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5 Tips for Healing the Relationships In Your Life

Relationships aren't always easy to maintain. People change, circumstances in life don't always stay the same. When there are major changes in someone's life, the relationships they have can also change. For instance, if someone develops a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, their relationships with others might be affected. If someone struggles with an addiction for months or years, their relationships will likely be burdened.

Yet, even when relationships go through a difficult time, any person in the relationship can strive to make it better. They might give their relationships more attention, helping to repair what happened in the past. They might place more emphasis on spending time with that person in order to strengthen the relationship. By strengthening relationships, a person also strengthens the support they have in their life. The more company a person has around them (whether it's family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors) the more likely they will feel supported.  

If your relationships have suffered in the past and you're ready to repair and strengthen them, here are a few tips to do that.

1.     Be empatheticEmpathy is important to building relationships. To empathize with another you're putting yourself in their shoes emotionally and psychologically. The main point to empathizing is to deeply understand and feel the reasons why the other person is feeling or behaving the way they are. Part of this is to feel and understand another's point of view, but not feeling obligated to agree with them. This kind of respect for one another can help build relationships.

2.     Develop communication skills. Learning to listen to others will help them feel heard and understood. When a person feels validated this way, they are more likely to do the same for you. As communication skills improve so will the quality of the relationship. Of course, there are many types of skills that can improve communication. You might work with a mental health provider, such as a therapist to learn these skills. Ultimately, growing your ability to communicate with others will help you express your needs and desires in a mature way, help you express what might be hard to communicate, and help you listen to others more deeply.

3.     Laugh Together: Laughing together is a great way to build bonds between people. You might use humor, if you can, to shift the direction of a conversation from anger to absurdity. Search for something that gets the funny bone moving among everyone in the family. However, it's important to use laughter respectfully and not at the expense of others.

4.     Relax Together: Relaxation can create a psychological state that can invite solutions you might not have otherwise thought of. When the mind and body are relaxed, your inner resources are more easily accessible. In this state, you might see a situation differently. Relaxation activities such as watching a movie, meditation, yoga, or exercise can be a great way to bond with another person.

5.     Have Fun Together:  Just like laughing together, having fun can also keep things light and strengthen the bonds between people. It's easy to forget to have fun when there's so much to do, but if you make time for play on a regular basis, you may find that you and the people in your life are enjoying life more often.

These are suggestions for building bonds and strengthening relationships with the people in your life. If you're having a hard time repairing a relationship, you might consider contacting a mental health provider for support. 


Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.