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Can relationships affect mental health?

We human beings are naturally social creatures. Interacting and connecting with others is a vital part of our wellbeing, and neglecting our relationships can in turn be detrimental to our mental health. Those who are already inclined to emotional reactivity and behavioral complications have a heightened sensitivity to relational distress and are more vulnerable to negative situations. It is important to be attuned to the health of our relationships with family, spouses, and friends, in order to improve our mental health and maintain stability.
Brenda K. Wade, PhD
Psychology

Absolutely. Imagine you and your partner are sitting down for dinner, and you notice that your honey doesn’t look happy. Instantly, your stomach tightens as you ask, “What’s wrong?” Within in a minute, you find yourself in a squabble. Every muscle in your shoulders and neck is tight because cortisol-the major stress hormone-is flooding your system.

You’ve got to act quickly, because you’ve only got ten minutes before your whole system is flooded and you react like there’s a lion in the room! So, you need to:

  1. Take the proverbial walk around the block
  2. Drink a glass of water slowly
  3. Take three slow, deep breaths

All of these tools tell your brain that there is no lion in the grass, so your adrenal glands can calm down and your cortisol levels can drop.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.