Friendship is a privilege that shouldn’t be underestimated. Simply put, good friends are good for you.
Social interactions trigger all those feel-good vibes in your brain’s endorphin system.
There’s actual science behind this!
If you have enjoyable friendships and an active social life, you’re less likely to develop serious illnesses later in life and more likely to live long. Friendships may even be more effective at extending your life span than exercise!
The crucial point here is the nature of those relationships, and how they make you feel loved, cared for, and listened to.
Here’s what science says:
- Friendships can be a stronger painkillerthan morphine and fulfilling relationships increase your pain tolerance (Johnson and Dunbar, 2016)
- Friendships help keep your mind sharpand reduce your risk of dementia (Holwerda et al., 2014)
- Having friends can help you better cope with stress and reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels (Ozbay et al., 2017)
- The quality of your friendships impacts cardiovascular diseases, your blood pressure, cancer recovery and wound healing (Umberson and Montez, 2010)
- Your social circle may shield you against depression, boost your self-esteem, and give support when the rain starts to fall (Harris and Orth, 2019)
- Good friends keep you from doing things that are bad for you, like smoking and heavy drinking (I’ll leave the late nights out in the middle here) (Ong et al., 2016)
- Distance doesn’t have to dampen a friendship (Griffin, 2006)
- For women, friendships are more important than family (Chopik, 2017)
So, now you know what your friends can do for you…