You know your friends are there for you when you need them, but did you know they’re good for your health? From improving your mood to increasing your life span, friends are essential to keeping you healthy and happy. Read more to find out just how vital friendships are in your life.
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#1. They make you laugh
Ever wonder why you feel so much better after a good laugh with a friend? The phrase “laughter is good medicine” is around for a reason! Laughing is known to ward off depression and boost your mood. It can also improve blood flow and decrease your stress levels. Next time you’re feeling down, call up a friend to put a smile on your face and put the bounce back in your step.
#2. They’re good workout partners
Research has shown that you are more likely to stick with a workout routine if you grab a partner to do it with you. A buddy system makes it harder to bail on that early morning spin class if you know your friend is counting on you to be there. Sign up for a weekly workout class or plan Saturday morning walks together. You’ll both go if you know the other one is waiting for you, and having the company will make it more enjoyable and effective.
#3. They increase your lifespan
When you have an extensive network of friends, it can increase your lifespan. A Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University in Australia followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years. It found that those with an extensive network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by 22%. Who proves that companionship is an essential aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
#4. They can help you cope with painful life events
Having a shoulder to lean on during a traumatic life event can help you get through it. Friends can offer support when you’re going through a divorce, family death, or dealing with a rough emotional patch. They can also help relieve you from daily activities such as cooking and cleaning to give you less to worry about.
#5. They help you try new things
Want to check out that new workout class but are too afraid to go by yourself? Bringing a friend with you will help boost your self-esteem and put you more at ease in a new environment. It’s easier to try something new when you have someone by your side. So go ahead, try that Zumba class or give that cooking class a go: you could start a great new routine to keep you active and healthy.
#6. They improve your cognition
According to research in the American Journal of Public Health, older women had a 43% less risk of developing dementia if they had daily contact with their friends than those who had contact less than once a week. The social interaction may have helped discourage cognitive decline by forming new synaptic connections.
#7. They find solutions to your problems
Are you having a problem at work? Are you going through a family issue? A friend can guide you through some solutions from an outside point of view. Your friend might have been in the same situation and can offer eye-opening insight.
Friends can be objective to the problems you’re facing. The emotional support they provide help you deal with stressors that affect your mood, weight, and even other relationships.
#8. They discourage unhealthy behaviours
Friends can serve as a great support network when you have a goal in mind to help you reach it. That smoking habit will be so much easier to quit when you have a friend reminding you why you’re quitting in the first place! The support also helps when you’re trying to adopt a new healthy habit.