One obvious fact which cannot be negotiated is that humans are social beings. We tend to thrive in and through relationships (positive ones) and tend to deteriorate in isolation.
Isolation can either be social or emotional.
Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It differs from loneliness, which reflects a temporary lack of contact with other humans. Social isolation can be an issue for individuals of any age, though symptoms may differ by age group.
Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease.
Emotional isolation, on the other hand, is a state of isolation where one may have a well-functioning social network but still feels emotionally separated from others.
People who are isolated emotionally usually feel lonely and unable to relate to others.
Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation. Loneliness is often defined in terms of one’s ‘connectedness’ to others, or more specifically as the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person’s network of social relations is deficient in some important way.
Research shows that loneliness is about twice as dangerous to health as obesity.
One of the ways of dealing with loneliness is by having great (positive) relationships. Great relationships must not necessarily be romantic relationships. Partners in great and positive relationships could be family members, friends, colleagues, etc. One common connecting factor in building great positive relationships is friendship.
However, if you are married, your spouse should be your number one partner in developing a great and positive relationship.
A relationship is the way two or more people are connected, or the way they behave toward each other.
A relationship can either be positive or negative. A positive relationship is a direct relationship. That is, it is a relationship between two variables (people) in which as one increases, the other can be expected to increase.
Positive relationships are great support systems for individuals and are crucial for an individual’s happiness, and productiveness.
Health benefits of positive relationships include:
- Positive relationships help to improved personal image and self-worth: The mere knowledge and reality that someone loves and appreciates you just the way you are helps to improve your personal image and self-worth.
- Positive relationships help to reduce depression: Loneliness usually leads to depression and positive relationship eliminates loneliness and depression through emotional connection.
- Positive relationships help to lower stress level: It pays to share your challenges with someone that really cares. This reduces your worry and anxiety level, thereby lowering your stress.
- Positive relationships help to facilitate healing: Caring and nurturing are attributes of positive relationships that help to create a state of mental and emotional wellness, thereby facilitating healing and recovery.
- Positive relationships encourage healthy habits: Partners in committed relationships encourage themselves to quit dangerous health habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, drug addiction and having multiple sexual partners.
- Positive relationships affects your career and professional performance positively: Compatibility of partners is one of the attractions in building lasting relationships. Handling career related issues could be burdensome for an individual. However sharing such with a loved one makes a whole lot of difference which reflects in improved professional performance.
- Research shows that Positive relationships help to reduce heart attacks: The study suggests that marriage reduces the risk of heart attacks and death due to heart attacks in both men and women and at all ages.
- Positive relationships help to provide emotional support: Emotional support is a great immune buster and positive relationships provide a lot of such support.
- Positive relationships leads to greater wealth acquisition: Even the bible recognises the power of synergy borne out of positive relationships. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says ‘Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor.’
- Married men are happier than single men: Study shows that married men are happier than they would have been while single. Come to think of it, I can’t agree less with this considering all the great benefits that come with marriage.
- Positive relationship increases longevity: Several studies associate longevity with being in a positive relationship. This is expected of course! A positive relationship that reduces your stress level and improves your emotional and mental health will definitely increase your life expectancy!