Did you ever stop to think that a healthy relationship could lead to a healthy you? Well, it’s true! One thing research has shown over and over again is that intimacy and feeling loved is what keeps us well. These aren’t just niceties anymore. They are necessities! Luckily, there are many things you can do to make sure the relationships you have stay strong and positive.

1. Touch More Often

Believe it or not, physical connection is just as important as emotional connection. According Kate Wachs, PhD, a psychologist and author of Relationships for Dummies, “Physically being in contact with your partner breaks through a lot of ice.” She says you should go out of your way to kiss and hug during the day.

2. Listen

It may seem simple, but few people do this. Experts agree that truly listening can reduce conflict, strengthen trust and lead to a more connected partnership. Listening is especially important when your partner is upset. By listening carefully to their wants and needs, you are more likely to understand the problem and find a way to help.

3. Spend More Time Together

Say this mantra with me: “Act like [he or she] is important, not just the postman stopping by with the mail.” This is a tip Wach gives in her book, and it is one everyone could stand to recite to themselves a few times. The moment you partner’s presence reaches mailman status or lower, you’re in trouble!

Dating and marriage should be exciting and engaging. It takes two, so ask yourself what you’ve been contributing lately. It doesn’t make a difference if you’ve been married for 30 years or dating for a few months. There’s always something you can do to show your husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend that you still know the key to the heart. Give him a foot rub. Surprise her with dinner when she walks through the door. Find something they wouldn’t expect, and the reaction will be greater than you could have imagined.

4. Focus on the Positives

Everyone focuses on the things they like about a person upon first meeting – the way he or she smiles, their kindness, affectionate nature or positive outlook on life.  As time goes on, though, sometimes people begin to focus more on the negatives than the positives. Or even in some cases, the things that were once seen as admirable qualities become negatives in the eyes of their partner.

For a successful relationship, you must continue to appreciate the qualities that originally brought you together and find new things that you love about them.

These are 4 steps that will lead to a better relationship, but it will also reduce the amount of stress and loneliness in your life. If you don’t have a significant other, find other ways to connect with your friends, neighborhoods or people in your community.