5 Ways Friendship Improves Health!

Did You Know Friendship Improves Health?

GettyImages-498797164-copy

So often you hear people say about their friends, “She’s like a sister to me” or “I don’t know what I’d do without him.” There are more than good reasons people say this about their friends…there’s science to back it up. Having a strong social network of good friends really does help improve your health and keep you living longer. That’s all the more reason to celebrate your friends on National Friendship Day, which is right around the corner on August 6. The bonds you have with your friends are good for you!

GettyImages-643137108-copy

Friends Improve Our Overall Health

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.

GettyImages-536688242-copy

Friends Help Us Keep Our Wits About Us

Studies show that people with extended social ties are far less likely to develop dementia in older years as opposed to people with fewer friends.2, 3 Why? Because lively conversations with good friends draw upon different parts of our brain to keep our minds sharp and focused.
GettyImages-658790608-copy

Friends Keep Us Physically Healthy

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!

GettyImages-495779650-copy

Friends Can Help Us Live Longer

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!

GettyImages-619738158-copy

Friends Keep Us Calm and Improve Our Mood

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.
https://www.livescience.com/53315-how-friendships-are-good-for-your-health.html
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.
https://www.livescience.com/53315-how-friendships-are-good-for-your-health.html
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