Your relationships help you define who you are and who you care about, and positive friendships and other interpersonal relationships go a long way toward making life happier and more satisfying. Humans are social animals who start to psychologically wither when isolated. But what exactly are the benefits of relationships on psychological well-being?
While there are too many to list, some of the top psych benefits we reap from our relationships are a sense of belonging, of purpose and of mattering in our world. Read on to learn how our closest friendships and familial relationships help us remain mentally healthy even on our darkest days.
1. They Give Us a Safe Haven to Vent
Today’s competitive work environment demands a lot of us. Not only are many today producing at higher levels than those in previous generations, but we’re also doing it all for less money and fewer benefits. Moving up in many organizations means maintaining a positive exterior, even if on the inside you’re panicking about how you’re going to both manage rent and make it out of your second job in time to pick up Junior from daycare.
Trying to maintain constant decorum through 12-hour work days, followed by after-hours obligations and still feeling like a gerbil on a wheel getting nowhere, exhausts the most even-tempered among us. Our closest intimate relationships offer the one place we can let down our guard and kvetch about long, draining days without fear of ending up worse off for doing so. Everyone needs a non-judgmental ear now and then.
2. They Remind Us of Our Positive Traits
When life grows overwhelming, and the daily grind leaves you weary and feeling depressed, those who love you most step in and make you feel unique and treasured. If you’re despairing of ever finishing your novel between work and family obligations, those who care will remind you of the talent you have to share with the world. If you’re having a tough time losing weight, your bestie tells you many women would kill for your voluptuous curves.
3. They Increase Our Satisfaction in Life
Today’s younger generation suffers higher rates of anxiety disorders than previous ones, and constantly feeling stressed robs us of any joy we may have in life. Women who keep close friendships or family relationships report higher overall life satisfaction than those who lack social support. Forging meaningful relationships in the workplace can prove harder as workers tend to move around more, but those who do foster office friendships feel more satisfied on the clock as well.
4. They Provide a Support System
Whether your closest relationship consists of a partner or best friend, our relationships provide a support system. And the travel goes both ways — you become a pillar of support for them as well. Everyone needs at least one person they can call crying at 2 a.m. who will actually pick up, and our nearest and dearest let us know how much they care by being willing to help us whenever we need it.
5. They Inspire Us to Be Better
Those who love you most want to see you succeed in your goals, whether they consist of losing weight, improving your diet, producing a movie or finishing an heirloom quilt. They serve as your biggest cheerleaders and help you overcome obstacles by offering encouragement.
So many of us deal with energy vampires in our day-to-day lives — the co-worker always predicting dire corporate news or the relative who mocks our plans to launch a line of sustainable skin care products — and this can derail our progress and leave us feeling drained. Our close relationships remind us what’s important to us and let us know we have what it takes to achieve our dreams.
6. They Push Us Toward Our Goals
True besties and lovers don’t only cheer you on, they invest themselves in your progress. They are the ones texting you at 5 a.m. encouraging you to meet them at the gym in 15 for leg day. They’re the ones who gently remind you taking a mental health day now and then is imperative to keep from losing your ever-loving mind. They take concrete actions and walk a mile — if not in your very shoes, at least right alongside them.
7. They Celebrate Our Victories With Us
Your closest support system members love to see you soar, and when you do, they’ll celebrate things up big time. It doesn’t matter if they have the bankroll to take you to lunch at the Four Seasons or whether they bring over a cheap bottle of bubbly to your apartment, along with a Redbox flick you’ve wanted to see and extra butter for the popcorn. However you celebrate your success, you can bet they’ll be by your side during the festivities.
8. They Share in Our Sorrows
Finally, tragedies happen to everyone, and when it’s your turn, your closest relationships keep you going. Your friends and loved ones will cry by your side when you lose a beloved parent or rage along with you when you lose a job due to circumstances beyond your control. Furthermore, they’ll help with necessary things, like picking up the littles and prepping dinner to give you time to process your emotions.
The Benefits of Relationships on Psychological Well-Being
There are so many benefits of relationships on psychological well-being, it’s impossible to list them all in one article. However, suffice it to say relationships are the flowers in our gardens of life. Feed, nurture and water them well with love, and they will be there for you through thick and thin!