How Relationships Influence Your Health

Are your loved ones helping—or hurting—your health? See how our app can help you start building healthy relationships.

Four women friends are building healthy relationships as they laugh while hiking arm in arm.

Medically reviewed in November 2021

The quality of your relationships and social interactions with your spouse, family and friends can have a major impact on your overall health—both positively and negatively. 

On one hand, a good relationship boosts health and longevity by reducing stress levels and motivating you to maintain healthy habits. It can even boost your longevity by a whopping 50 percent. On the other hand, a bad relationship can increase stress levels, which may strain the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive and endocrine systems. Poor relationships can also weaken immunity and worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

So, how can you create healthy relationships with the people closest to you? Start by taking the following steps:     

Try to understand your partner, family and friends. Sometimes, it can be hard to understand how or why a loved one is reacting to a certain situation or conflict—especially if you don’t agree with them. But try to take a step back, broaden your scope and understand the story from their perspective. 

Listen and communicate. If your spouse, family member or friend is going through a hard time (or just needs a vent session) one of the best things you can do is simply be present and listen—without being critical. 

Forgive and accept forgiveness. It can be hard to forgive someone—and harder to ask for forgiveness yourself. Being open and honest is key to maintaining a healthy relationship, even if vulnerability may be uncomfortable sometimes. 

Support your loved ones. Celebrate your loved ones’ achievements the same way you’d celebrate your own—with sincerity, enthusiasm and excitement. 

Another simple way to build healthy relationships is by monitoring and recording how they make you feel each day. If you’re getting into frequent arguments with your spouse, for example, take a moment to assess the situation: What’s sparking these arguments? Are there external factors at play? How can you begin to resolve these issues? Understanding the causes, effects and possible resolutions for conflicts can help strengthen your communication and relationship. 

Sharecare, available for iOS and Android, can help you analyze and learn how to create a healthy relationship by analyzing your stress levels. How does it work?  

The relationship tracker in the app can listen to you speak and analyze the stress fractals in your voice. You can use your results to help understand how you relate to others and to identify the factors that may be harming your relationships. (Prefer not to use the voice analyzer? You can always track your relationships manually using a sliding scale, as well.)  

The insight you gain can help you take steps towards healthier, more open communications.

More On

Why Should I Schedule Sex?

video

Why Should I Schedule Sex?
Before sex belongs in the bedroom, it belongs on your calendar. Sex therapist Sari Cooper, LCSW, explains why you should pencil in sex.
Narcissism Gets the Girl, But Not for Long

article

Narcissism Gets the Girl, But Not for Long
We’ve all seen that guy at the party or the bar. He’s the one fluttering from girl to girl, chatting and being overly friendly. At first glance, this ...
10 Things Happy Couples Do

slideshow

10 Things Happy Couples Do
Fireworks are great, but that's not what keeps love strong for years.
How Can Women Deal With Their Partner's Erectile Dysfunction?

video

How Can Women Deal With Their Partner's Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can be difficult for both partners. Sex therapist Sari Cooper, LCSW, explains how you can get through it together.
Social jet lag and how to cure it: explained

video

Social jet lag and how to cure it: explained
Social jet lag is when weekend socializing causes a delay in your body's natural sleep clock.