In This Chapter
^ Discovering the connection between emotions and relationships ^ Examining your relationship
^ Enhancing your relationship with positive actions ^ Dealing with endings
^^upportive relationships provide a buffer against all types of emotional distress.
Numerous studies indicate that good relationships and social support improve both mental and physical health. Humans apparently are social animals that are biologically programmed to function better when in supportive relationships. Like gorillas, birds, and ants, we thrive in close-knit colonies. Therefore, working to improve your relationships can help boost your moods, increase your ability to handle stress, and create a sense of well-being.
Yet, distressing emotions can get in the way of your attempts to improve your relationships. Such emotions can harm friendships, intimate relationships, and even relationships with co-workers or relative strangers. So, along with the obvious ways of working to alleviate your anxiety or depression, shoring up your relationships will also improve your moods.
In this chapter, we review strengthening strategies that you can apply to almost any type of relationship. However, we emphasize intimate relationships because disruptions in these types of relationships cause the most harm and because repairing them is enormously beneficial to your mental health. In addition, we help you cope with the loss of a relationship because such an event can be quite traumatic and trigger intense feelings of anxiety and/or despair.
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