Who are those friends, family members and colleagues who make you feel good? When after a chat with them, you feel inspired to do more good things and feel better mentally? These people are your positive mental health influencers.
Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives, yet we can often forget just how crucial our connections with other people are for our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
People who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.1 It’s not just the number of friends you have, or if you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close friendships that matter. Living in conflict or being in a toxic relationship, or friendship, is more damaging than being alone – so you could say ‘it’s better to be alone than in bad company’.2
How we interact with one another and form relationships has changed considerably over the past decade. The modern family structure, reliance on online technologies, longer working hours, and changes in how we live mean that who we connect with and how we connect is constantly changing.1
What can we do to increase the number of positive mental health influencers in our lives?
Invest the time
Jot down the names of 3 people who make you feel good, leave you wanting to talk to them more and inspire to hope for more. The answers may include different names for each question.
How much time do you spend with the people you have written down? Do your best to see if you can spend more time with these people.
Find a community that meet face to face
Being part of a community helps us feel connected, supported and gives us a sense of belonging. Involvement in local activities, such as volunteering or joining clubs have been shown to improve mental health and wellbeing.1
Make a relationship resolution
The Mental Health Foundation is encouraging all of us to go the extra mile in prioritising our relationships, by making a relationship resolution to think about how much time we actively commit to building and maintaining good relationships, and to challenge us to invest more time in being present with and listening to friends, family and colleagues. Check out Mental Health Foundation’s guidance on great mental health.
Make your relationship resolution today, build your network of positive mental health influencers and reap the benefits for your health and wellbeing.