Strong, healthy relationships are a powerful weapon against stress: They give us emotional support, keep us grounded, and remind us of what's really important in life. But finding -- and keeping -- them can be a challenge in itself. These tips can help you cultivate positive relationships and improve (or get rid of) negative ones.
Research has long suggested that having friends benefits both sexes. But women, especially, lean on their pals as a way to cope when the going gets tough. Forming close female bonds, then, is important to your health. If you're not happy with yours, make a move to improve them.
It's extremely common for bickering and squabbles to occur among friends. If you're the one that your pals always run to to listen to their problems -- or to mediate fights between them -- you may need to push pause and put the focus back on you.
Your friends want a confidante, a sympathetic ear, a sage dispenser of advice -- but this can put you in an awkward position. Before you do anything, you need to make a mental commitment to staying true to yourself and getting what you need.
You can see it now: your combative Aunt Barb cornering you at a family get-together, your squinty-eyed sister-in-law calling your personal life into question over dessert. Families come in all shapes and sizes, but they rarely come without the (at least) occasional feuds.
Whether you see your family members every day or once a year, chances are high that your interactions won't always go smoothly. But if you can change the way you navigate these interactions, you'll set yourself up for a more positive experience.
If you struggle with shyness when you're with groups of people, it can be hard to make new friends and enjoy social situations.
The next time you're hanging out with friends, ask yourself, "What would I be doing if I were not shy?" Imagine how your body would feel -- relaxed, alert, light? Choose one action to take, perhaps hugging goodbye, making a joke, or even just smiling. Let your desire for connection help you conquor this fear.
Looking for true love can be stressful, especially if you feel the pressure of friends, family, and society to find someone -- anyone -- before time runs out. But how can you get what you want from your relationships if you don't even know what you really need?
In his book "Elemental Love Styles," relationship counselor Craig Martin outlines a simple way to determine what you should look for in a partner. Take our quiz to discover your relationship type and approach your love life in a new way.