Stiff competition, corporate stress, and demands of daily life can cause havoc in our minds and relationships. Depression, alienation, and a feeling of going nowhere is not uncommon in singles or couples today.

But the ways to improve mental health when you are in a relationship can be very fulfilling and enlightening for both the partners. Here are six things to do with your partner to boost your happiness quotient.

1. Talk, discuss, communicate
It takes two to tango, they say. A high flyer, philanthropist, business honcho or domestic goddess—whatever it is that you are or want to be in the near future—discuss your plans, goals, and ambitions with your partner.

Talking out your dreams, hopes, aspirations, and fears with your partner can be strangely enlightening. It gives you more clarity and discussing it helps partners to figure out how they can chart out a way together to fulfill their dreams and also be a source of strength to one another.

Make sure you both have each other’s backs so that one can do the risk-taking and the other can do the grounding. Such a practical approach can only come when partners communicate clearly. It increases levels of confidence, positivity, and self-esteem.

2. Join a club or community of like-minded people
Many studies have indicated that couples that socialize moderately stay mentally positive over couples that don’t mingle at all or do it too much. We are social beings and crave company of other humans. So when you both join a club of film lovers, foodies, book clubs and the like, you meet other people who share common interests, tell you things that you did not know earlier and vice versa.

You are not just communicating with your spouse, you are communicating with a community—there is a shared exchange of thoughts and information. When you come back, you have a variety of topics, conversation simulators between both of you which is healthy for any relationship. Besides, you both can just have a binge watch night of your own! That’s never a bad idea.

3. Exercise together
While this is not a rule—swimming, going for a run, or doing a salsa together can be fun for any couple. Have a common fitness goal and work towards it. It will release all those endorphins and help ease away a lot of stresses.

 

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Physical exercise together can also help couples feel more adventurous and give a boost to their sex life, which ultimately leads to greater happiness and consequently better mental health.

4. Be clear and non-judgmental about your finances and family
One thing that causes great stress between couples is often discussion of family members and finances. Break away those filters and pave the way for clear expression of what you want and feel with your partner.

During these conversations, avoid using phrases like ‘you should’, ‘you never’, ‘you always’; and instead focus on a collaborative, open approach like ‘ I was thinking’, ‘maybe we could’, ‘ what do you think’ to figure out issues of finances and family.

Be mindful, empathetic, and non-judgmental in matters of family and finances, and you will see both of you feel less overwhelmed and stressed and can concentrate on an action-centric approach.

5. Travel to new places

There’s nothing that a beach vacation can’t solve!

Travel opens up minds and hearts. Travel together to discover a new side to your partner, finding little known eateries, driving through the fog, getting lost in the middle of nowhere and feeling like explorers, or just indulging in a stay-cation with your partner can all be very rejuvenating and energizing and help you feel more positive and ready-to-take on the world together. So go on those drives, treks, and flights more often.

6. Be each other’s critic and cheerleader
Finally, if there is one thing you and your partner can do to improve mental health and focus is being each other’s greatest critic and cheerleader. When one is de-motivated or feeling low, do your bit to raise his or her moral, throw in some humour, encouragement, make him or her feel better, make sure to tell your partner often how proud you are of their achievements.

Such positive interactions between couples strengthen relationships and improve mental health of both the partners. At the same time, learn to be a sharp critic without being a pessimist. In a project, or in life, tell your partner where he or she is going wrong, help them improve, discover alternative solutions, and ways of solving problems and learn from their mistakes, instead of pondering over them or repeating them.