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How friendship improves your health

Mind, Together inspired, 2018

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

How sweet is it to be trusted by a friend? In honor of Friendship Day, we are exploring the many ways our companions can help enrich our lives. It may surprise you to discover that genuine friendships not only positively impact your mood and emotional well-being, but friendships can also affect your physical health as well. To properly celebrate the spirit of camaraderie, we’ve compiled a list of ways your friends help shape your life and improve your health for the long run.

1. Emotional health

With good friends come lower stress levels, and with lower stress levels comes better blood pressure levels,higher coping skills and even healthier body weights. No one shares burdens with us quite like our friends.Verbally processing your trauma and joy, in addition to sharing life with one another, keeps feelings of isolation, depression and loneliness from taking root.

2. Higher accountability

Let’s face it; a great friend will support you in your goals and endeavors. Whether it’s finally finishing the book you’ve wanted to write or helping you kick a bad habit, friends both encourage and challenge you – to be the best you.

two women in cap and gown

3. A sharper mind

According to a study, lonely people are 1.64 times more likely to develop dementia than those with strong social bonds. Participating in an interactive social calendar with friends may help sharpen your mind as you age. 

4. Healthier weight

Did you know obesity is contagious? The New England Journal of Medicine reported that weight is “contagious” among friends. If your friends are exercising and eating healthy, you’ll be more likely to do the same—particularly if you participate in shared meals and workouts. 

three adult friends riding bikes

5. A longer life

Who knew that having good pals could lengthen life expectancy? According to a recent study, companionship is twice as likely to extend your life as exercise (not that you should quit working out)! The longer life spans researched in the study seem to be inextricably linked to the physical and emotional health benefits associated with close relationships.

group of older friends at dinner table

Did any of these benefits resonate with you? Can you think of any additional perks of strong friendships orhave a story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Be sure to leave a comment.

Enjoy Friendship Day! Celebrate with those you love and with those who make life a little sweeter.