or two or three to come over with their little ones. Plop in an exercise video, rotate watching the kiddies, and exercise while enjoying each other's company.
    Find a Mommy coach online or off. Don't stress alone about your kids. Share your concerns with another mom and vow you'll be one another's cheerleader. Talking about your stress with someone who cares can reduce anxieties. Or join a social network with a Mom Chat Room.
    Schedule date nights. The date doesn't have to cost anything -- a walk, going to the park, watching a rented movie, or sitting in the car in your driveway with wine and cheese. It's just time alone with your significant other and unwind!
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Here are a few tips for helping to make your marriage happier:
    • Spend lots of time alone together. Make time to do things as a couple, not just as a family. It's crucial for rekindling love and affection.
    • When things get tense, tap your sense of humor. Conflicts are inevitable in any marriage, but if you remember to laugh about them, it helps you work through the tension and reconnect.
    • Talk in bed. You might think that's the second-best thing you can do there. But just talking every night in that quiet, intimate setting allows you to bond even more deeply. And it tends to lead to that second-best thing.