Family Relationship - Effects on Health
One hundred years ago families were typically larger, and they tended to live their lives in the same general vacinity. Children grew up, married and usually lived close to their parents and even their grandparents. Families today are a bit more complicated as parents may be remarried with step-children and many family members may live in other states. People are waiting longer to marry and some choose not to marry.
Previous studies on relationships tended to focus on the romantic relationships, particularly on marriages to look at long term health problems, whether they were physical or psychological. However, more recent studies are looking at family dynamics and what that includes, which will probably be love, parental advice or strain. Family relationships play a key role in a person’s well-being throughout life, for better or worse.
You go through life wondering what is it all about but at the end of the day it's all about family.
When families resort to being critical, making way too many demands or having arguments, then the stress level rises and health problems may be the result. The stress resulting from an unhealthy family environment can undermine mental health and a person’s well-being throughout their life.
A study of 2,082 people that was completed in 2014, found that a strained relationship with a person’s siblings, parents or their extended family can be more harmful to a person’s health then a problematic romantic relationship, according to the American Psychological Association. The study began in 1995, the surveys were completed in 1995 to 1996, 2004 to 2006 and from 2013-2014. At the start of this study the average person was 45 years old.
Their survey asked several questions about family strain that did not include the spouse. One questions asked “How much can you rely on your family for help if you have a serious problem?” Other questions asked were about how much their spouse supported them when they had problems with their family members and how much they argued with their family.
The study results concluded that the emotional climate had an impact on people’s development or worsening of a chronic illness, such as headaches or strokes. Unlike studies that did not find an intimate relationship impacted physical health when there were familor stressors, but strained relationships with siblings, parents or extended family may be more harmful according to the American Psychological Association.
Social stress is a term that reflects a person’s relationships with other people and from the social environment. Chronic stress is experienced when there is ongoing emotional, behavioral or physiological stressors that can put your at a higher risk for developing a physical illness or mental disorder.
Those fortunate enough to grow up in a healthy family, whose parents are supportive, will have better self-esteem. There is a very positive effect on mental well-being. Providing encouragement goes a long way toward raising a well-balanced child.
7 Signs You Came from a Dysfunctional Family
Change the Dynamics
If you are from a family that has had many problems throughout the years it may not be too late to change the dynamics. We are living in a time with great diversity regarding politics, religion and other problems. The one thing you can do is to forgive someone for their past words or actions. Do this for your own benefit, as anger increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline, while cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases. Also, the left hemisphere of the brain is stimulated. Letting go of anger is a voluntary action. Your anger might be justified but forgiveness will give you relief, and it stops allowing the other person to control your thoughts.
There are many stressful things in life, such as jobs, caring for children and often caring for parents as they age. Family members should talk and share the burden of caring for a parent. A spouse can help with the children, meals and house cleaning. If you have a child that is ill, it can be a fulltime job, and we all need support in that type of situation.
Improve Your Family Relationship
There are several ways to improve family relationships. One way is to not play the martyr. Do not help out a family member just to receive praise but help out a family member just because you want to help. Do it out of love.
Learn everything you can about each family member by being interested in things they are currently doing and share your current interests as well. You cannot be whoever your family might want you to be, so be true to yourself.
Do not every hold onto past grudges or bitterness. Pretending to be a over a wound is not a healthy choice. Either forgive or try to discuss your feelings with the other person to resolve that pain. It is important to accept your differences and be grateful for similarities. For the survival of any relationship, know it is okay to disagree. You can still be friends with different opinions about any topic.
Let everyone breathe. In other words, allow space between yourself and your family members. Give space to everyone you love so they can be free of constraints. Everyone needs balance in their life. Do not take too much or give too much.
If there is a person in your family that tries to harm you in any way, love them from a distance. No one deserves abuse in any form.
Family Relationship Advice: How to Deal With Negative Family Members
Let you family members know how much you love each one of them. You can strengthen your family relationships by being open and honest with them. Let each one know how much you love and respect them. Spend the time you have together in a way that is fun and with open communication.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby