One aspect of health the actual health industry rarely focuses on is the mental aspect and the role in plays in physical health. Yes, we know that stress is bad. We know that it causes inflammation and weakens the immune system. But by and large, the health industry – myself included – does not expand on these issues. We focus on what to eat, supplements, exercise and personal care, but focus much less on mental care.
I intend to change that, starting with this article on the importance of healthy relationships in a healthy life.
Whether or not you have a healthy relationship with your parents, sibling, friend, spouse or significant other is going to largely influence your health and well being. For the most part, these are the people close to you. The people you talk to regularly, you vent to, you hang out with, you lean on for support. These are the people you count on and love. So what happens when this person is a source of toxicity in your life? When they cause you pain and drama and do more harm than good?
Maybe it’s time to let that person go, even if they’re a parent, a sibling, a best friend. I know it can be difficult (because I’ve cut out parents, siblings and friends). It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s often a process until either you’re so fed up with their antics or one day you just realize you haven’t spoken to them in a while.
It can be difficult to decide if it’s time to actually let a relationship go. Here are some factors that help me when deciding:
- does this person truly care about me, or do they say they do but don’t show any actual indication?
- are they there for me when I need them?
- does this person lift me up and support me?
- is this someone I can count on?
- does this person encourage me?
- is this someone who makes me happy and feel better, especially when I’m feeling like crap?
- does this person bring more positivity or negativity to my life?
- is this person there for me in good and bad times?
- do they cause the aforementioned bad times?
- is this person a constant source of drama, or only once in a while?
- does this person have similar interests and goals?
- does this person put me down?
- is this person mentally stable and happy?
When I was in my early twenties, my parents, brothers and boyfriend all had severe addiction issues. I was caught between trying to have a better life and constant drama, negativity and name calling from all of them. I cared about them (obviously no one wants to have to end their relationship with their parents) but at some point realized they didn’t really care about me. Had I not left those toxic relationships, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’d still be there – with the drama, the negativity, and probably with some addiction issues myself.
Because I made the decision to leave those relationships that filled my life with drama and unhappiness, I finally met a nice guy (that I ended up marrying and no, none of the people I ended my relationships with were in attendance). I finally got my business started. I was finally able to be happy, and now I’m much healthier than I could’ve ever imagined.
It’s not easy to cut people out, but to be honest, sometimes it’s necessary. You can have a conversation to end a relationship, you can phase them out, you can immediately stop speaking to them – what works in one situation may not work in another. You have to decide which relationships in your life are worth it, and which are actually hurting you. If something no longer serves you, it’s time to let it go.
Relationships should be fun. They require work but shouldn’t be a job. We know that people with strong social ties live longer, and I believe a huge reason for this is that people with strong social ties are happier. They have a support network, they’re not bogged down with drama. Relationships shouldn’t stress you out (well, only once in a while). The people you surround yourself with should love you, make you laugh, encourage you, help you and be there for you when you need them. In turn, you should do all of those same things.
Surrounding yourself with these people will reduce your stress, which will boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, and you won’t secrete hormones like cortisol and adrenaline because you’re angry and mad all the time. This is why healthy relationships are crucial to overall health. It’s hard to end a relationship, but you’ll know if it’s necessary for you.