I'd like to begin The Relationship Scientist column with a little self-disclosure: I do lots of things to stay healthy. Here’s my list:
Your list might look similar to mine. I think it’s fairly standard for a Western, health-conscious person of my generation (I’m thirty-something.)
I have one other thing on my list that may not be on your list: I cultivate the heck out of my marriage, my relationships with my son, my parents, my brother and his family, my in-laws, and my friendships. I try every single day to make my relationships as good as they can be, and I do this in large part for my health.
I’m preciously aware that my mental and physical health are closely linked to my relationships, because the evidence that high quality relationships can be as good for health as not smoking and as having a low body mass index is without dispute. As your relationships go, so goes your health.
I’m a psychological scientist— a researcher and a tenured professor at the University of Arizona. My research is dedicated to understanding how close relationships work and, in particular, how people cope when relationships come to an end. I mostly study adults’ reactions to divorce, and doing so necessitates that I know a great deal about how relationships operate in general. To understand why people grieve and how they mourn, I must know about what it is that is lost when relationships end.
Second, I am a clinical psychologist, and I have spent a good amount of my time working with couples and families who are having relationship problems. I’ve also worked with many people who come to “individual therapy” to talk about improving their relationships and/or dealing with relationship transitions. My clinical training and experience gives me the ability to understand the nuts-and-bolts of changing and improving relationships, and I hope this experience will be useful as I write this column and respond to your questions on YouBeauty.com.
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