How do our relationships impact our mental health?

7 tips on building positive connections with others

UNICEF
Աղջիկները գրկված երաժշտություն են լսում:
UNICEF Armenia/2020/Biayna Mahari
12 August 2022

Our relationships are closely connected to our well-being, and they can impact us in helpful and unhelpful ways.  

When we say relationships, we mean all kinds – with our friends, our families, or our teachers – and even with ourselves!  

So, if you’re interested to know things like: 

  • Why it’s important to be your own best friend  
  • How to deal with difficult relationships and have better connections  
  • How you can be a good friend to others and support their mental health... 

Then keep scrolling! 

 

7 tips on building positive connections with others

TIP 1

Know what you feel and need. Being able to recognize our feelings and needs is a skill that anyone can practice. Here are some things to try:

  • Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. Did helping a friend make you feel proud? Did reading a kind text make you feel joy? Did not doing well on an exam make you feel dissappointed?
  • Expand your emotional vocabulary. How many feelings can you name? What are different ways to describe feeling happy, sad, angry, afraid?
  • Keep a journal. Regularly writing down how you feel and why you feel that way is a good way to help you become more self-aware.
  • Express yourself through music, art, dance or other creative ways. These are all ways to connect with and express your feelings.

TIP 2

Listening is essential to understanding and connecting with others. When you’re having a conversation with someone, put distractions (like your phone!) aside, ask follow-up questions, and summarize what you’ve heard. 

Երիտասարդ աղջիկը կիթառ է նվագում:
UNICEF Armenia/2020/Biayna Mahari

TIP 3

Listening is essential to understanding and connecting with others. When you’re having a conversation with someone, put distractions (like your phone!) aside, ask follow-up questions, and summarize what you’ve heard. 

TIP 4

You can’t always control the way others behave, but you can respectfully let them know what’s on your mind. It might not be easy at first but try expressing how you feel and saying what you need or would like the other person to do.

For example, “I feel ___________ right now, I need /could you please ________.” 

Being able to communicate what we feel and need in a respectful way is a learned skill and like with any skill, we become better at it with practice. Learning to be aware of our emotions and communicate them to others is the first step to enjoy the good mental health you deserve.

TIP 5

Use “I” statements. Starting your sentences with “I” shows that you take ownership of your feelings. Using “you” statements often places focus or blame on others.

😊 Try Saying This

🤨 Avoid Saying This

I feel stressed when I am running late, can we leave earlier?

You always make us late!

I feel frustrated right now

You frustrate me!

I feel unheard, can I have a chance to say something?

You never listen to me!

It makes me upset when I’m left out

You always make plans without me!
Երիտասարդը զրուցում է ընկերների հետ:
UNICEF Armenia/2020/Biayna Mahari

TIP 6

Say "no". Learning when and how to say no is an important way to take care of yourself. Saying "no" can be difficult. Here are some things that might help:

Let others know they matter, but you do too:

  • “I appreciate that, but no thank you.”
  • “I care about you, but I can’t.”
  • “I can see why this might suit you, but it doesn’t work well for me.”

Explain your reason for saying no:

  • “I can’t because I have another commitment already.”
  • “I wish I could, but unfortunately I don’t have enough time this week.”
  • “To be honest, I don’t feel comfortable with this, so I will have to say no.”

Suggest an alternative:

  • “Today I don’t have time, but perhaps in a few weeks?”
  • “This isn’t very realistic for me, perhaps you could ask John?”
  • “I don’t want to watch a movie right now, but what about if we went for a walk instead?”

TIP 7

Remember, disagreement and difference are not the same things as being bullied or harmed. If you are ever feeling unsafe or hurt in a relationship, try reaching out to a trusted friend or adult for support.

Asking for help isn’t always easy but it’s a sign of courage and a way to take care of yourself. And, If there is something troubling you and you feel like you can't tell anyone, reach out to a trusted adult, like teacher, or your school psychologist or seek support from other professionals providing psychological support or call the support hotline +37460627070.


This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government