8 ways to heal unhappy relationships and improve your health

October 2, 2015

A study of 105 middle-age British government employees found that women and men with more marital worries had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as higher levels of stress and high blood pressure — factors that raise risk for heart attack and stroke. Here are some ways to heal unhappy relationships and benefit your health.

8 ways to heal unhappy relationships and improve your health

Reasons to fix unhappy relationships

  • If your union has been unhappy or hostile for a long time, pay extra attention to your mental health and your heart health.
  • Creating a happy marriage can lead to a longer, healthier life: Married people are more likely than single people to take simple health-promoting steps on a daily basis such as eating breakfast, wearing seat belts, getting physical activity, having regular blood pressure checks and not smoking.
  • And be patient: In another study, most unhappy couples who simply stayed together were very happy within five years.

Repair plan

  • Stop expecting perfection from your mate.
  • Experts say most couples — even those in happy marriages — have six to 10 areas of disagreement that may never be resolved.
  • Your marriage may not be broken at all — just normal!

Keep your love account in the black

  • According to various experts, it takes five to 20 positive statements to outweigh the damage wrought by a single negative remark.

Don't try to change your partner

  • When things aren't going right, change the way you act.
  • Marriage experts say that trying to force your partner to change rarely works, and worse, it creates lots of resentment.
  • If you take good-hearted steps to improve, it'll be noticed.


  • Human touch triggers the release of feel-good endorphins — for giver and receiver alike.

Spend time together every day

  • Spend 20 to 30 minutes a day chatting together about your daily lives, your dreams, your plans.
  • Make time for intimacy — even if it means scheduling it in your day planner.

Listen carefully to your spouse

  • Don't try to defend yourself or argue — just respect what he or she has to say. This alone can go a long way toward ending the fights and finding a healthier common ground.

Skip the blame game

  • Setting your partner up as the bad guy ignores the 80 to 90 percent of him or her that's really wonderful.
  • Criticism, contempt, confrontation and hostility don't help anything. Instead, express concerns by calmly and honestly talking about how you feel.

Raise concerns when you both have time and energy to discuss them

  • Late at night, when you're rushing out the door or when you are hungry isn't the right time.

Studies show that an unhappy relationship can raise your odds for weight gain, depression, lowered immunity, stomach ulcers and heart disease risk. In contrast, a happy marriage may protect your health because spouses imitate each other's healthy habits. When you make a conscious effort to fix your relationships, you'll also be making an effort to fix your health

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