You know what? I’m tired of boring health tips like “exercise regularly,” and “don’t eat a family-size bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in one sitting.”
That’s why I was so stoked when the Huffington Post reported that watching TV like a slob is actually healthy. And by healthy, I definitely don’t mean real healthy. We’re talking relationship healthy, which should still count. Apparently, enjoying television with your boyfriend or husband can create a healthy relationship by opening lines of communication, spurring laughter and inspiring intimacy. All that from 23 minutes of The Big Bang Theory? Sign me up.
This report got me wondering, though, about other daily habits that are surprisingly good for relationships. Psychotherapist and author Dr. Jane Greer suggested women use the following overlooked and oddly-beneficial activities to build healthy relationships with their partners.
Grocery shopping and cooking
Creating a meal with your partner turns a mindless chore into something extraordinary, because it provides couples a chance to share a common goal, work toward it and enjoy it within just a few hours. “Cooking is a creative endeavor, and it requires couples to share and try new things,” Greer explained. “Anything that allows couples to create and share will build wonderful relationship habits.”
Whether you’re a marathoner or prefer to mosey on a treadmill, sweating with your partner is great for your relationship. “When couples work out, they’re both investing time in getting healthier and feeling stronger,” Greer said. Exercise also releases powerful feel-good chemicals in the brain, which partners associate with one another when they work out together.
Similar to cooking, gardening allows couples to share a common goal and create something beautiful. Gardening, however, has the added benefit of serious stress relief. Greer explained, “Getting dirty, pulling up weeds and spending time in nature are wonderful for reducing both individual and interpersonal stress.” Lowered stress and quality time are key for relational bonding, after all.
Do you start your day with a sun salutation? Try adding your partner to the mix for a potent blend of sexiness and relaxation. “Stretching releases toxins from muscles and relaxes the body, but many couples also feel physically responsive when they watch their partner relax and stretch,” Greer said. A bonus perk, of course, is that relaxed muscles can increase sexual arousal and pleasure — but, you know, only if you’re into that.
The only thing better than napping solo is napping with a cuddle buddy. “Holding your partner in bed is known to lower your heart rate, drop your blood pressure and increase your sense of well-being,” said Greer. These physical responses, in turn, assist with bonding and intimacy.
Which one of these surprisingly beneficial habits will you try this weekend? (And don’t forget to watch a little TV.)