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Nurturing Positive Relationships

The importance of building healthy relationships with your immediate and extended family members, friends, and coworkers cannot be overstated. Healthy relationships can help you feel happier and more self-confident, reduce your stress levels, and prevent you from feeling lonely or isolated. We are social beings with a profound need for connection and research suggests that when we foster connections with those around us, it can:

  • Improve our confidence
  • Make us more cooperative, empathetic, and trusting
  • Strengthen our immune systems
  • Reduce our risk of developing anxiety and depression
  • Extend our lives

In fact, Robert Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University has collected data from a longitudinal study conducted over the last 80 years. He explains that the quality of our relationships is correlated with health and happiness. In other words, developing deep, meaningful relationships over a lifetime serves as a protective factor for life satisfaction and health.

How to Build Healthy Relationships

Different types of relationships require different approaches. For instance, you should likely treat your coworkers differently than your immediate family members. With that said, taking the following steps may help you to nurture positive relationships with many people in your life:

  • Use healthy communication skills, such as "I Statements" which will allow you to talk calmly through issues.
  • When the other person is responding, actively listen to them and validate their feelings.
  • Find ways to express that you appreciate the other person’s efforts.
  • Follow through on your promises.
  • Be sensitive to the other person’s emotions and treat them with compassion, especially when they’re going through a difficult time.
  • Remain open-minded and avoid jumping to conclusions.
  • Set aside time to spend with the other person, free of distractions.
  • When a problem arises, take responsibility for your role in it and make a repair.

Defining Trust in Your Relationships

What does it mean to build trust in relationships and how do we know that the person is trustworthy? Beloved researcher and author Brené Brown has made defining trust easier for us and has provided a roadmap with her acronym BRAVING (boundaries, reliability, accountability, the vault, integrity, nonjudgment, generosity). In her Anatomy of Trust podcast, she teaches us how to evaluate trust in our relationships and honor trust in ourselves. Here is the link, https://brenebrown.com/videos/anatomy-trust-video/

Start Improving Your Relationships

As noted above, it’s important to have healthy relationships in your life, so if you need help fostering connections, are struggling in your relationships, or have a past history of relational trauma, contact dlmcounseling.com today.