Healthy Relationships for a Healthy Life
What comes to mind when you think of a healthy person? Is it an ideal weight?Â A disciplined diet? Or daily sweat sessions at the gym?
When we think about our health goals, it is important to consider diet and exercise.Â It is just as important to consider other elements that support us in being healthy individuals.Â Since February is a month to celebrate love, letâ€™s explore relationships and how they contribute to our overall health and wellness. Rumi, the Sufi mystic and poet, will serve as inspiration with his messages of universal love.
â€œLove is the Water of Life.â€ â€“ Rumi
First, what are we talking about when we say â€œrelationshipsâ€?Â Relationships certainly include the romantic relationships in our lives.Â They also include our relationships and interactions with friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances.Â Healthy relationships with others nourish us, support us, and help us grow.Â They allow us to learn about others and more importantly, learn about ourselves.
Think about someone you have a positive relationship with. This person brings a smile to your face when you see them.Â They are there with you to celebrate the good and support you through the challenges.Â We nurture such relationships, and they are a reflection of who we are and how we love. These are healthy relationships and they contribute to our overall health â€“ mentally, physically, and spiritually. They allow us to feel fulfilled and cared for.Â When we feel nourished in this way, we naturally take better care of ourselves.Â We want to eat well, be out in the world, sleep well at night, and feel more confident through the day.
â€œYour task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.â€ â€“ Rumi
Unhealthy relationships create stress, fear, and anxiety (Feel the energy in your body as you went from thinking about positive relationships to reading about negative ones).Â These relationships have immediate negative effects on our emotional well-being.Â They also have detrimental effects on our overall mental and physical states.Â When you walk away from a stressful conversation, you seek out poor food choices, eat too fast, and end up with indigestion. You continue to feel negative and just want to be alone on the couch.Â You go to bed feeling drained, and toss and turn all night.
â€œYou were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?â€ â€“ Rumi
While life and relationships are not so black or white, understanding the impact of our relationships on our health is the key to taking steps towards a healthier existence.Â We all have different needs when it comes to the amount and types of interactions we need from others.Â As you explore your needs, truly tap into YOUR wants.Â Not what you think you should want, but what your heart truly desires.
Think about the relationships in your life. What is one area where you feel dissatisfaction? Do you wish for a romantic partner? Do you want to broaden your circle of friends? Do you wish to connect more deeply with an existing partner? Do you want to communicate your feelings to resolve a misunderstanding with a friend or family member? Listen to your heart and allow your true desire around your relationship to surface.Â Write down what you desire and keep it simple.
â€œLet the beauty of what you love be what you do.â€ â€“ Rumi
Now itâ€™s time for action.Â Write down two things you can do or two steps you can take that support you in your goal. For example, if you want to meet a new boyfriend or girlfriend, what are two things you can do to increase the chances of meeting someone new? â€“ Perhaps joining a dating site or making it a point to tell your friends that you are in the market.Â If you are new to an area and want to meet more friends, try joining a club that interests you or getting involved in a cause that you believe in.Â Keep the actions positive and productive.
Once youâ€™ve written the two actions, put them in your calendar.Â Scheduling them in your life will increase the likelihood of actually doing them.Â If your last conversation with your sibling didnâ€™t end well and your goal is to do your part in improving the relationship, write in your calendar the date and time you will call them, or invite them over for tea.
In the end, we know that these actions may or may not result in an immediate fix.Â However, they set you up to resolve your feelings of dissatisfaction and put you at ease, knowing that you have done what you can.
â€œWherever you are and whatever you do, be in love.â€ â€“ Rumi
â€¢ Recognize that your relationships are part of the picture of your total health.
â€¢ Be mindful of the relationships that support you.
â€¢ Be present and take steps towards fulfilling your needs.
â€¢ Have patience; treat yourself and others with the love you wish for yourself.
Bahareh is a holistic health coach based in Encinitas, CA.Â She works with individuals to help them eat better, have more energy, manage stress, and find balance in their lives.