Most of us love spending time with our friends. We like letting our hair down and having a laugh with the people who get us the most, but what many of us do not realise is that our friendships are really good for our health and wellbeing in a number of very important ways.
So, if you are looking for a good excuse to hit up that bar with the great cocktails or check out the new cinema that’s just been built with that one friend who always has something funny to say about whatever film you’re watching, check out these very real benefits of good friendships:
An antidote to loneliness
One of the most obvious ways that good friendships can improve your wellbeing is by helping to prevent loneliness. There has been something of an epidemic of loneliness and isolation in recent years, and that’s before the pandemic ever chase into the equation, and it can result in higher levels of stress and depression as well as early death.
By making time to see your friends regularly, text them or Facetime them when you can, and maintain those relationships as best you can, you really are doing a great thing for your mental health and theirs.
Lower stress levels
Studies have shown that spending time with friends can lower stress levels which is not surprising because time spent with friends, whether sipping cocktails or running in the park, is a sure-fire way to get laughing and when you laugh you release mood-boosting endorphins that help you to feel better.
Of course, good friends also provide a shoulder to cry on and when you share your problems, you are less likely to be so overwhelmingly burdened by them that they make you ill.
Since high stress levels can also cause physical health issues such as a lower immune system, an increased heart attack risk, and diabetes amongst other things, spending fun time with friends could be having a much bigger impact on your health than you might think!
Meet personal goals
Whether you want to give up smoking or learn how to meditate, it has been shown time and time again that if you surround yourself with friends who already practice the healthy habits you want to have in your life, you are much more likely to achieve them yourself. After all, the people who you spend the most time with are going to have the biggest influence on your life. That’s why we should all be looking to surround ourselves with friends who are happy, healthy and positive most of the time at least.
When you have a group of friends who you know care deeply about you who will go out of their way to help you; who love spending time with you, it is really easy to have a higher level of self-esteem than it would be if you had few friends, or were surrounded by people who are only around for you when you had something to offer them, for example.
Good friends show us that we are worthwhile and that we do have value just by being ourselves and that is an important thing to have in a world where so many of us have issues with our self-esteem, often fuelled by social media and unrealistic expectations about how we should look or how much money we should make, good friends love us regardless and that is a real confidence boost!
They make you smile
Did you know smiling reduces endorphins> laughing even more so! This is really important because endorphins make us feel happier and more positive than we otherwise might. They are so effective that even just pasting a smile on your face whether you feel it or not change your mood and make you feel better about things.
As such, spending time with friends who really know how to make us smile, or even better laugh like drains, even when we are feeling down, is one of the best things we can do for our mental health outside of seeking the help of a professional, which you absolutely should do if you are suffering from a low mood that is significantly affecting your life.
So there you have it, friendships really can have a huge impact on your physical and mental health in so many vital ways, which is why it is so important to take time for your friends, invest in your friendships and meet your best mates regularly.
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