4 Steps Towards Overall Health

Step 1:
Understanding Your "Total Health"

Step 2:
Make the Commitment

Step 3:
Assessment & Goals

Step 4:

Mental/Emotional Health
Social Health
Spiritual Health
Physical Health






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Social Health: Building/Improving Relationships

The Lesson Of the Porcupine

If I were asked what is the greatest single lesson that a child can be taught, my reply would be, “The Lesson of the Porcupine.” For a great philosopher has taught us that human social life can be compared with a group of porcupines sleeping on the ground on a wintry night. Should they roll together to gain warmth, they are apt to hurt one another with their prickly quills. Should they then toll apart to avoid pain, their loss of mutual support renders them isolated and exposed to the chill night. Porcupine comfort and contentment, then, are to be found in their discovery of the Perfect Distance.

We may define Perfect Distance as a state of separation that achieves warmth without intrusion, and independence without isolation. Transposing this to human experience we may conceive of the comfortable person as one who is warmly independent - when they come near they neither nettle nor smother; when they withdraw they neither neglect nor desert. Their love is without barbs; their self-sufficiency is compassionate and without estrangement. (

“No man is an island,” they say. Research has shown that those who maintain healthy relationships live longer, more satisfying lives. But how do we build these healthy relationships when we live in a decidedly unhealthy world?

  1. Figure out what “makes you tick.” You can’t learn how to improve your relationships until you understand your own relationship style, and why you do the things you do.
  2. Learn to communicate effectively. Communication is the key to successful relationships.
  3. Talk with your spouse, your children, and your significant others. Periodically set aside time when you won’t be interrupted and have an honest discussion about the state of your relationships. Are YOU meeting the needs of the important people in your life? Do they feel heard, and validated? Listen – don’t judge or make excuses. Express your own needs in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational manner.
  4. Don’t let resentments build. If something troubles you, discuss it before it becomes a serious issue. Encourage your loved ones to do the same.
  5. Spend quality time with God. Your relationship to the Father, and to his Son is the cornerstone of all your other relationships. If you maintain a close relationship with Him, he will teach you, and will use your relationships to make you the person He meant you to be.
  6. If you can’t improve your relationship or don’t know how, accept that you don’t know how. Seek professional help.
  7. Pray unceasingly. Let’s face it – we live in a world that isn’t conducive to healthy, happy relating. We need God’s grace to truly be successful.

Fighting Fairly
A major stumbling block in any relationship is settling disagreements, which often reduce to emotional shouting matches rather than caring problem solving. Basic ground rules for effectively facing conflict in a relationship include:

Read More:
Building Healthy Relationships: Univ. of Wisconsin
Social Assessment Quiz:
How to Create Truly Supportive Friendships:
Healthy Relationships: Northwestern University
Communication in Relationships:


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