Has Feeling Lonely Become an Epidemic? – Factors That Contribute to the Issue

Posted by Be You Counseling on August 13, 2019

loneliness epidemic depression therapy feelings

Communication surrounds us 24/7. We live in a world where connection is constantly at our fingertips. We can talk to almost anyone we want to in a matter of seconds.

So, why is loneliness such a problem?

Studies have shown that nearly half of all Americans would say they’re lonely. That seems like a staggering number, considering how easy it is to talk to people, right? Unfortunately, the ease of different types of communication may be a contributing factor to why loneliness is such a big issue.

What’s really causing this potential epidemic, and what can be done about it?

Why Loneliness Can Be Damaging

First, it’s important to understand that loneliness can have lasting negative health effects. When you feel lonely, the issues that arise go far beyond that specific moment.

Feelings of loneliness can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. People who are lonely may have trouble sleeping or may sleep all the time. They may further disconnect from life by binge watching a TV series on Netflix or HBO. This helps them connected to an alternate world that isn’t their own. As a result, they become isolated and less likely to feel motivated and productive at work, home, or school.

Because extreme loneliness is so often linked with mental health issues, people who suffer from it may also start impulsively partaking in harmful risk taking behaviors as a way of numbing the pain they are feeling. Overeating or not eating at all, drug and alcohol use, constantly staying busy with tasks to do, or sleeping all the time are some of the ways in which we try to disconnect from our feeling. Unfortunately, these strategies are only short lived, and leave you feeling worse off then before.

What Are the Contributing Factors?

So, why are people feeling so lonely? It doesn’t have anything to do with location, gender, or even age. Loneliness has started to become an epidemic because fewer people have meaningful relationships.

Even if you live with someone, you may only have a surface relationship with them. The same goes for friendships and even some romantic relationships. If you don’t fully invest your time and energy into your relationships, they’re never going to become meaningful. Surface relationships don’t foster strong connections.

That lack of connection leads many people toward digital relationships. It’s easier than ever to have 1,000 friends on social media but NOT feel truly connected to any of them. At first, seeing someone “like” your Facebook post can make you feel good. But when you start to realize that your relationship with the person mostly occurs behind a computer screen, it can make those feelings of loneliness kick in even harder. 

Unfortunately, social media plays a huge factor in the loneliness epidemic. It tends to keep people in those surface relationships. As a result, we don’t dive deeper into relationships we might truly care about, and we end up feeling lonely.

How to Combat Loneliness

It’s important to think about quality versus quantity when it comes to stable relationships. The first step in overcoming loneliness is to recognize it. 

Loneliness is subjective—it’s not a fact. It’s okay to accept that you’re feeling lonely. Doing so will help you to better learn how to get through it and find the help you need.

Once you’re willing to admit that your loneliness is a problem, you can create a mental health plan for yourself that keeps you from going down the dangerous path of other potential mental issues, like depression or anxiety attacks. This plan could include learning to sit and lean into your feelings as they emerge instead of moving way from them, fighting back against your negative self-sabotaging self-talk, and/or finding others who might also be struggling with loneliness.

As you bring awareness and curiosity to how you feel and think, instead of judgment and shame, you will develop insight into who you are now and how you arrived at this point. With awareness comes choice. With choice comes power. Instead of being a victim of life and circumstance, become an active participant that is in charge of their life and capable of asking for what you want.

Above all, reach out for help if you need to. Sometimes, that’s the only way to take the first step out of the darkness that a feeling of loneliness can often cause.

If you’re struggling with feeling lonely and you don’t know where to turn, please contact me to set up a free consultation. You can also visit my Depression Counseling Page to learn more. We can talk about what might be causing the issue. From there, we can work on how to better overcome feelings of loneliness. When you’re able to do that, your life can start to be more fulfilling once again.

Online Dating Is Challenging – How Can You Find a Partner in Real Life?

Posted by Be You Counseling on July 9, 2019

Online dating has become increasingly popular in recent years.

It has also become easier than ever to find someone new to date, thanks to apps that allow you to connect with a wide selection of people from the palm of your hand.

But even though it seems convenient, online dating has its challenges.

Whether you’ve tried it before or you’re thinking about signing up for an online dating site, it’s important to be aware of these challenges before you get started.

