Relationships can have a profound effect on our mental health. Healthy relationships can give us a sense of stability and security, while unhealthy relationships can cause us to feel insecure and anxious.
Studies have shown that having strong relationships and meaningful connections with others can have a positive impact on mental health. Research has also demonstrated that social support is associated with better mental health outcomes, such as lower levels of anxiety and depression.
Additionally, having strong relationships can help provide a sense of security, safety, and belonging, which can help alleviate stress and reduce negative mental health symptoms.
Maintaining healthy relationships is an important aspect of promoting overall mental wellbeing. However, when there is uncertainty or insecurity in the relationship it can then become a life stressor. Thus, we need to be aware of the relationships we are in and how they are affecting our mental health.
What does it mean to have a healthy relationship?
Healthy relationships involve effort and understanding. Honesty and trust are key components to maintain a healthy relationship, as well as respecting each other’s boundaries and independence.
Open communication is necessary to ensure both partners feel heard and understood. Compromise is important, meaning respect for each other’s individual needs and wants is crucial.
Some factors that identify a healthy relationship pattern may be:
Feeling physically safe
Respect for privacy and independence
Encouragement and support
Comfort of expressing opinions
Compromise and negotiation
Taking responsibility for our actions
Respect for boundaries and consent.
What does an unhealthy relationship look like?
Unhealthy relationships can be very damaging to our health, happiness, and overall well- being.
Some factors that identify an unhealthy pattern in a relationship may be:
Controlling or manipulative behaviour
Preventing access to finances
Lack of trust and/or honesty
Disrespectful or dismissive behaviour
Unhealthy communication styles (such as gaslighting)
Blaming and verbal abuse
Bullying or intimidation
Causing an individual to experience social isolation
Verbal, physical, or sexual abuse
What to do if you’re in an unhealthy relationship?
Speaking to someone about our relationships can be a great way to gain insight into our own feelings and to better understand our current relationship dynamics. If you believe that you may be in an unhealthy relationship, it is important to talk to someone who you can identify as a safe person, such as a family member or friend.
You may choose to discuss the issues that are causing you to feel uncomfortable and try to work on coming to a solution. It may or may not be safe for you to speak to the actual person you have a relationship with.
It can be intimidating to open up to someone about something so personal, but it can be incredibly rewarding when done in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Talking with a therapist or counsellor can be a way to help you feel more comfortable and safer discussing personal issues.
Counsellors and Psychologists are trained to help individuals to identify issues, emotions, values, and motivations. They can help you build your communication skills and assertive language.
If you feel that you are at risk of immediate harm, please call 000.
For further information and resources regarding family and domestic violence visit Services Australia.