Friends – they make us happier, healthier people. They are there for us through the good times and the bad. Some, we might even consider to be family. In reality, they may offer even more positivity in our lives. Studies have linked close friendships to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, including:
- Reduced levels of stress. Spending quality time with friends is linked to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can lead to a lifestyle with lower stress overall.
- Increased happiness. Surrounding yourself with happy people can actually increase your happiness and satisfaction. Studies have also shown that actively pursuing a friendship can be more gratifying and beneficial than waiting for friends to come to you.
- Boosted immune system. Individuals with close friendships often have stronger immune systems and anti-inflammatory responses, which in turn may reduce risk of a variety of illnesses.
- Higher self-confidence. Spending time with supportive people can offer praise and reassurance, which can lead to a lifetime of self-assurance.
- Better overall health. Friends encourage us to be the best version of ourselves. This can lead to lasting benefits, including better food choices, increased exercise, community involvement, volunteering or simply permission to take a much-needed break. This can lead to a lower risk for a handful of health issues, including depression, high blood pressure and obesity.