Meaningful relationships are beneficial to mental health

May 24, 2024

Relationships, family, and our drive to connect with others is a fundamental human need. These are seen as base level necessities and take prominence in pioneering psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. They are second only to the physiological needs of oxygen, food, and sleep. Maslow’s pyramid demonstrates that without fulfilling the base layers of need then people will not be able to obtain the pinnacle of self-actualisation which is reaching our full potential and having the desire and drive to want to do so.

It is therefore a priority that we form meaningful, equitable and healthy relationships with our family, friends, and people around us. By doing this successfully we are then able to lead by example what a fulfilling relationship looks like.

But relationships are hard, they are complex and intricate and are impacted by the constant change and challenge of our lives and this can be difficult to navigate by ourselves.

Alongside our relationships with family and others is the relationship we have with ourselves. The key to being able to engage in meaningful connections with others, that encourage growth and personal development, lies in knowing ourselves well, knowing how and why we react the way that we do and being able to take ownership and responsibility for our actions and behaviours.

Much like we exercise, eat well and prioritise sleep to protect our physical health now and in the future, maintaining good relationships are a key factor in protecting our mental health.

Therapy can be an extremely powerful tool to aid in the relationships we have with ourselves, family, and partners. Therapy can be used to navigate difficult and sudden circumstances, but it can be extremely effective when engaged in proactively. People who engage in counselling before crisis point is reached tend to require less sessions and have better outcomes.

The majority of adults in Scotland are in relationships. It is vitally important that these relationships are looked after and their health priortised. There is research that correlates areas where there is government funded provision of couples counselling to lower rates of crime and drug abuse. Prisoners who engage in couples counselling prior to release have a reportedly much lower risk of reoffending.

Relationships Scotland offer family, individual and couples counselling across Scotland. Our experienced practitioners are able to work with people who are in crisis and with people who are wanting to explore things proactively.