What Are the Problems With Online Dating?

The biggest issue that comes with online dating is that it’s risky. You’re learning about someone from a basic profile only, and unfortunately, it’s easy to fabricate information or stretch the truth.

People can do almost anything they want in an online dating profile. This includes using fake photos, lying about their career, their age, etc. Getting into any relationship has its risks. But when you’re starting out online, people are presenting their own personal “highlight reel” of their lives, and it isn’t always accurate.

Another issue with online dating is the stigma often attached to it. Thanks to the development of dating apps, many people use this type of dating search as a way to meet someone for sex, rather than for a relationship.

Finally, online dating can actually cause you to become more judgmental. Because so many people are active in the world of online dating, you might be able to sift through hundreds of “matches” selected for you. When you’re given that many options, it’s easy to become too picky and too superficial, and you could be missing out on someone great.

Are There Better Ways to Find a Partner Offline?

If you want to avoid the world of online dating and find someone the “old fashioned way,” there are plenty of unique opportunities to try and utilize for yourself.

For example, keep some of these suggestions in mind if you’re looking for someone to start a relationship with:

  • Join a local singles group with regular events/meetups

  • Attend local events that interest you; it’s likely the people there will share those interests

  • Take your dog to the park and interact with other pet owners

  • Join a class (art, dancing, cooking, etc.), join a gym/fitness place, or take a walk in the park – people are everywhere

  • Volunteer for a nonprofit organization that’s meaningful to you

One of the best ways to find a partner in your area is to do things you normally do anyway. Proximity is power! By attending events and places that already interest you, you’re one step ahead. It’s easy to come up with a conversation starter when you know you’re both passionate about a particular place, cause, event, etc.

Preparing Yourself for the World of Dating

People who try to date online often find comfort in the security of it. When you’re behind a screen, you might not feel as nervous or worried about how you look or the things you’ll say. Trying to date in real life can feel intimidating, but the reward is well worth the risk.

Use some of these tips to better prepare yourself for meeting someone offline:

  • Don’t rush into anything, even if you feel a connection with a person

  • Set a goal to talk to a certain number of people at an event

  • Keep a mindset of making new friends rather than finding a love interest

  • Show genuine interest in people and ask them questions

  • Don’t worry about being rejected

  • Have fun

Yes, the dating world often comes with a lot of pressure. But there is nothing like a genuine connection that comes from finding a partner in real life.


If you’re struggling with the challenges of dating or want more information, feel free to contact me to set up a free consultation. You can also visit my Relationship Counseling page to learn more. I would love to talk to you about other practical tips and ways you can make offline dating easier on yourself.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do – How to Manage It with Success

Posted by Be You Counseling on May 22, 2019

Getting through the act of a breakup isn’t easy for anyone.

But how you handle that news from the start can help to determine the state of your emotional well-being as you move forward.

It’s okay to experience grief after a breakup. Whether you were married, have been dating for years, or even were in a new relationship, it’s still a loss. So, take the time to grieve appropriately.

However, understand that you need to eventually manage how you want to get through the event itself. In other words, you’ll get to decide how successful you’ll be in getting through it.

Managing your breakup with success means keeping your mental health and best interests in mind.

Let’s take a look at a few suggestions on how to do just that.

Accept the Breakup

One of the first things you need to do after a breakup is to accept the reality of it. It might hurt, and you may even feel as though it isn’t justified. And what often hurts more is when you don’t want to break up but your partner does.

However, it’s important to keep your dignity when you’re going through a split. You don’t need to try to convince your partner you should stay together. Instead, remind yourself that neither you nor your partner are perfect people.

You both deserve someone who is devoted to you and someone you’re happy with. If that person wasn’t you for your partner, it can be a hard pill to swallow, but an important one to accept.

Make a Clean Break

Breakups are messy enough without dragging them along. Whether you initiated the split or not, it’s always a good idea to make a clean break—at least for a while.

Try to avoid contact with your ex after the breakup until you’re both in a healthier, calmer place. Emotions typically run high for a while after a split. It’s tempting to call or text the person you were with, even if you’re just used to talking to them about things in your life.

But letting go of that communication will make the process easier for both of you. It will give you both time to grieve, and it will show respect for one another’s feelings.

