Research shows that people as young as teenagers to elders in their 90s have healthier lives and lower blood pressure than those with less friends.1 Solid friendships can help us overcome stress and get through all the obstacles that life hits us with – job loss, break-ups, divorce, health scares, you name it. A friend’s support really makes the difference.
Like osmosis, friends can soak up other friends’ habits, like exercising and eating well, according to study published in Science (December 2011).4 If your friend wants to stop for a smoothie instead of a fast food joint, you’ll likely go along with her. And how many times do you see friends taking power walks together? It’s true. Friendship improves health!
People who have strong social relationships are less likely to die prematurely than people who are isolated.5 A 2010 meta-analysis6 showed that the effect of social ties on life span is twice as strong as that of exercising, and equivalent to that of quitting smoking. These studies also found that the strength of people’s social relationships, from number of friends to integration into the community, were all linked to decreased mortality. So make friends and work to keep them!
If you need a rock to lean on, lean on your friends. A 2011 study7 showed that spending time with your friends can alleviate your stress. And, your social relationships also have a good influence on your overall mood. Making new friends lifts your spirits due to the he release of the “feel good” hormone oxytocin in your body. And of course, who can make you feel better than a good BFF—it’s like putting a warm blanket around your soul.
So the next time you feel like being alone, remember that friendship improves health and pick up the phone and go out for coffee with a friend instead!
As Aristotle once said,
a friend is “a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
1 Lockhart, E. 6 Ways Friendship Improves Our Health, April 27th, 2016, activebeat, http://www.activebeat.co/your-health/6-ways-friendship-improves-our-health/6/
2 Lockhart, E. 6 Ways Friendship Improves Our Health, April 27th, 2016, activebeat, http://www.activebeat.co/your-health/6-ways-friendship-improves-our-health/6/
3 Pappas, S. 7 Ways Friendships Are Great for Your Health. Jan. 8, 2016. LIVE SCIENCE.
4 Brownstein, J. Healthy Habits Are Most Contagious Among Similar Friends. Dec. 1, 2011. Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/17265-healthy-habits-contagious-similar-friends.html
5 Holmes, L. 5 Ways Your Friends Make You Happier, Healthier And An All-Around Better Person. Healthy Living. 07/09/2014 HuffPost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/09/benefits-of-friends_n_5568005.html
6 Pappas, S. 7 Ways Friendships Are Great for Your Health. Jan. 8, 2016. LIVE SCIENCE.
7 Holmes, L. 5 Ways Your Friends Make You Happier, Healthier And An All-Around Better Person. Healthy Living. 07/09/2014 HuffPost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/09/benefits-of-friends_n_5568005.html