How Does Friendship Affect Your Health and Well-Being?
Maintaining positive relationships should rank up there with healthy eating and exercise as a necessary investment in your health. Not only is spending time with friends fun but it also yields a multitude of long-term physical and emotional health benefits.
However, a healthy friendship is a two-way street. When we’re only thinking about having our needs met and we’re not thinking about our friends’ needs, then the relationship is unhealthy. When we give more than we receive and are left feeling insecure and/or unfulfilled, then the relationship is unhealthy. A true friend is there for you always, not just when it’s convenient.
It’s also important to acknowledge that not everyone’s social support network looks the same. Your network could be made up of a partner, family members, friends, coworkers, teachers, or neighbors. The benefits are with anyone in your life that provides positive social support.
Here are some ways that friendship is good for your health and well-being:
1. Friendships Promote a Sense of Belonging
No matter what unites you with your group of friends, simply feeling included — like you belong to a particular group — is beneficial. A sense of belonging fulfills an important emotional health need and helps decreases feelings of depression and hopelessness.
2. Friends Can Help Boost Self-Esteem & Happiness
Friends can improve your self-confidence and self-worth. A good friend is your cheerleader. True friends share in your success and are happy for you. Belonging to a social group goes hand in hand with increased self-esteem because people take pride in these relationships and connect meaning with them. A strong social circle is a strong predictor of happiness and general wellness. It helps if you associate with happy people, especially if they live close by.
3. Strong Social Connections Help Offset Stressors in Your Life
Friendships go a long way in helping us buffer stress. As we go through difficult periods of life, friends can help. Unloading the details of a bad day onto a friend can relieve some of your own stress.
Physical touch can make a difference, too. Receiving a hug relieves negative emotions like stress. Positive and welcome physical touch is great for connection and health.
4. Friendships May Help Protect Cognitive Health
Studies involving elderly women found that having a large social network offers a protective effect over cognition and reduces the risk of dementia, though more research is needed to say why that is.
It has also been found that having someone to have good conversations with protects brain health. Having someone you can count on as a good listener increases levels of cognitive resilience, which can protect against brain aging and disease, like dementia.
5. Friends Help Us Cope With Grief of All Kinds
Think about the last time you faced a challenging situation, such as a death in the family or loss of something else important to you (like a job, a pet, or a relationship). Having a friend you could lean on likely helped you pull through. Having people in our lives and social support is probably the number one thing helping people get through traumatic times.
6. Staying Socially Connected to Others May Lower the Risk of Long-Term Health Problems
Social isolation and loneliness may be linked with inflammation, exposing us to more health risks. Having strong social ties has also been linked with a lower risk of depression and strong health overall.
7. Strong Relationships May Help Us Live Longer
Did you know that as we get older, the difference in mortality risk doesn’t come down to age, gender, or even medical problems but positive social connections with others? Those who have more social interaction — measured by marital status, number of friends, involvement with friends — had the biggest health boost, and therefore the longest life expectancy.
8. Friends Can Encourage Healthy Behaviors
Having positive relationships with people who make healthy choices can motivate you to make similarly healthy choices. We tend to act similarly to the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
Why not bring a friend to my next retreat? You can save money by taking advantage of our double-occupancy rates, and you can support and encourage each other throughout the retreat. The benefits of the experience can last longer, because you can reenforce your healthy lifestyle habits with each other and achieve greater success with your goals.
Learn more about my retreats here! https://vidacleanse.com/cleansing-juice-fasting-health-and-wellness-retreats-colon-hydro-therapy-program-2/azure-palm-retreats-juice-cleansing-fasting-retreats-wellness-mineral-springs/