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    Why Strong Relationships Are Good for Your Health

      |  Feb 21, 2023

    Strong relationships are one of the building blocks for a happy and fulfilling life. Humans are naturally social, and much of our day revolves around our interactions with others, from the workplace to the dinner table. So it comes as no surprise that there are tangible health benefits to having strong relationships. Not only can they make life more enjoyable today, but they can also be key factors in aging well.

    6 Benefits of Healthy Relationships

    1. Lowered Stress Levels

    Being in a strong relationship means you have someone to talk to and laugh with, and you can support one another through life’s many challenges. One of the most essential benefits of strong relationships is the link to lower levels of cortisol production.

    Cortisol is a hormone related to stress, which can affect bodily functions as wide-ranging as blood sugar levels and immune system responses. Having high levels of cortisol in the body has been connected to a wide range of health issues

    2. Increased Happiness

    While happiness is subjective, there are some clear medical links between this state of mind and higher levels of positive hormones in the body. Physical affection has been linked to higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone linked to feelings of happiness, in the body, as well as lower blood pressure. Oxytocin is an essential hormone—lower levels in the body may lead to depression or increased anxiety.

    3. Stronger Incentives for Healthy Behaviors

    Staying healthy as you age is closely connected to your genetics and lifestyle, so daily habits can have a major impact. Strong relationships often serve as incentives to make healthier choices, from what you eat to whether you smoke to when you exercise.

    Not only is it easier to see how your behaviors can affect someone else, but you also have an accountability partner to help you establish healthy new habits. Similarly, you have someone to support you in breaking an unwanted habit.

    4. Decreased Risk of Dementia

    Studies have found that more positive emotions, from compassion to joy, can help lower people's risk of dementia. This is because the ability to reflect on situations, explore multiple perspectives, and be optimistic about future events greatly affects the brain's ability to retain both short- and long-term memories. Social relationships, from partners to friends, are where many of us express empathy and feel bonding. 

    5. Improved Healing Ability

    Partners can pick up on our moods, and they can also sense subtler changes that might require professional attention. Seeing a doctor sooner increases the likelihood of catching a problem early, while it’s still highly treatable. Additionally, having a partner there to offer support, encouragement, and company while recovering has been shown to improve the body's ability to heal after an injury, illness, or surgery.

    6. Longer Life

    Having strong, meaningful relationships in your life can be the foundation for a stronger sense of purpose, lowered risk of depression, and lower stress levels. Ultimately, these improvements may also lead to a longer life span. Reviews of previous research show that social ties are predominant factors in life expectancy—and we might even be underestimating just how essential they are to having a long, healthy life.

    Understanding how strong relationships factor into your overall health is an essential aspect of aging. To get a full picture of your health and the factors that impact it, visit us for an Aging Wellness Assessment. We’ll help you to pinpoint key indicators of body and brain function, including psychological factors, to get you on the path to a happier, healthier future.