Why Friendship Is Important For Your Health

As exasperated as your friends make you – did you know that not having them in your life could adversely affect your health? From increasing your self-confidence to helping cancer patients with their pain management, friendship has a myriad of health benefits.

Why is that? Some researchers fall back on an evolutionary argument. Humans evolved as social creatures – and that still holds true for modern Homo Sapiens.

“We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to better health,” says Dr. Tasha R. Howe of Howard University.

One study found that cancer patients without close friends were four times more likely to die from cancer than patients who had close friendships. This study also found that friendship has a more powerful effect on cancer patients than having a spouse.

Having friends is more than having someone to go to the movies with. Friends can serve as your safety net when you go through traumatic events like the loss of a relative. They can also stop you from engaging in harmful high-risk behaviors. And those are just the important things you can count on your friends for! The little things that your friends do, like buying dinner or giving you a ride home from the airport, should not be taken for granted.

Of course, having friends is not all sunshine and rainbows. Friendships can also be a source of stress in your life. And we all know stress can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to diseases.

But take that with a grain of salt! Researchers have found that when your social network decreases – i.e. you lose a friend in real life – your risk for mortality increases. Conversely, people with lifelong friendships can actually live longer. And in some cases, having friends can prevent your brain from deteriorating as you get older.

Before you pat yourself on the back for being a social butterfly, you should note that quality is more important than quantity. Just because you have 1,000 Facebook friends doesn’t mean you’re reaping positive health benefits. For a friendship to best impact your emotional and physical well-being, you should really be able to rely on this person.

Can you talk to them about more than your favorite TV shows and office gossip? Would you be able to entrust your secrets to them? If you haven’t thought about the answers to the above questions before, now is the time. Even if you only come up with one person that’s enough.

The benefit of having friends – even just one – is that they’re always with you, even if they’re not physically with you. Knowing there are people out there who have your back is a powerful weapon not only against our own inner demons but against diseases as well. So if you’ve been thinking about reconnecting with someone but feel hesitant, just pick up the phone! Your body will thank you.

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Photo Credit: Don-Pixel via Compfight cc

As exasperated as your friends make you – did you know that not having them in your life could adversely affect your health? From increasing your self-confidence to helping cancer patients with their pain management, friendship has a myriad of health benefits.

Why is that? Some researchers fall back on an evolutionary argument. Humans evolved as social creatures – and that still holds true for modern Homo Sapiens.

“We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to better health,” says Dr. Tasha R. Howe of Howard University.

One study found that cancer patients without close friends were four times more likely to die from cancer than patients who had close friendships. This study also found that friendship has a more powerful effect on cancer patients than having a spouse.

Having friends is more than having someone to go to the movies with. Friends can serve as your safety net when you go through traumatic events like the loss of a relative. They can also stop you from engaging in harmful high-risk behaviors. And those are just the important things you can count on your friends for! The little things that your friends do, like buying dinner or giving you a ride home from the airport, should not be taken for granted.

Of course, having friends is not all sunshine and rainbows. Friendships can also be a source of stress in your life. And we all know stress can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to diseases.

But take that with a grain of salt! Researchers have found that when your social network decreases – i.e. you lose a friend in real life – your risk for mortality increases. Conversely, people with lifelong friendships can actually live longer. And in some cases, having friends can prevent your brain from deteriorating as you get older.

Before you pat yourself on the back for being a social butterfly, you should note that quality is more important than quantity. Just because you have 1,000 Facebook friends doesn’t mean you’re reaping positive health benefits. For a friendship to best impact your emotional and physical well-being, you should really be able to rely on this person.

Can you talk to them about more than your favorite TV shows and office gossip? Would you be able to entrust your secrets to them? If you haven’t thought about the answers to the above questions before, now is the time. Even if you only come up with one person that’s enough.

The benefit of having friends – even just one – is that they’re always with you, even if they’re not physically with you. Knowing there are people out there who have your back is a powerful weapon not only against our own inner demons but against diseases as well. So if you’ve been thinking about reconnecting with someone but feel hesitant, just pick up the phone! Your body will thank you.

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Photo Credit: Don-Pixel via Compfight cc

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