We all know that relationships can be difficult at times, and that taking time to show others that we care about them can sometimes fall to the back burner. But we also know that strong, healthy relationships influence our long-term health in the same ways that adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking can.
Harvard Health writes “Scientists are investigating the biological and behavioral factors that account for the health benefits of connecting with others. For example, they’ve found that it helps relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system. Another line of research suggests that caring behaviors trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones.
Research has also identified a range of activities that qualify as social support, from offers of help or advice to expressions of affection. In addition, evidence suggests that the life-enhancing effects of social support extend to giver as well as to receiver.”
There are plenty of ways to show care and love for someone special to you without spending a dollar or taking much time from your day, and they’ll actually improve your relationships over the long haul. Try a few of these simple relationship tips to improve and show love to both friends and loved ones.
- Loving someone else starts with YOU. Take responsibility for your own feelings and needs. When we accept our own faults and work to improve them, we avoid blaming others for our own struggles. Work on improving your own skills and attitude toward life. Read books, travel, take care of yourself and while you grow, your relationships with grow too.
- Be fully present when you’re with someone you care about.This means putting your cell phone down and listening to what they have to say with eye contact. Schedule a dinner with Mom but keep the cell phone tucked away and on silent. You’ll survive 2 hours without it.
- Make an effort to be intimate with your partner at least once per week. Intimacy has positive effects on both the body and mind and helps you maintain a connection with your partner. Once per week also is realistic to achieve, even if you navigate a busy life.
- Say, “Thank you.” When you speak those two words with meaning, you make that person feel appreciated. The power of thank you is beyond that of just a simple compliment. The more often we show our gratitude toward others, the better those relationships become.