Detailed research compromising of 150 studies involving more than 300,000 participants concluded that the quality of our relationship with friends can have a direct impact on our physical and psychological health.
Humans are social by nature and therefore need to maintain a strong bond to society and people. Maintaining close relations is exceedingly crucial in a person's life. It is linked to healthier aging and a higher life expectancy. In this regard, friendships have a significant effect on a person’s psychological health and welfare.
Research from the University of Michigan also concluded that in comparison to families, friendships have a more remarkable effect on the health and mind of an adult. People who cultivate solid social bonds have a 50% higher incidence of a longer life expectancy than those who lack good social ties.
Another study revealed that the lack of friends poses health risks that are equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarette a day.
These findings show that the status of such relationships has a direct connection with behavior, a lowered risk of chronic illnesses, an enhanced degree of happiness, and a longer lifespan. Researchers share a general view that our close relationships can have an everlasting effect on our lives. Being isolated socially increases the probability of early death, for it is as damaging as smoking or consuming alcohol for relieving stress. Authors of these studies believe that having someone to depend on influences us to take good care of ourselves since the happiness of our loved ones is directly connected to our lives.
Friends also help us to overcome adversities such as a serious illness, breakups, or a job loss. Moreover, they influence you to restrain from deleterious habits while holding you accountable. Above all, they aid in relieving stress and amplify your happiness by improving your self-worth. Our friends can very well indicate the direction of our health since psychologically, we tend to adapt to surrounding behaviors and the environment.
Having a large social circle is fine; however, the chief principle is to have a few close friends to rely on through thick and thin. There is a subtle difference between being "friendly" and being a "friend." Having insincere, superficial, friends are linked to depression and insecurity. Thus, again, it can have dire health consequences. The key is to favor quality over quantity and opt for a handful of heartfelt friends with whom you share common interests and establish good relationships.
Eight decades-long research at Harvard Medical School suggests the importance of good relationships. The analysis inferred that people who have better social connections to friends, family, and society live a longer, happier, and healthier life. Meanwhile, people who are more subjected to isolation show a decline in mental and physical health as they advance in age. Those who presented a sharper memory in their 80's had satisfactory relationships with their family and friends as compared to those who didn't.
Therefore, engaging in close relationships and endorsing ties proves to provide various physical and mental health benefits.
Valerie lives in New York. As a health advocate, she shares tips and steps on maximizing nutrition, weight, and fitness goals to help others embrace a healthier lifestyle. She blogs at Halfmile Fitness