A robust and healthy immune system that fights incoming invaders and pathogens works internally to protect you from becoming ill, but what if your external environment is just as important? Do outside factors play a part in your autoimmune disease, affecting your condition day in and day out? You may be surprised to find they do. Managing your autoimmune disease can look like managing your diet mindfully and adding dietary supplements as needed, and making better lifestyle choices such as prioritizing sleep and managing stress, but healthy relationships are a key piece to your overall health, too.
Research shows that our connection to others has quite the impact on our health, even going so far as to suggest that strong, healthy relationship connections may result in a longer life span. Being a part of trusting, supportive, and mostly conflict-free relationships has been shown to impact overall health in a big way. In this article we’ll explore 4 benefits of including healthy relationships in our health care plan. (Source, Source)
Healthy Relationship Connections
Health is more than just how you feel in the moment — it involves many layers that encompass your mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness over time. Living with autoimmune disease, your health is dependent on many factors that either support your healing or sabotage it, and your connection with others is key to supporting and promoting your overall health. Internal stressors such as poor self-image, feeling grief over what life was like before your autoimmune diagnosis, and anxiety and possibly rage and fear over your body’s reaction to symptoms may make you feel out of control. Whether platonic or romantic, healthy, positive relationships may be the support you need to boost your immunity and health here and now. (Source, Source)
Benefits of Healthy Relationships
Having healthy relationships can benefit your overall health and wellness simply because of the positive influence on your biology and moods. Connection with others plays a huge role in how your body responds to challenges and your overall resilience. This human-to-human connection begins at birth between an infant and its parents as trust develops, a secure bond is established, and the feel-good hormone oxytocin is released.
Oxytocin is responsible for establishing the deep bond we experience with others, and continues to contribute to how we form and maintain healthy relationships throughout our lives. The first relationship we experience, with our parents, sets the influential foundation for us to hopefully form and maintain healthy relationships throughout our lives. Read on to find out 4 ways healthy relationships may benefit your health at any age or stage of life. (Source, Source)
1. Life Expectancy
Research has shown that healthy relationships support a longer life span, whereas isolation may increase the risk of depression, decreased immunity, and even early death. You may think isolation and loneliness are the same, but they do differ. Isolation is the lack of people to connect with, whereas loneliness is the stressful state of actually being alone or separated from those you desire to be with but cannot. Loneliness and social isolation have been associated with the development of heart disease and poor lung health, both of which may shorten life expectancy. (Source, Source)
On the other hand, strengthening or forming meaningful relationships may increase life expectancy. Staying in touch with others through a phone or video call, an email, or a handwritten letter can increase your overall health and boost your mood, too. To form new relationships, consider enrolling in a class or finding a new hobby that interests you and connect with others who share those interests. Diversity is key in healthy relationships, so nurture and nourish all your relationships, new and old, by penciling in some connection each day to live a long and healthy life. (Source, Source)
2. Stress Management
We all have stress in our lives, and though some manage it better than others, all of us could probably benefit from reducing it. When stress becomes chronic it can cause digestive issues, sleep disorders, dis-ease (a way of stating the body is lacking ease or balance), and a general feeling of overall unwellness. Consistently engaging in healthy habits can help manage stress effectively. Surrounding yourself with supportive and uplifting, healthy relationships is a key piece to managing and reducing overall stress in the here and now, as well as in the future. Choose to strengthen and be an active player in relationships that make both parties feel supported, increase your self-esteem, are enjoyable, and produce growth. Reset and reduce stress with healthy relationships! (Source)