HEALTHY BENEFITS OF HAVING FRIENDS

Whether you need a shoulder to cry on, a partner in crime, or just somebody to vent to and relax with, best friends are truly invaluable and a vital aspect of leading a happy and fulfilled life. Now don’t get me wrong, alone time and self reflection is key in self acceptance and ultimate happiness, but having a buddy or two can impact your life in many different integral ways.

Socializing has long been considered a key ingredient to development, and those who excel at it are often rewarded with encouraging comments and observations from those around them. But why? Why is it that we are seemingly engrained with this need to have people around us and this need to interact with others? It’s time to take a look at the physiological and psychological benefits of having these ingredients, and why they are so essential in our day-to-day well-being.

1. Lifespan: In a 2010 research review, it was discovered that the strength of people’s social relationships actually linked up to mortality rates. In this review, over 300.000 participants were considered and in the end the conclusion was formed that friendship and health are linked together through stress. We all hear the phrase “don’t bottle up your emotions,” but who knew it actually was physically danger
ous to do so? Having friends allows you to vent your stress and helps alleviate chronic stress that might otherwise cause physical and emotional wear on the body if trapped for long periods of time. So the next time you’re feeling guilty for complaining too much to your friends—just remember that by doing so you’re actually leading a healthier lifestyle!

2. A Sense of Belonging: On a more emotional and mental note, having friends and having a support system around you can really boost your sense of belonging. Humans are, by nature, social beings who rely on others for certain things. While a night alone at home is essential for anybody’s sanity, just remember that when you spend time with others, you are spending time with people who want to be around you and who love you. Having a close inner circle is another great reminder that you have a place in this world and that, while they can help you, you can also help them.

3. A Support System for Leading a Healthy Life: Have you ever thought about going to the gym, reading that book, or cutting out those unhealthy foods but never had the encouragement or motivation to do so? That’s where friends come in! Friends don’t only serve as serotonin boosters and support systems, but they can give you purpose (and maybe a little competition) to get things done. If you want to get back into reading but know you’ll never do it if you don’t have the incentive, then join a book club where you meet in person and are forced to discuss the readings! Or if you’re looking to get in shape, find a gym buddy who wants the same thing.

There’s nothing like a little moral support from those you love, so remember to hold your friends tight and give them as much love as you get from them

Lieve Falck-Pedersen