Making a “clean break” also eliminates false hope. If both partners weren’t on board with the split, it’s easy for one to have hope that it will all work out again in the end. Cutting off communication gets the point across that there isn’t going to be a reconciliation.

Get Out of Your Ruts and Grow

You can use a breakup as a learning experience to break free from bad habits. A failed relationship can teach you about what you should work on for your next relationship.

This doesn’t mean you need to completely change who you are. It does, however, mean you should take a look at the things you struggle with, especially in a relationship. What can you do to improve? How do you want to grow as a person?

For some people, it’s about improving communication or getting rid of jealousy. While other people may need to work on trust and reliability.

It’s also important to search for unconscious parallels. You may not want to admit it, but your parents or caretakers relationship with one another and with you has left and imprint. Discovering how it has imprinted will help you free yourself from old unnecessary behaviors and thoughts.

In general, it’s a good idea to write down your goals (short-term and long-term) and take those ideas with you into your next relationship. You should never consider a relationship a failure. No matter how good or bad it was at any given time, it caused you to grow and learn.

If you’re struggling to manage your emotions and mental well-being after a breakup, feel free to contact me to set up a free consultation. You can also visit my Relationship Counseling page to learn more. Together, we can work on practical ways you can get through this difficult and emotional time so you can experience closure and peace and eventually move on successfully.

Exploring Natural Treatments for Depression

Posted by Be You Counseling on April 22, 2019

Depression is a mental health condition that can impact any age, gender, or ethnicity. In fact, nearly 20 million Americans will struggle with depression this year alone. 

Meditation Natural Depression Counseling

However, many of these same people never actually seek treatment. Depression, like various other conditions, can be treated successfully in several different ways. 

More and more people have turned away from prescription medications, relying on holistic methods to help them fight depression. And the benefits of these methods stretch far and wide.

Remember, though, it’s important to discuss any type of depression treatment with your healthcare professional first. 

With that said, here are a few ways to treat depression naturally.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Research suggests that a low intake of omega-3s contributes to depression. Needed for normal brain function, your body can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids. Rather, you get them from your diet.

Increasing these essential nutrients has shown to decrease the impact of depression.

Some of the more popular foods containing omega-3s include salmon and sardines. You can also take fish oil or cod liver oil to help boost your intake.


One of the least expensive and yet most effective ways to decrease depression is simply to exercise. Even the 5-minute run is becoming increasingly popular because of its proven impact on one’s overall health.

Furthermore, exercise aids in the battle against depression by releasing mood-boosting chemicals. Especially during aerobic exercises, such as running or dancing, the positive impact is unrivaled.

To get started, find a physical activity that you actually enjoy, which will make it easier to establish exercise as a habit. No need to force a jog on yourself if you strongly dislike jogging. Exercise should bring you joy in addition to offering health benefits.

Reduce Sugar and Caffeine

Sugar and caffeine are “easy come easy go.” You can chug them both in a soft drink, for example. It provides a quick pick-me-up but then leaves you feeling let down once the “high” wears off.

Often, this plummet worsens mood swing, insomnia, and depression. By removing sugar and caffeine or reducing your intake, you help your own body fight depression. Plus, cutting them will help you get rid of wrinkles, too!


Even though a large part of the population doesn’t get enough magnesium, most people are unaware that they are magnesium deficient. And those dealing with depression are the most affected by the deficiency.

Almonds, cashews, and dark chocolate are among the most common ways to increase your intake of magnesium.

Plus, you can even make your own magnesium oil to spray on your skin. Just make sure you purchase magnesium chloride flakes as your body absorbs this type the best.

Light Therapy

sunlight natural depression counseling

Exposure to sunlight has an impressively positive impact on your mental health. Unfortunately, during the winter months, this may be difficult to accomplish because the days are colder and shorter. Often, spending time outside simply isn’t on the agenda.

Yet, light therapy can have a profound effect on your mood and overall well-being. Plus, it helps to calibrate your body’s natural circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle).

To get the most from light therapy, aim for spending 15 minutes per day in natural sunlight. When the sun hides or sets early, try a lightbox. But, increase your daily dose to around 20 or 30 minutes.


Both meditation and mindfulness have grown in popularity as a cure for depression (among other conditions) over the past several years. Unsurprisingly, the two go hand in hand.

