The 16th-22nd May is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the focus is on relationships and the effects positive and meaningful relationship can have on mental health.
A 75-year ongoing study on adult development revealed some really interesting findings about what truly makes humans happy and satisfied – Good relationships keep us happier and healthier!
There are few key lessons I took away from this study, which I’ve briefly summarised for you:
- Social connections are really good for us – people who were more socially connected to family, friends and their communities were happier, physically healthier and they live longer than those who were less connected.
- Quality over quantity – the study found that it didn’t matter how many friends you have or if you are in a committed relationship, it’s the quality of your close relationships that matter. Living in the midst of conflict without much affection is bad for your health – so surround yourself with positive, loving relationships and reap the benefits!
- Happiness = health – the people who were most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. The study also found that positive relationships can actually reduce the effect physical pain has on their happiness.
- Good relationships protect the brain – being in a meaningful relationship supports memory function and prevented early memory decline.
When we think about relationships, we often think about our family and friends, but forget how important our work relationships are also. On average, we spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our friends and family, so it is crucial that work relationships are just as positive and supportive.
When it comes to work, positive relationships don’t just make you happy and make the workday fly by; they also improve:
- Team morale
- Employee engagement and empowerment
Our internal team is quite a small, tightknit team which means that we are very sensitive to each other’s moods and feelings. This is a wonderful thing to have within a team; however it also means that if any relationships do become strained (which is perfectly normal every now and then!) we all feel the impact straight away. To be honest, I think it’s a great thing because it also means that it never lasts long. We all know that it needs to be addressed right away and dealt with, which is exactly what we do.
Sounds like it’s easier said than done, but it actually isn’t. Many of the workshops we facilitate for our clients contain modules that help build as well as maintain healthy relationships within teams, so we really have no excuse to not use them ourselves!
Some of the modules we use are:
- The 7 Es of building a culture of wellbeing
- Transactional analysis
- Monkey management
- Betari’s box
- Appropriate behaviour – Effective management vs Bullying
- Internal conflict resolution
- Effective communication
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week we want to encourage you to build positive relationships with your teams as well. If you’d like to learn some of the modules/techniques mentioned above, please do get in touch and let us know.
‘Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients’ – Richard Branson
Sabina Darie, Head of Marketing and PR (and Mischief!), The Stress Management Society