New Year – that time of year where you sit down and bang your head, trying to think of ways to better yourself in some shape or form.
Wracking your brain with something that seems worthy of your precious time, yet still doable so it’s not a complete failure.
Often, we try to think of something more grandiose and elaborate than needed, usually resulting in… well… incompletion. Not this year!
What about something simple and non-time-consuming that will increase the joy in your life? What if you were told that this New Year you too could have relationship goals? No longer is that title reserved for the picture-perfect Instagrammer but for YOU, yes YOU! What if you were told that achieving the oh-so coveted “relationship goals” title is easy, achievable and probably a lot less painful than you think.
Relationships fill up every corner of your life. So why not have good relationships? No, better than good, GREAT relationships! Strong relationships! Healthy relationships! Why not work on them? Almost seems silly not to!
Relationship building is a great and very worthy goal (but don’t worry, it won’t take up too much time).
Now to quote Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music let’s start at the very beginning.
What is a healthy strong relationship and what does it look like?
A healthy and strong relationship will include:
- Open communication
A healthy and strong relationship should have all of the above in varying degrees, depending on the closeness of the relationship.
Whether this New Year you are looking to strengthen an already existing relationship or build a new relationship, these are the keys ingredients to success.
A good solid relationship is a win-win for both parties, meaning it is beneficial for all involved.
You shouldn’t be pouring your heart and soul into a relationship, only to be left feeling empty and unfulfilled; and vice versa, a positive and strong relationship is a two-way street.
A relationship should never be:
- One sided
- Leaves you feeling worse off
- Abusive (mentally, physically or emotionally)
Why are healthy and strong relationships so important?
Good relationships are the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle and who isn’t interested in improving their lifestyle? They are a powerhouse for your personal health and wellness.
By building strong social ties and strengthening your relationships you create a wave of positive effects throughout your whole life – spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. Now that sounds like some life changing magic right there.
Healthy, strong and positive relationships offer:
- Social support
- Reduced stress
- A sense of belonging
- An improved sense of empathy and care for others
- A boost in creativity and imagination
- Increased happiness (boost your serotonin levels)
- Improved sleep
- Improved work environment
- Improved team building and learning how to be a team player
- Increased productivity
- Community/workplace morale
- Increased sense of self esteem and self confidence
- Increased trust
There are studies showing that people involved in positive relationships, not just romantic relationships, but relationships of all kinds, live longer, have better mental health and have increased levels of happiness.
The benefits of such bonds don’t even need to be between people! The loving affection of a pet can be just as beneficial for your mental and spiritual health.
Strong relationships are the mecca of a healthy life.
It’s so simple to build up powerhouse relationships, anyone can do it. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be overly extroverted or outgoing, you don’t need to be the funniest person in the room and you don’t need to be the most charismatic, charming or dazzling person.
You just need to be you!…
Strong, healthy and positive relationships are for:
- The stay at home mom/dad
- The corporate woman/man
- The entrepreneur
- The minivan chauffeur
- The plumber
- The mailman
- The teacher
- The musician
- The hairdresser
- The student
Strong relationships are for everyone. Whether you have a 60+ hour work week, are juggling a million and one things, or your mind is running that much that you don’t remember if you’ve had a shower or not; a healthy strong relationship is for you and it is not out of reach! Actually, it is very much in reach.
How do I build relationships this new Year?
Now you have a fairly good grasp of what a healthy and strong relationship is, what it looks like and why they are so important, it is time for the little nuggets of gold that will transform your life.
Whether you are starting with an existing relationship or looking to build a new one, these little nuggets will take any relationship from dust bunnies and cobwebs to relationship goals!
Evaluate your current relationships
Water your relationships
When you are looking for something to grow, flourish and thrive it needs to be nurtured.
We all have one friend that we can go forever without seeing for months, or even years, then, when you see them you fall right back into it like no time has passed at all.
Those types of relationships are dynamite. The only kicker is that they’re few and far between. That does not work for majority of relationships.
You have to show up!
Have quality interactions
Do most of your conversations with your partner sound like, “don’t forget it’s garbage day tomorrow” or “can you pick the kids up from school today?”
While these conversations are necessary, they are also relationship killers! Spruce up your conversations by asking unique, interesting questions like “what challenge have you overcome today?” “How have you made a difference this week?” “What’s given you goosebumps recently?”
For more on this, we discuss the topic of “big talk” in our article Creating Healthy Relationships At Work, go check tit out!
You know the saying “quality over quantity?” That also applies in your relationships.
It seems rather elementary but you would be astonished at the amount of information you can learn about somebody just by listening.
I get it, our heads are a constant flutter of ongoing commentary that doesn’t know when to pipe down, but train yourself to live in the moment and just listen.
One way to practice is to write down everything in your head before you know you’re going to have a chat with someone. That way you can provide your full attention and not be distracted by that constant chatter and the to-do lists trail-blazing through your mind.
Be willing to get to know them.
People are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for and it can be blatantly obvious when you just aren’t that interested in getting to know someone, so be polite and have holy curiosity!
Everyone has something interesting about them, if you can’t find it, you’re not asking the right questions!
Find common ground.
Looking to add layers to a currently existing relationship or for that hook to create a new one? Find something that you can both relate to on the same level.
It doesn’t need to be crazy specific, like you both are gluten-free vegans who have ran several ultra-marathons. It can be as small as you both have cats, you enjoy the same restaurant, you both like the same sports, etc.
Sharing common interests amongst people is one of the many things that make relationships so rich and satisfying.
This one may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Remembering details is just one little thing you can do that can make a big difference. Do you have a mobile phone? Perfect (if not, kudos to you!).
All you need to do is store all important information about one person in the same place. Remembering birthdays, pets, relations, interests, etc. all go a long way to building strong bonds.
Memory techniques can also work for a brief period before you jot the information down.
People love to feel special and remembering a small detail like “Jenny is a vegetarian who adores her dog Jasper” really does mean the world to people.
Build relationships now!
This New Year resolution is one that can easily be integrated into your daily life.
Taking ideas mentioned in this article to enrich your relationships will do wonders for your health and the best thing about them is they are simple, effective and take little to no time.
Make this New Year your best yet by committing to your relationships and letting us know how you get on.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE MHV TEAM!