Mindful meditation is often beneficial because it allows dark thoughts to pass through your mind when you would normally try to reject them. This practice offers a great deal of acceptance and validation, empowering you to overcome depressed feeling.

Establishing a meditative habit doesn’t have to be spooky or “out there.” It’s simply a matter of finding a quiet place in which to dedicate a few moments of mental focus.

Often, depression can make you feel too overwhelmed to start one of these daily habits. That’s where a counselor/therapist can step in to offer support.

If you’re ready to address the depression in your life, schedule a free consultation so we can get to the bottom of what is causing your depressed feelings. You can also visit my depression counseling page for more information. I’d like to help you live life to the fullest!


Depression Hurts – Practical Tips to Help You Ease Emotional Pain

Posted by Be You Counseling on April 17, 2019

Depression can have a big impact on your mental and emotional health. Pessimistic thoughts intensify. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and despair deepen. There is an ache inside that feels like it will never end. These thoughts and feelings interrupt your life and the lives of the people around you. 

However, not everyone understands just how deeply the wounds of depression can go in terms of causing emotional pain.

A practical way to think about emotional pain is to compare it to physical pain. The different factors and symptoms associated with depression can create emotional bumps, bruises, and scarring. 

In fact, emotional pain can hurt more and be even more damaging than physical pain. If it’s not taken care of, it can also lead to health problems like a weakened immune system, inflammation, or high blood pressure.

So, how can you ease the emotional pain caused by depression?

Consider a few practical tips for dealing with emotional pain.

 Lean Into the Feelings

The human body is wired to move away from pain and toward pleasure. Emotional pain is no different. People have many different strategies for dealing with emotional pain. They may redirect it, minimize it, avoid it, internalize it, etc. Regardless, emotion paid does not loosen it grips when it is ignored. Instead, it is stubborn and digs its heals in even deeper.

It might seem counterintuitive to lean into emotional pain, but the more light you can shine on it the less intense it will feel.

Depression is the result of not being able to express emotional pain. Feelings are drawn inward, instead of expressing them outward and releasing them.  Inward movement leads to feeling stuck, heavy, paralyzed, and disconnected from life. Outward movement results in feeling light, mobile, energized, and connected with life.

To begin, find a quiet place where you can close your eyes. As you begin to bring awareness inward approach your feelings with curiosity, not judgment. At first you may not know what you are feeling, and that’s ok. Become aware of the body sensations that are emerging. Does the feeling sit anywhere? If so, focus on that area. Notice how long you are able to sit with your feelings before you distract yourself. Ask your body questions such as, “If you can express yourself right now, what would that look like?”

Be sure to listen for the answers to your questions. If possible keep a journal nearby to record your experience.

The longer you can sit with your feelings the greater your tolerance will be, and the quicker you will be able to move through your emotional pain when it emerges.

Fighting Loneliness with Positive Self-Talk

Many people who are dealing with depression also feel lonely. In fact, this might be the reason you yourself are depressed, or you might isolate yourself because of your depression. Relationships and support are extremely important in everyone’s lives, but even more so if you’re currently struggling with overwhelming emotions and thoughts. 

If your depression makes you feel lonely, you might also feel helpless, as though you’re not good enough for healthy relationships. This can lead to a lot of doubt and negative self-talk. You might think that you’re a burden to people or that no one really likes you.

One of the best ways to battle this emotional pain is to fight against that negative self-talk. Think of your self-esteem as a muscle that needs to be “worked out” in order to get stronger. Ask yourself practical questions to challenge your all or nothing thinking about your loneliness and why you feel the way you do. 

As you continue to work on positive self-talk, make every attempt to reconnect with friends and family, even for short periods of time. Doing this will help you to realize that you’re worthy of love and have the ability to love others, despite your depressed feelings.

Healing the Scars of the Past

In a depressed state, it’s not uncommon to ruminate over things you’ve been through in the past. Thinking about unpleasant situations throughout your life can cause you to fall deeper into a hole of darkness. For some people, it’s even easy to make up negative situations and dwell on them.

It’s important to heal these scars so they don’t keep clinging to you for the rest of your life.

One of the first things you can do is to realize that you’re internal dialogue is far more critical than any else’s, and most likely you are the only one in your life who is dwelling on your failures. If you lost your job, had a bad breakup, or even if you made an embarrassing mistake at work, there’s a good chance no one is talking about it or even remembers it the way that you do.

