Health and relationships - creating better physical and emotional wellbeing - relationship advice
Is your relationship affecting your health?
Have you ever heard that a good relationship will benefit your health? The great news is recent research has found this to be true. But here’s the catch: so is the opposite.
Population studies have found that married people tend to live longer and suffer fewer long-term illnesses than single people; however it’s the quality of a relationship that determines its effect on health. While married people often engage in less risky behaviour (such as smoking and drinking) and tend to have the benefit of a spouse who encourages them to look after their health, just being married doesn’t automatically increase your chance of a long and healthy life.
A poor relationship can actually take its toll on both your physical and emotional wellbeing. UK research suggests that, even when allowing for social and biological factors, people who have experienced negative aspects of a close relationship are at greater risk of heart disease than those who haven’t.
In fact, there’s even evidence to suggest that single people tend to be healthier than those in unhappy relationships, who typically have high stress levels.
While it’s normal for stress levels to rise and fall as your relationship goes through its ups and downs, chronic stress, caused by a relationship that’s been making you unhappy for a prolonged period of time, can lead to a variety of health problems.
Common physical side effects of chronic stress include headaches, stomach aches, sleep problems, and skin problems such as acne and psoriasis.
But ending an unhappy relationship isn’t an instant solution to any health problems linked to stress. Relationship breakdown and divorce can also create stress and have a negative effect on both emotional and physical wellbeing.
For some couples it’s possible to use online relationship advice or face to face counselling services to work through the issues creating stress in the relationship. Fortunately, those successful in getting their relationship back on track will experience reduced stress levels and see the health benefits of a happy relationship once again.
Of course, where problems are particularly deep-rooted, couples may find their relationship can’t be fixed and staying together will only create more stress. In these instances it’s important to seek support and advice for separating couples that will help reduce stress levels for both partners and any children involved. Check out the CoupleConnection’s companion website the ParentConnection for information and expert advice on reducing the negative impact of separation.
Research from the University of Chicago shows that people who divorce but go on to have a happy remarriage enjoy roughly the same health benefits as those who have a happy first marriage. So whether you’re in your first major relationship or your third, it’s important to take the right steps to keep your relationship healthy and happy.
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