Social Connections & Your Health: 10 Tips for Healthy Relationships

With Valentine's Day approaching, you may find yourself reflecting on your personal relationships. Your social network, including close friendships, romantic relationships, and connections with family and community members, influences your health and well-being.

“While creating social connections makes a difference, the quality of the relationships in our lives is important to our overall happiness,” shares Janet McCutchen, LCP, CEAP, assistant manager, Work/Life Connections-EAP. “When we notice ongoing conflict in a relationship, we can begin to distance ourselves instead of figuring out what behaviors are contributing to the ongoing stress.”

Whether you want to improve a relationship, or continue on a healthy path, here are ten tips for cultivating healthy relationships.

  1. Listen to understand the other person's perspective.
  2. Communicate what you think and feel in ways other people can hear. Avoid language that makes other people responsible for your feelings or attacks the other person.
  3. Comment on the positive. Be generous with compliments.
  4. Show appreciation. Social graces are not just for strangers.
  5. Learn the fine art of compromise.
  6. Don't sweat the small stuff.
  7. Make time to share activities and interests.
  8. Get good at forgiveness.
  9. Share the work, as well as the fun.
  10. Keep expectations realistic.

If you are struggling with an unhealthy relationship in your life, call 615-936-1327 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our certified Counselors. Work/Life Connections-EAP is here to help all VUMC faculty, staff, and their spouses improve their overall health.