When you realize that these negative situations aren’t important to other people, you can start to make them less important to you as well. As a result, you’ll think about them less and less. 

If you’re still having a problem with these emotional scars, lean into them and acknowledge them. Remind yourself that whatever you are feeling has already happened to you and it can no longer hurt you in the way that it once did. Remind yourself that you are currently safe, and that you are not alone.

Acknowledging, instead of distracting yourself from your emotional pain can make a big difference in not letting yourself get sucked into the past.

Easing the Pain of Trauma

Depression can often be linked to emotional trauma. Maybe you’ve gone through a particularly traumatic event. Or maybe years of repeated trauma have brought you to a state of depression and anxiety.

Whatever the case, dealing with trauma can hurt and make you feel unsafe.

Everyone has different coping mechanisms when it comes to trauma, but seeking out help from a professional counselor or therapist is one of the best ways to get through it. A counselor/therapist can help you identify what triggers your pain and learn different ways to manage and relieve your symptoms.

If you’re struggling with emotional pain due to depression, having someone to talk to can make a big difference. Schedule a free consultation or visit my so we can get to the bottom of what is causing your depression. You can also visit my depression counseling page for more information. From there, we’ll work on different ways to find comfort and healing.



Could Your Bad Habits Actually Be Preventing You from Being You?

Posted by Be You Counseling on April 8, 2019

Who are you?

Sometimes it can feel so hard to know the true answer to that question. After all, it’s a matter you can approach in so many ways.

We play a lot of different roles in life. Furthermore, we take in a lot of information, which can sometimes cloud our ability to hear our own inner truth. 

There is a beautiful, wonderful, authentic self that wants to thrive. Unfortunately, all too often, we quiet that self. Instead of listening to what it needs, we go on autopilot.

We go through the motions. We check things off of our to-do lists. If we behave this way, then who we are becomes the sum of our daily habits.

The good thing about this, though, is that we can change our habits. If we eliminate bad habits in favor of healthy ones, then we can become our true selves.

Get Rid of Habits That Numb You to Yourself

Many of the habits that we engage in are numbing habits. If we do them then we become emotionally numb. Put another way, we zone out.

As a result, we can’t hear the truth of our inner voice. Therefore, those habits prevent us from being our true selves.

Here are some of those numbing habits:

  • Unhealthy eating including sugar, processed carbs, and foods that make us sluggish

  • Unhealthy drinking including caffeine and alcohol

  • Negative eating habits including undereating, overeating, and emotional eating

  • Problematic sleep habits including sleeping too much or not enough

  • Excessive media consumption including TV, news, gaming, and social media use 

Take the time to think about your daily habits. Which ones occupy your body and mind so that you don’t have to think deep thoughts? Eliminate or reduce them if you want to be your true self.

Eliminate Habits That Place Others’ Needs Ahead of Yours

Many of us use others as an excuse not to be our true selves. For example, we say that we can’t do the things that we want to do because we are too busy at work. Similarly, we have so many errands and tasks to do for our families that we don’t attend to our own needs.

This is a sneaky way of avoiding our own truths. It’s sneaky because it seems altruistic. However, if we aren’t our true selves, then we aren’t giving our best to the world.

Take a look at your habits. How many of your daily tasks are things that you do solely or primarily for yourself? Compare those to the tasks that you do primarily because of others. Shift your habits to include more of the former and less of the latter.

Increase Healthy Habits for Revealing Your True Self

The best way to get rid of troubling habits is to replace them with healthier ones. There are many good habits that really allow you to see and know your true self.

Choose some from the list below and use them in place of current habits that you want to eliminate:

  • Ask yourself a daily question and listen for the answer.

  • Eat the foods that make you feel your best.

  • Get your body moving.

  • Learn and practice mindfulness.

  • Make a list of things you want from life.

  • Make time each day for creative activity.

  • Practice daily prayer or meditation.

  • Practice gratitude.

  • Spend time in nature.

  • Spend time with the people who make you feel your best.

  • Try new things that excite you.

When you first begin a habit, it’s not a habit yet. Therefore, you need to actually schedule it. Make time for it. Commit to it. Then follow through. Take time to find your reasons for wanting to form these habits. If your reasoning does not hit an emotional cord and make forming these habits a must, spend more time defining your reasons until they do. Over time, they will become habits, and you will become your best you.

