5 Reasons Why Friends Can Make You Live A Longer And Healthier Life

Published on 09/14/2021
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Solitude is bad for the mind and health. That is why acquaintances are so valuable. They protect us from being alone and increase our well-being.

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5 Reasons Why Friends Can Make You Live A Longer And Healthier Life

Friends Save You From Loneliness

Solitude is more than a feeling, as numerous studies show. Loneliness is really unhealthy. It promotes stress and high blood pressure, causes cardiovascular problems, depression and has a negative effect on the quality of sleep. Loneliness – or the lack of social ties – is ultimately just as harmful as 15 cigarettes a day, such as alcoholism or obesity, researchers emphasize. Friends are therefore an immensely important anchor in life, especially for singles and older people. If, for example, the spouse dies, the bereaved person is at great risk of dying in the following year. Because the psyche and immune system then feel extremely stressful and become more susceptible to illnesses. Friends can help fill that void. So how important they might one day become – for example as a roommate in a shared apartment for the elderly – should be made aware at a young age.

Friends Encourage An Active Lifestyle

The best friend has stopped smoking, the buddy goes jogging twice a week: Friends are often role models who pull us along, motivate us and encourage us to try new things. As a group or individually, they exert a certain amount of control, which in the best case favors a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that older people who are socially satisfied are around 40 percent more active than those who feel alone. In addition, lonely people eat more fatty foods. Shedding a few pounds or looking for a new hobby – it usually works better in the company. After all, the Beatles were already singing “With a little help from my friends”.

Friends Reduce Stress

One can share joys and sorrows with friends. In particular, everyday worries – be it anger at work or relationship problems – are great to discuss with friends. This venting of steam is extremely healthy, but eating anger into yourself is more than harmful. A study by the Institute for Clinical Physiology in Pisa, Italy, showed that pent-up negative emotions increase the risk of a heart attack by a factor of 2.3. Especially, people with few social contacts tend to have a permanently increased stress level. If there is no one there to exchange ideas with, to provide emotional support and to objectively classify situations, you run the risk of perceiving burdens as stronger and pleasant moments as weaker. Pessimism, fear, helplessness – and again stress – are the consequences. Not good for the heart and circulation.

Friends Encourage Positivity

Good friends are immensely important for self-worth and self-esteem. Because what they give us is free from family “obligations”. They give us positive confirmation, build us up, highlight our strengths, accept our weaknesses, and show us selfless sympathy, trust, and respect. This knowledge has a great influence on our satisfaction, joy, and attitude in life. Anyway, one should take an example from his satisfied and life-affirming friends. Because studies show: Optimists not only live healthier but also live longer. A renowned Oxford professor has even found a formula for the connection between friendship and joie de vivre: meeting a group of no more than five friends twice a week leads to a high level of happiness and self-esteem.

Friends Strengthen Your Immune System

According to a study by Ohio State University, people with many friends have a better immune system than those who live more withdrawn. Because where there are many social contacts, there are also many germs with which we continuously train our defense mechanism. The researchers also found more cytokines in the blood of lonely people, proteins that can promote inflammation, heart attacks, diabetes and arthritis. Friends also play an important role in the recovery process after illness. And not just psychologically. Those who feel satisfied and supported have higher levels of the hormones oxytocin or dopamine in their blood, which boosts self-healing powers.

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