It’s Mental Health Awareness Week at Pulse and this year’s theme is relationships. Relationships are fundamental to our health and wellbeing. We cannot flourish as individuals and communities without them. In fact, they are as vital as eating well, exercising more and stopping smoking.
Here are Pulse’s eight tips to building healthy relationships.
1. Give 10 minutes of your time
We live in a society where time is of the essence, give someone just 10 minutes of your time ask how their day has been. Knowing that someone cares enough to ask how you are and having the opportunity to share a problem can make all the difference.
2. Be a good listener
You get out what you put in. An important tip to any relationship is being equal. Listening to one another, whether it is a partner, friend or colleague, will help you both communicate effectively and understand each other’s point of view. Being listened to can boost a person’s self-esteem, it is the silent form of flattery and can make someone feel supported and valued.
3. Improve communication skills
Communication works best when someone understands you and doesn’t just hear you. Think about what it is you want to say and the best way to communicate it as misunderstandings are common, especially between colleagues. For example, a recent survey by Vault found that out of 1,000 workers, 51% said that the tone of their emails is often misperceived as angry, too casual or abrupt. Think about speaking to someone in person or by phone before writing an email.
4. Celebrate being different
We are all different. Celebrate the fact that we’re not all the same and learn to accept others opinions, behaviours and cultures - you don’t have to agree, but you might learn something and may find the other person is more open to your way of thinking.
5. Take social media with a pinch of salt
Do you question why others always looks so good? Or worry that they are more popular or interesting. In 2015, 1.2 billion selfies were taken by us Brits, many of which were added to social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Flickr after being touched up with a glossy filter. Recent studies showed filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on. Don’t believe everything you see, things aren’t always as they seem and most people don’t post a photo of themselves looking tired and slobbing out in front of the TV.
6. Managing technology
According to Ofcom, in 2015 93% of UK adults had a mobile phone and sent on average 117 text messages a month. Technology can be detrimental to quality time spent with family and friends and your relationships. Manage the amount of time you spend on computer games, tablets and phones and remember your mobile etiquette - put your phone away!
7. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking others for help or guidance can reduce your anxiety and stress and provide you with the support you need. If you’re not ready to talk to family or friends there are community support groups such as the Samaritans for you to call anonymously.
8. Be empathetic
We all have days when we wish we could crawl back under the duvet. Being empathetic is important to any relationship, whether it is with a colleague, friend or family member. There is a great saying ‘people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did but they won’t forget how you made them feel’. If you know someone is having a bad day cut them some slack, one day it might be you that needs that support.