Schedule a free consultation today or check out my awareness counseling page to find out how counseling/therapy can help you get clear on your goals and habits.

How to Communicate and Have Your Voice Heard in Your Relationship

Posted by Be You Counseling on April 1, 2019

Communication is an important key in any relationship. Unfortunately, far too many couples don’t communicate properly.

One of the biggest issues hindering communication is not having your voice heard within your relationship. It’s one thing for your partner to listen to you. But are they really hearing and processing what you’re saying?

It’s important to remember that a relationship is about two people who have needs that need to be met. When one person is expressing their needs but the other isn’t hearing them, this crucial element is being neglected.

Thus, if your lines of communication are starting to sound more like “white noise,” it could be time to rethink the way you communicate.

How Do You Know If Your Voice Isn’t Being Heard?

Of course, every relationship is different, and so are communication styles. But there are certain things to look out for that indicate your partner isn’t hearing what you have to say.

Some of the most common signs include:

Selective memory – They might remember things on their calendar, friends’ birthdays, etc., but they don’t remember something important you told them the night before.

Distractions – Does your partner start to do other things when you want to talk to them? Whether it’s chores around the house or something they suddenly “remembered” that needed to get done, this is a sign you’re not actively being heard.

Lashing out – If your partner lashes out in aggression when you bring up a topic important to you, they could be trying to get you to back off so you don’t talk about it again.

Arguing – Some partners will also drag out an argument for long periods of time until you “give up” or get tired of talking about the subject. Again, this is to make sure you don’t bring it up again.

If your voice isn’t being heard in a relationship, it’s not only harmful to the relationship itself, but it can be harmful to your own self-esteem and emotional well-being.

How Do You Have Your Voice Be Heard?

It’s important to note that some partners just will not listen. They might continue their habits no matter what you do, drowning you out and silencing your voice in the relationship. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is to cut ties with that person.

But, if the relationship can be fixed and you believe your partner can change, there are things you can do to get through to them effectively.

One of the best things you can do is simply to share with them your observation about them when you feel they are not listening, and ask them what is going on. You want to be mindful of not using the word “why”. Often times it puts people on guard and feels accusatory. Try to approach it with observation and curiosity. For example you might say to your partner, “I notice that when I express my thoughts and feelings outwardly you tend to pick up your phone or begin organizing the papers on the counter. This often leaves me feeling ignored and confused. I am curious as to what is happen for you in those moments?”  

Maybe they don’t fully realize that they’re ignoring or belittling the things you have to say. They might be going through problems of their own that make it hard for them to fully listen to your concerns. Approaching with curiosity invites dialogue, where as asking why often shuts it down.

Be genuine with your curiosity and questions. If you don’t want to know the answer to a question, then don’t ask it. People generally can sense the difference between genuine and contrived curiosity.

Sometimes, this is all it takes for the dynamic of a relationship to change.

As silly as it might sound, another great option is to give a presentation to your partner. You don’t need to draw up a PowerPoint slideshow. But you can explain to them how you’re feeling and how their lack of listening affects your relationship.  This can get more productive communication going, especially if you’re open to hearing their feelings in return.

A good way to get them started with paying attention as you begin this presentation is to showcase how they will benefit from hearing your voice. Also, let them know how much they would be helping you simply by listening. Do not assume they know how to listen to you properly. Provide examples of gestures or behaviors that would suggest they are listening to you. Sometimes, pointing out what is obvious is exactly what people need to make a change.

Following Through

Usually, it’s not fair to give your partner an ultimatum. But, if you’ve talked to them about your concerns more than once and nothing has changed, it’s okay to take action. Show them what will happen if they don’t start listening. Maybe you stop doing household chores or going out to eat with them, etc.  If it feels like a relationship deal breaker make them aware of this.

Asserting yourself is not always easy to put into practice, but it can be very effective.

If your partner is struggling to really hear you or you don’t know how to make your voice be heard, you don’t have to deal with it alone.

Schedule a free consultation or visit my relationship counseling page to learn more if you’re worried about the state of your relationship. By working on communicative skills together, we can make your relationship stronger and healthier than ever.