We all have important relationships in our lives whether it’s with a co-worker, friend, partner, or even ourself. In all of these relationships, it’s important to make sure you're taking time for yourself and staying emotionally healthy.
We hear a lot of tips on staying physically healthy but not a lot about maintaining our emotional health. So what is emotional health? Emotional health doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time, it means you’re in control of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You feel good about yourself and can have strong relationships.
Emotional health is such an important part of our lives. It can help us become a more productive employee, manage our stress better, have successful relationships, and even help to support our physical health. “Research shows a link between an upbeat mental state and physical signs of good health. These include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and a healthier weight.” [source]
How can we have healthy relationships, honor the other person, and still make sure our own emotional health is being honored too? Take a look at our tips on how to maintain a healthy and strong relationship.
One way to ensure a healthy and happy relationship is to be supportive and make sure you’re being supported too.
To create and maintain a supportive relationship it helps to have mutual support, trust, strong communication, patience, and empathy.
- Mutual support is such an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship. Mutual support means you and your partner are committed to building a relationship based on honesty, openness, and trust. You may not always agree on something but what’s important is that you both believe in each other and are present, especially in hard times when support is needed the most. It’s also important to remember that having a mutually supportive relationship means you help each other live your lives to the best of your ability, it does not mean you live their life for them.
- Trust is the bedrock of a supportive relationship. Without trust, the foundation can be weak leading to relationship troubles in the future. Without trust it’s easy to feel insecure and question whether you can count on your partner to be there for you, second guess their actions, and feel uncertain. The best way to build trust in a relationship is being honest, especially in your communication. Make sure that you mean what you say. If you make a commitment, stick with it and follow it through. Not following through with something or doing something that doesn’t represent your true feelings is a sure fire way to lose your partner's trust.
- Communication is also essential for a healthy, supportive relationship. Make sure you’re always giving your partner your full attention; put your phone away when having meals together or when you’re having a conversation. Not having distractions and making full eye contact will show your partner that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say. It’s also important to not interrupt, make sure you’re actively listening when they’re talking. Active listening can create a safe space for you both to express your thoughts and feelings helping to improve your communication skills and be fully engaged.
- Patience when interacting with your partner and being able to adjust to the ebbs and flows of a partner’s mood is very important. Being patient brings harmony into a relationship, cultivates trust, inspires us, and helps improve connection and communication.
- Empathy is a powerful bonding tool. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. A few easy ways to enhance your empathy are to give your partner your full attention and practice loving-kindness. According to psychotherapist Cindy Sigal, AMFT, “The more in touch we are with our foundation of loving-kindness, the more easily we can access empathy and be mindful of our experience and behavior.”
VALUE INDEPENDENT TIME
To maintain emotional health, it’s important to make spending time alone a priority. Spending time away from your partner can help you come together even more. It can help you connect on a deeper level, appreciate them more, help with communication, especially when problems arise, and even reduce stress levels. Independent time also makes sure you never lose your sense of self or your own identity.
Along with carving out time for yourself, fill it with activities and opportunities that bring you joy. Whether it’s a hobby, journaling, exercising, or even opening a bottle of purple tea and turning on your favorite TV show, there are plenty of activities that can for you to participate in. While your partner can be a source of joy, it’s important to acknowledge that joy can be created from other things as well. Having your own activities and hobbies can actually help strengthen a relationship too.
Having individual interests and hobbies allows you to become a more well rounded person, it’s healthy to have space to do the things that bring you joy, it may help you come up with new and unique date ideas, and it’ll make you happy!
CHECK-IN WITH YOURSELF
To make sure you’re on the path to emotional health and a strong, supportive relationship, make sure to check-in with yourself from time to time. Some great questions you can ask yourself are:
- Are my emotions being respected?
- How am I feeling in my relationship? Happy, content, nervous, insecure?
- Have I prioritized enough me time?
Relationships may not be smooth sailing at all times, which is okay. However, asking yourself pertinent questions will help you determine if it’s a rough patch or a rough relationship that is not benefiting your wellbeing. Routinely checking in with yourself will ensure that you are putting yourself and your emotional health first.
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