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SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS By Aderonke Nofiu

Poor social relationships have a significant negative impact on mental health. Social relationships positively affect major areas of our everyday life, including one’s well-being, functioning, mood and satisfaction with life.

Healthy social relationships have been proven to have both short- and long-term effects on health and quality of life.

Relationships help us feel we are not alone. Even when we are alone in the confinement of our homes, we still have online interactions with others, via social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram and so much more.

Imagine being home alone, your phone is dead and there is no promise of any source of light anytime soon. Horrible experience, right?

Now imagine experiencing this for a number of days. You definitely will go out to either visit a friend, family or find a way to power your phone. Hence, we cannot really go on without social activities, and social activities cannot happen without relationships.

How does this affect our mental health? Imagine not having friends in your class as a student and then it’s time for exams, a study material is made available rather late and you have no one to inform you about it because you do not talk to anyone in class.

During the exam, you are left confused as you are unable to answer most of the questions. Upon leaving the exam hall, you hear classmates discussing the questions and making reference to how helpful the study material was. This experience leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. You keep thinking about it so much and you develop some sadness. This feeling deepens when the results come and you realized that you did not do so well.

There are so many benefits to having friends – which is also form social relationships.

Not all relationships however are healthy. Some relationships affect your mental wellbeing.

How do you identify these kinds of relationships?

Still using the example above, imagine actually having friends in your class who know about the study material but decided not to tell you about it. You find out about it after the exam but once you confronted them, they give an unreasonable excuse as to why they did not tell you.

Their actions affect not just your academics, but your mental wellbeing. You keep thinking about their actions. You feel betrayed and are unable to trust them anymore. You feel unloved and unsupported. In this scenario, you will be right for limiting your movements with them, and engaging with another social circle that would help promote your success, and your mental health.

Make a choice to be in the social circle that is healthy for you. This could mean family members, friends, work colleagues, church unit, neighbors etc. Being around positive and supportive people is highly important, as they can positively affect your mood and feelings.

Always surround yourself with people that affect your mood and feelings positively because your mental health is of utmost importance to your overall functioning.

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