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How Friends Play a Vital Role in Boosting Your Health

Health In Focus   - G J E 4
  • Friends are good for your overall health
  • Friends could reduce your stress levels by lending a helping hand when needed
  • Friends can help inculcate healthy lifestyle habits such as giving up smoking or encouraging you to exercise to keep fit
  • Friends are always there for emotional support during instances of serious illness, trauma or death of a near one
Friendship is indeed the best teacher in life. Most of us are fortunate to have wonderful friends in our life.
How Friends Play a Vital Role in Boosting Your Health
How Friends Play a Vital Role in Boosting Your Health
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In one of the studies evaluated by Medical News Today in 2015 regarding the health benefits of romantic relationships, it was seen that healthy lifestyle changes are more successful with partners.

‘Nothing compares to a stomach ache you get when laughing your heart out with your best friends. The close bond of true friendship is priceless!’
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Another study in Australia at the Flinders University demonstrated that participants who had a vast network of friends outlived those who had fewer friends by about 22%.

Studies have also shown that people with good support system from friends and family have a lower risk of depression. A study conducted in 2015 in seniors showed that in-person contact, at least, three times a week nearly halved seniors' risk of depression.

Friendship is one of the most beautiful things on earth and your friends are indispensable for all the good reasons.

Friends Are Your Stress-Busters

Just being in the company of friends, will make you forget your problems and any unwanted pressure that you might be feeling. You trust your friends and confide even your darkest secrets, fears, happiness and joy in your friends.

A study conducted and published in Developmental Psychology in 2011 reveals that being with your good friends during a negative experience in your life could reduce your stress levels to a great extent.

The study enrolled 103 kids aged 10 to 12 years and found that the children who spent time with their best friend during a stressful time had lower levels of stress hormone cortisol in their saliva, when compared to spending time with a parent, sibling or a teacher during the same stressful period.

University of California-Berkeley conducted a study which showed that male friendships - often referred to as "bromances" could lead to a reduction in stress levels during bad situations. The results were published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

More Friends Mean Better Heart Health

Previous research suggests that having friends and keeping in touch with them could potentially lower your blood pressure as well as help you recover from any heart conditions.

A study conducted in 2014 and published in Journal of the American Heart Association showed that patients who had suffered a heart attack were more likely to be depressed and have a poor quality of life if they did not have friends or had a low social support system.

Another study conducted on 500 women with suspected coronary artery disease revealed that those with more friends were 50% less likely to die from this condition as compared to those with fewer friends.

Friends Are Your Recipe for Longevity

Good friends are always by your side through thick and thin to support you in all situations in life. They give you a greater sense of belonging and meaning in life, thus improving your overall mood. Research has shown that making new friends can instantly lift up your spirits through the release of the hormone oxytocin in your body.

Your friends can help you stop any unwanted habits such as smoking and drinking, help you eat better and moreover, put an end to any loneliness in your life - all these are key factors for longevity.

A study published in the journal Psychology and Aging demonstrated that participants who were socially active in their 20s could benefit from better health later in life while better quality friendships in their 30s could help them live longer.

Friends Circle and Social Network Connections Could Lower Alzheimer Risk

As you age, there is a natural decline in your cognitive function. Statistics reveal that by the year 2025, the number of people suffering from dementia could possibly be as high as 7.1 million.

Some studies show that good social networks could help stave off the illness. A study done in 2008 by researchers from Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, showed that women who bonded with their friends and maintained their friendships over a 4-year period were at 26% lower risk of dementia than those with smaller social networks. The study also showed that women who saw and met their friends and family on a daily basis reduced their dementia risk by half.

Tips for Maintaining Long Lasting Friendships

  • Despite being busy with your daily routine, be sure to make time to see and meet up with your friends and show them how much you appreciate them.
  • Make good use of modern technology and connect with your friends on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
  • Spend time and socialize with your friends and do things together that you all enjoy doing. It could be anything like going out for a drink, dinner or even catching up on a movie.
  • Focus on maintaining friendships that help you build good memories.
  • Let your friends know how important they are to you.
  • Remember, some friendships take time to develop, but when they do, they could last a lifetime.
References:
  1. http://www.saveamericascinemas.org/importance-of-friendship-and-how-it-can-play-a-vital-role-in-moulding-your-life/
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860
Source: Medindia
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