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My Sadness Hurts My Heart

“Did you know that your feelings affect your health?” I asked Melinda and Dan in their marriage counseling session one day. “And, did you know that psychological research tells us that people in secure loving relationships have a lower risk of heart disease? “ I added.

“So you’re telling me that the conflict in our marriage is increasing my risk of heart problems?” Melinda asked.  “I often feel despair and sadness,” she explained, “ but did not realize the toll my sadness and stress was taking on my health.”

It has become clearer to Psychologists and physicians that there is a close relationship between physical health and one’s happiness. Having significant social and romantic relationships helps to cushion the seriousness of health issues. Friends and family can provide support for modifying exercise or eating habits. They can act as cheerleaders to help with depression or stress.

Even certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and asthma can be more successfully handled by couples and families when there is solid positive communication and support in the family. “When we are getting along, I feel strong. I know I can deal with my difficult boss, or handle the stressful meeting,” explained Melinda. “When Dan and I have a fight, I feel off balance and defeated. I have more self-doubt and less energy. So I’m glad we are learning better communication and coping skills. We are able to resolve things more quickly and get back our balance.”

We often talk about the importance of work-life balance. We know we need play time to balance our work time. However, it’s important to also acknowledge that we need balance in our relationships. Indeed, our relationships have powerful effects on our happiness and our health. Learning to more successfully manage your relationships will create very positive effects in your life.

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