Healthy relationships are essential for a healthy mind

Consider the following… imagine that you are offered the opportunity to move to a tropical island of your choosing. You will be provided with a choice of beachfront mansions. Each with an infinity pool overlooking your very own harbour. Moored in the harbour is your state-of-the-art yacht, naturally. When you´re not on your yacht, you can choose from a selection of supercars and drive to an array of fancy restaurants and boutiques. You are free to spend your days in this fashion, with no limits on material wealth.


The one, tiny catch is that there are no other human beings on the island. Everything is operated by robots. There would be nobody for you to laugh with. No one with whom to share your experiences or comfort you. Do you think you would accept this offer?

Many people find that the prospect of a life without human connection overrides the appeal of unlimited material wealth. This is because we are social beings and healthy relationships are central to our well-being. In the field of inter-personal neurobiology (IPNB), Dr Dan Siegel describes how our brains are physically shaped by our relationships. INPB stresses the importance of taking good care of our connections because healthy relationships are essential for a healthy mind.

In the context of addiction specifically, Johan Hari sums up the crucial importance of relationships beautifully, ¨the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it´s connection¨. In his book, The Globalization of Addiction, Dr Bruce Alexander provides a compelling discussion of addiction in the context of social circumstances that erode human connection and belonging.

The thing with authentic, long-term relationships, however, is that they are bound to involve a degree of disagreement or conflict from time to time. This is perfectly natural of course, and in fact it is actually possible to improve your relationships and feel even more connected with others if you are able to resolve this conflict in a healthy way. Conflict resolution is not always easy but it is an important part of healthy relationships. Here are a couple of strategies that might help you along the way.

I statements (when you, I feel, what I would like is…). I statements can be a helpful way of addressing tension by expressing how you feel without the other person feeling directly attacked. For example, when you show up late, I feel unimportant and what I would like is for you to please make an effort to try to arrive on time in future.

Swapping shoes (not literally!). If you are experiencing tension with someone, try putting yourself in their shoes so that you can better understand their perspective. When you feel like you might have a good understanding of their point of view, try checking it out with them to see if you´ve understood where they´re coming from.

We would love to hear about your thoughts or experiences with these exercises so please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with us at Bali Beginnings at[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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