How Does Friendship Affect Your Health?
True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost." ―Charles Caleb Colton
A man of wisdom was once asked, what was his richest treasure, he said he had all his happiness treasured in his friends, and that friendship was the most valuable relationship he cherished. Friends indeed make up an important part of our lives. They are the ones who let us be the way we are, and love us without pretensions. They help you rise from your steepest fall, and help you smile in the darkest of times. All in all, friends can and do influence our thoughts and outlook.
All the above only highlight how much friendship affects our day-to-day lives, and also to some extent, is responsible for what we are. To take it one step further, we have compiled all the feel-good aspects of friendship and its effects on our physical and mental health.
Improves psychological well-being
Loneliness is the root cause of many emotional complications. With friends, there is a lesser chance of suppressing one's emotions. A friend will always be there when you need to talk or express your feelings. Friendship can be of great significance, as it may help one overcome any mental distress and issues. The companionship witnessed in friendship, helps in keeping depression at bay. It helps in increasing feelings of contentedness and happiness. Friendship can boost ego, and self-esteem. It also helps in coping with an emotional trauma, like loss or death of a loved one, failure, divorce, illness, etc.
Acts as a stress buster
Sharing a good laugh with your friends is perhaps the best mood one can enjoy. Did you know friends were the new stress busters? Well, the stress hormone cortisol is released, when one suffers from feelings of loneliness. This increases blood pressure and also triggers hormonal imbalances. Sharing a good laugh and relaxing with friends, tackles the root cause of stress.
Helps follow healthy lifestyle/good habits
Friends are a great source of motivation. Whether you have to hit the gym and get in shape or follow your dreams, friends are always there to push you. Following a fitness routine with your best buddy, results in more dedication to routine and consistency. Good friends will also help in keeping one away from risks and addictions, like excessive drinking and smoking.
Helps recover from illness
According to a Harvard study, being surrounded by, and regular visits by friends helped in faster recovery from severe illnesses. This study was conducted on patients with breast cancer. Research showed that, patients with no friends were 4 times more likely to die from the disease, than patients with a strong friendship network and good number of friends.
Yes it is true. According to a research conducted by the Australian Longitudinal study of Aging, it was found that having healthy friendships increased longevity, more than having close relationships with children and family. This study was conducted on 1,500 seniors for a span of 10 years.
Seriously? Now, that is one benefit we all would love the most. According to a study conducted by the University of Brandeis, a healthy and fruitful friendship, along with proper exercise could help in delaying the aging process.
Helps discuss/tackle sexual problems
In a study conducted on seniors aged between 57 to 85 years of age, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, it was observed, that they showed fewer signs of depression due to sexual problems. Having friends gave them scope to discuss their sexual problems, which they would otherwise be uncomfortable discussing with a medical expert.
Well, friends have a big impact on the happiness index. A study conducted by researchers from the Harvard University, published in the British Medical Journal, states that, happiness multiplies when we are in a social network, like friends and family.
Catching up with friends and having a healthy discussion on intellectual things can help improve general intelligence. A study published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, focused on the connection between social and general intelligence. It was observed that, a 10-minute chat with a good friend or group of friends, could boost intellectual levels and thinking.
Helps tackle insomnia
For all those who have trouble sleeping, good friends can come to your rescue. A healthy friendship, leads to good emotional health, lesser stress and feelings of loneliness. This directly affects the quality of sleep.
Research also shows that people with lesser social networks increased their risks of mortality. So here we have, the many health benefits of friends. Make sure you have a whole bunch of them! Appreciate them; thank them for their beautiful gift of friendship, in your life!