Friendships offer so much more than just having a good time. Discover 9 ways your friends bolster your health.quý khách đã xem: 6 benefits of friendship and how lớn get them


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Maintaining positive sầu relationships should rank up there with healthy eating & exercise as a necessary investment in your health. Not only is spending time with friends fun but it also yields a multitude of long-term physical and emotional health benefits.

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“As a medical doctor, I wish I could prescribe friendships for everyone,” says Kelli Harding, MD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City.

But before we get into the many ways a strong social network promotes health & well-being, it’s important to point out that not all relationships are equal. Just lượt thích you can make unhealthy choices around diet & exercise, you can certainly make unhealthy choices when it comes khổng lồ the friendships and relationships you spover time on.

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A healthy friendship is a two-way street. “When we're only thinking about having our needs met & we're not thinking about our friends' needs, then the relationship is probably unhealthy,” says Marisa Franteo, PhD, a psychologist based in Washington, DC, whose research has focused on friendship & relationships.

A true friend is there for you always, not just when it’s convenient. “Showing up in moments of need is really important in friendships,” Dr. Franteo says, adding that if a friend calls with a crisis at midnight, a true friend won’t opt out. “If you're in crisis, I have sầu to lớn wake up,” she says. “Unless I’m in crisis, too, I’m going lớn show up.”

It's also important to acknowledge that not everyone’s social tư vấn network looks the same. Your network could be made up of a partner, family members, friends, coworkers, teachers, or neighbors, Dr. Harding says. “The benefits are with anyone in your life that provides positive sầu social tư vấn,” she says. No matter if your network of friendships looks like a partner & a lot of cđại bại family ties, or if it's filled with people who aren't related to lớn you biologically, every type of positive social support is beneficial, Harding says.

How a Svào Social Network Supports Physical và Emotional Health

So what does the science say about why strong social ties are good for health and well-being? Here’s what we know:

1. Friendships Promote a Sense of Belonging

No matter what unites you with your group of friends, simply feeling included — lượt thích you belong to a particular group — is beneficial, says Mahzad Hojjat, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, who has led retìm kiếm on friendships, the benefits of close relationships, & marriage. A sense of belonging fulfills an important emotional health need and helps decreases feelings of depression và hopelessness, according to lớn a study published 2015 in in Psychiatry.

2. Friends Can Help Boost Self-Esteem

Friends can improve your self-confidence và self-worth. A good frikết thúc is your cheerleader. “You want to have friends lớn nói qua in your success who are happy for you,” Dr. Hojjat says.

According to a study published in May năm ngoái in PLoS Onebelonging to a social group goes h& in h& with increased self-esteem because people take pride in these relationships & derive meaning from them.

3. Svào Social Connections Help Offphối Stressors in Your Life

Friendships go a long way in helping us buffer ức chế,” Hojjat says. “As we go through difficult periods of life, friends can help.” Unloading the details of a bad day onto lớn a friend can relieve some of your own ức chế, she says.

Physical touch can make a difference, too. A study published in October 2018 in PLoS One found that receiving a hug relieved negative emotions like stress. “Positive sầu & welcome physical touch is great for connection and health,” Harding says. The pandemic has made that tricky, of course. “Skin hunger, or touch starvation, is a real thing, which makes boosting emotional closeness especially important during the pandemic,” Harding says.

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4. Friendships May Help Protect Cognitive sầu Health

Research involving elderly women found that having a large social network offers a protective sầu effect over cognition và reduces the risk of dementia, though more retìm kiếm is needed khổng lồ say why that is.

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Another study published in August 2021 in JAMA Network Open found that having someone khổng lồ have good conversations with may part of what’s protecting brain health. The data showed that in a group of 2,171 adults who had participated in the Framingsi Heart Study, those who reported having someone in their lives they could count on as a good listener were more likely to lớn have sầu higher levels of cognitive sầu resilience (a measure of brain health known to lớn be protective sầu against brain aging & disease, like dementia).

RELATED: Having a Good Listener in Your Life Linked khổng lồ Better Brain Health

5. Friends Help Us Cope With Grief of All Kinds

Think about the last time you faced a challenging situation, such as a death in the family or loss of something else important lớn you (like a job, a pet, or a relationship). Having friends you could lean on likely helped you pull through. “People who are lonely have sầu more difficulty bouncing baông xã from life’s challenges,” Harding says.

A small study published in the July–August 2015 issue of the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research found that mothers who experienced a stillbirth relied on social support lớn escape loneliness. “Having people in our lives & social support is probably the No. 1 thing helping people get through traumatic times,” Franco says.

6. Friends Can Encourage Healthy Behaviors

Having positive relationships with people who make healthy choices can motivate you to lớn make similarly healthy choices, Hojjat says. “If friends are inlớn physical activity, you may be drawn inkhổng lồ that.”

They can also speak up if they’re concerned about you. “If you’re engaging in unhealthy behavior, friends are the ones who see it if you’re drinking too much or you’re gaining too much weight, because they’re seeing you & they’re interacting with you every day,” Hojjat says.

According lớn Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, experts suspect that relationships have this effect on physical health because of the body’s bao tay response. Feeling isolated & lonely can increase chronic bức xúc, which can negatively impact health, while the flip side — maintaining positive friendships — can keep you healthy.

7. Staying Socially Connected khổng lồ Others May Lower the Risk of Long-Term Health Problems

“Our ability lớn have sầu social connection is so essential to our ability khổng lồ live sầu a healthy life,” Franco says.

A reviews published in May 20trăng tròn in Neuroscience và Biobehavioral Reviews found that social isolation and loneliness may be linked with inflammation. Unhealthy levels of inflammation can be dangerous & may lead lớn heart disease, arthritis, stroke, or Alzheimer’s disease, according to lớn Harvard Health Publishing.

Having strong social ties has also been linked with a lower risk of depression & healthier blood pressure và toàn thân mass indexes, according khổng lồ Mayo Clinic.

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8. Svào Relationships May Help Us Live Longer

A reviews published in PLoS Medicine found that there was a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival for participants with strong social relationships.

“The difference in mortality risk didn’t come down to age, gender, or even medical problems but positive social connections with others,” Harding says of that retìm kiếm. “Those who have more social integration — as measure by marital status, number of friends, involvement with friends — had the biggest health boost.”

9. Healthy Friendships Tkết thúc lớn Make Us Happier

It helps if you associate with happy people, especially if they live sầu close by. Research involving more than 4,000 adults showed that having a happy friend who lives within a mile from you increases your own likelihood of being happy by 25 percent.

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