During this time of the year, love is in the air. People seem to be so much happier and carefree as the days are filled with sunlight and warmth. Thailand is known as one of the top wedding destinations in the world. It’s also very common to see plenty of holiday lovers renewing wedding vows, celebrating anniversaries, enjoying their honeymoon or even being proposed to at a romantic hilltop restaurant overlooking the Andaman Sea.

What a pleasure to be around so many who have or will someday say, “I Do”. I sometimes like to say that it is healthy to say, “I Do”. The question that I am often posed after this statement is; “What do relationships have to do with health?”. I’m going to show you how ‘relationships’ have everything to do with your health.

Most relationships within our lives we find to be very enjoyable. Making our lives happy and looking forward to continued experiences with these individuals. Some, however, can cause danger or toxins to our emotional, physical health and well-being.  You see, we all relate to one another on different levels, as you can access by taking a look at some of the relationships that surround your own life today. Some may be easy and others burdensome. We are going to take a look at how these relationships affect your overall health.

Everyone has a need to be socially and personally connected – having lots of relationships that make them feel good and happy. However, when relationships are taxing and stressful they will begin to wear on your health, primarily through your emotions. Once your emotions are triggered towards negative feelings like anxiety, anger, bitterness, worry and the like; your body will begin to give off signals or warning signs that there are needs to be changed. If you ignore those warning signs for long periods of time, your body will then begin to display those affects.

Here are just a few examples of what the body does when it is placed under stress.

When we are under stress the body begins to produce Cortisol, which is identified as a force called, “Fight or Flight”. When someone quickly comes from out of nowhere and scares you; this is the feeling that instantly happens when the Cortisol in your body spikes. You will get this instant urge of either running or fighting for your life. It’s all emotionally triggered and you have very little control over how your body will react. There are a few emotions that emit this hormone during those moments. Anger, hostility and bitterness are at the top of their class when it comes to producing the “Fight or Flight” response. Left unaddressed, the body’s immune system will be reduced, which in turn will bring you to a place of ill health, especially in the heart.

In fact, negative relationships can increase your risk of heart problems by more than 30%. There are a number of additional illnesses that are directly linked to stress; cancer, weight gain, intestinal disorders, muscle spasms, high blood pressure and more.

When we are in relationships where we consistently experience stress, anger, bitterness, un-forgiveness and so on, we need to take the time to look at what we are going to do to make a change in that relationship. Some of the damaging effects that poor relationships can have on your health include heart problems, high blood pressure, ulcers, joint and muscle pain, headaches, chronic fatigue and even weight gain. When your emotions are stressed your body literally becomes acidic. When your emotions are free and your mood is elevated your body produces Endorphins, the body’s natural, feel good, pain-killing hormone. When stressed, our immune system is compromised and when happy our immune system is boosted.

There is a quote I really enjoy that I believe simply sums up the difference between the two.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. 

We will never be able to avoid stresses and challenges in relationships, but there are ways for you to begin to make changes towards healthy and vital relationships.  Remember, You depend on it.

Here are seven keys to help you make the most of your Relationships.

Examine: Recognize your emotions and begin to ask yourself why you are having them in relationship to your circumstances.

Speak: Express your feelings in an appropriate manner. Don’t avoid the initial onset of emotions, as they will trigger other emotions if left unaddressed. Communicate your thoughts around your emotions. This will help to keep your emotions balanced.

Laugh: Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, increases blood circulations, and relieves tension and stress. It increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.

Meditate: Have those inner voice conversations. Allow your mind and spirit to engage with one another. Your spirit will never lead you wrong as it is the voice of truth and reason.

Keep a journal: Write down your thoughts and feelings. Use this as a resource that you can go back to in order to address emotions that you may have ignored. It is a great tool to have as you can express yourself without doing anyone harm. You can return to the journal to discover new ways of communicating in a positive manner.

Exercise: Physical activities help you feel better about yourself, improve your mood and give you a better outlook on life and relationships.

Serve: When you are helping others your attention is given to them and not to yourself. You are removed from the emotion of your own personal ‘drama’. Discover circumstances and relationships to be thankful for. And a reason to fight for the emotional health of each relationship placed within your life.

by Zina Docto

Zina is the founder of “i AM WOMAN”: Educating woman to discover their health and beauty from the inside out: overcome weight issues, sickness and disease.

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