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Relationships and health

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Relationships! What are they and what on earth have they got to do with health? Read on to find out more.

Relationships and you

Everyday you interact with people. You might hang out with them because you want to or because you don't have any choice. You might really like them or not think much of them at all.

Relationships are not just about who you are 'going out with' or 'hooking up with'. They are about the interaction you have with people every day. Your relationship might be close, supportive, stressful or really not matter to you much. Here are some examples.

  • Family - You might or might not live with them; get along with them or have massive fights; never have met them; or they are your best friends.
  • Your peers - Some might be your closest mates; others might be people you don't like at all. Check out the topic 'Peer pressure'.
  • Online mates - Never seen their face but chat all the time
  • TV, movie characters or our favourite band - You probably have never met them, but you see or hear them all the time.
  • School or work - You might not hang out with them if you didn't have to.
  • Your partner - He or she could be your best mate or the person who gets to you most!
  • Your butcher, your doctor, your postie, your local politician - You might meet regularly or never meet. We have a relationship with our community whether we feel a part or separate from it.
  • Your child/children

Think of all the people in your life. They might be people you know personally or have never met. All of these relationships have an effect (positive or negative) in your life. This effect can be tiny, huge or anywhere in between!

Here are some of the great things that relationships can do for you.

  • Make you feel like you belong and are valued.
  • Increase your confidence.
  • Provide understanding, respect, trust and care.
  • Support you to try out ideas, new things or discuss your opinions.
  • Provide a safe place to be, and learn about, yourself.

What do you think makes a good relationship? How does a positive relationship help you? How do you choose your relationships and why? How do you cope with relationships that you don't really want anything to do with?

Relationships and health

Positive relationships are important for good health. If you have supportive, loving relationships you are more likely to feel happy and satisfied with your life.

Relationships affect how you feel about yourself and cope with things that happen. Being aware of the way relationships affect you can help you make choices about your health.

Try this!
Think of a person you know. Close your eyes and think about time you spend together.

  • How do you feel when you are around this person?
  • What happens in the relationship for you to feel that way?
  • What does this person tell you about yourself? (This might not be in words, the messages we get about ourselves in relationships can be very subtle)

A hard thing about relationships is that you do not have control of what the other person or people do. Sometimes relationships can contribute to things like stress, depression, loss of self-esteem or confidence and even physical illness. It is important to think about the things that you can do to protect or care for yourself and your health.

Read our other topics in the "Relationships" section of this site for information you can use to deal with the relationships in your life!

Healthy relationships

Here are some things to look out for in healthy relationships.

  • Respect - no put-downs, each of you having the right to have an opinion, listening and being able to voice what you think and feel.
  • Trust
  • Honesty - openness and honesty about what you think, feel and do.
  • Safety - feeling safe from physical, emotional, sexual or other forms of abuse.
  • Equality - look out for power in relationships and who holds it. Feeling powerless or more powerful than another person can affect your health.
  • Consistency - you know where you and others stand.
  • Value - you feel valued and value the relationship.
  • Security/loyalty - you feel safe that both parties value the relationship.
  • Empathy - listening and understanding each other - putting yourself in the other person's shoes.
  • Genuineness - is a human, natural and honest relationship.

Resources

South Australia

  • The Youth Health Service
    - Central: 57 Hyde St, Adelaide
    - South: 50a Beach Rd, Christies Beach
    - North: 6 Gillingham Rd, Elizabeth
    - West: 51 Bower St, Woodville
  • Relationships Australia - Ph: 82234566.
  • Your local Community Health Centre.
  • Your school counsellor.
  • Your local library may have further reading.

 Australia

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Youth Healthline on 1300 13 17 19 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
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