Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being, but it's not always easy to build or maintain friendships. Understand the importance of friendships in your life and what you can do to develop and nurture friendships.
So how do friendships contribute to your well-being?
1. Friends Are Good for Your Physical Health
It turns out that healthy relationships actually contribute to good physical health. Having a close circle of friends can decrease your risk of health problems like diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
Having strong social ties can also decrease feelings of loneliness, which evidence shows can take a toll on your longevity. According to a 2010 review, people with strong relationships have half the risk of premature death from all causes.
Social isolation and loneliness are linked to a variety of health issues such as high blood pressure, substance abuse, heart disease, and even cancer.
2. Friends Encourage Healthy Behaviors
One possible explanation for those health benefits is that friendships can help you make lifestyle changes that can have a direct impact on your well-being. For example, your friends can help you set and maintain goals to eat better and exercise more.4 They can also watch out for you and give a heads-up when any unhealthy behaviors (like drinking too much) get out of hand.
Additionally, people are more motivated and likely to stick to a weight loss or exercise program when they do it with a buddy. It's much easier to get out and stay active when you have a friend by your side.
That friend may also suggest activities that you would not have considered on your own—thus, pushing you outside your comfort zone to challenge your anxiety.
3. Friends Give You Emotional Support
If you find yourself going through a hard time, having a friend to help you through can make the transition easier.
Research also shows that happiness is contagious among friends. One study of high school students found that those who were depressed were twice as likely to recover if they had happy friends. Likewise, kids were half as likely to develop depression if their friends had a "healthy mood."
What to Do When Your Loved Ones Aren't There for You.
4. Friends Help Build Your Confidence
Everyone has self-doubts and insecurities every now and then. But having friends who support you plays a big role in building your self-esteem, or how much you appreciate and love yourself.
Supportive friends can help you feel more confident by offering praise and reassurance when you're feeling unsure. They'll shine a light on just how amazing you are and how much you have to offer others.
5. Friends Help You Beat Stress
Everyone goes through stressful events. If you know you have people you can count on, you may be less likely to even perceive a tough time as stressful.
Spending time with friends can also help reduce stress. According to Harvard Medical School, "social connections help relieve levels of stress, which can harm the heart's arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system."
Friends can also help you cope with stressful situations. According to one small study, when children hang out with their friends during a stressful situation, they produce less cortisol, a hormone released when the body is under stress.
As the song goes: “We all need somebody to lean on.”
6. Supports us in bad times
Everybody goes through some difficult phases in life. During those times you need a shoulder to cry on. Friends can give exactly that. They will be there to listen to your nonsense talks and still acknowledge whatever you are saying to lighten your heart.
They will be there to give you advice on how to pull through the difficult time you are passing. They will show you the kindness that you need when you are in trouble. They are the ones who understand you and no matter what the situation is will give you positive energy.
7. Improves the quality of life
Just imagine how life would be without friends. There will be no one to cheer with you for your favorite team, you won’t have anyone to hang out with when you have nothing to do. They make our boring days full of fun.
Overall, they add meaning to your life. With friends, you laugh out loud which makes you energetic and healthy. It can help you to overcome depression and so helps in improving your mental health as well.
8. Keeps us active
Friends will be up to anything at any time. They can take you on an adventure ride or to someplace that’s beautiful. When you don’t have any friends, you will probably spend time alone in the house playing video games or watching TV. But with friends, you are likely to go out and play or visit clubs and other places.
Friends will always keep you on your toes and so you will be active all day. This will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
9. Share secrets
We all have some dark secrets in life and friends are like secret banks where your secrets are absolutely safe. You can talk about your silly mistakes, family problems, etc. with your friends. You can simply pour your heart out with your friends.
10. Comfort zone
You can be by yourself when you are with your friends. Whether you are in pajamas, drooling face, or without makeup, they simply don’t care. They love you just the way you are. They have seen you in the ugliest appearances and worst situations in life. They know you inside out.
They know your weaknesses, flaws, dark past, everything and still, they are by your side. There is no need to pretend in front of them. So, you are in your comfort zone when you are with your friends.
11. Reality check
Friends have the ability to predict situations that we can’t. For example, they will know if your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you; or they will tell you whether your outfit looks good or outrageous.
They will bring the harsh truth in front of you without making you feel down. Friends will always bring you back to reality when you are roaming around the 7th heaven.
12. Unconditional love
Our family loves us because we share blood. But friends love us without any such condition. They give us unconditional love without expecting anything in return. Whenever you need them they will be beside you no matter what the situation is. They will be always there to support you.
You will only get this type of love from your family. We share the most amazing relationship with our friends and the times spent with them become the most memorable ones in our lives.13. Lots of fun
You will never hear the most hilarious jokes unless you are with your friends. Gossiping about others, talking about the new movie or song releases, going to concerts and clubs, all these happen when you are with your friends. Those long hours of gossiping over the phone or in-person will enlighten your heart forever. Being with friends is an instant mood booster. We spend the most joyous and exciting times of our lives with friends.
14. Makes relationships stronger
A long-term relationship will only work if there is friendship. If there is no friendship there won’t be the trust, love, and support that you need. So, friendship is actually the core of every relationship.
Friends know how to make you realize your faults. They do not make you ashamed or embarrassed in front of other people. They mend our ways and bring out the best versions of ourselves.
When you are stuck in the grinding routines of academic classes or work at the office, friends are there to make you feel better. Friendships help you release your stress from such monotonous routines. Friends engage in meaningful conversations with you. While living one’s life, there are many times when one needs guidance and advice.
At times, we act stubborn or inclined toward doing things without thinking through. The mind goes blind during that time and does not think of consequences. Friends are there to talk sense to you so you can see the error of your ways. They prevent us from making mistakes which we might regret later in our life. These mistakes might also cause harm to other people, as well as the person himself.
15. Social Improvement
Friends are good for Social company. As people move into society, it would not be possible for people to completely alone. People need company and friends are the best company one can have. Friends are considerate towards what you like and dislike. Friends help you become more socially active and smart. By staying with good friends, one learns manners and attitude one should have in social gatherings.
Some people can make you socially anxious and insecure. One needs to learn how to deal with such situations and people. Friends prove to be of great value in such scenarios. They try to prevent such situations from occurring. If somehow, these situations do occur, they stick up for you. Gradually, the individual becomes adept at the skill of interaction and communication.
16. Giving the ‘Push’
Friends are one of the valuable assets of life. Friendship helps you build one another and can aid you in overcoming your fears and achieving the goals of your life. Many times, in life, there are some fears that stop people from striving for what they desire. Friends push you out of your comfort zone so you can learn new things. They make you realize that the fear is only a voice in our head. This voice keeps feeding negativity to the mind. This negativity creates barriers in way of healthy thinking.
Overcoming fear makes it easier to do things. Like if you want to do a certain task. Friends will help you by teaching and making you understand that it is not hard to do. They will appreciate your effort, even when you feel like quitting. At times, they will add humor to the situation, to make you feel less discouraged at your failures. They will keep you at it and after some time you will get better at that thing. Without friends, it would be very difficult. Friends make achieving your goals easier.