Friendships for Health

September 16, 2011 by  
Filed under blog

It’s not only me that believes keeping up friendships is important to your health and the quality of life. I recently came across an article on the Mayo Clinic site (that highly respected health research and educational organization) about just how important it is to maintain your friends and social circle.

According to this article friendships can:
• Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
• Boost your happiness
• Reduce stress
• Improve your self-worth
• Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
• Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise

Now that’s a lot of benefits for something most of us would like to have more of anyways! So why don’t we keep up with our friends better?

It’s because life just gets in the way. We are constantly drawn away by other priorities such as work, caring for children or elderly parents, or trying to make a dent in that long to-do list that is always hanging over our heads. We also move around a lot in this country so even well-established friendships start to fade with the distance between us all. And then it’s hard to find the time and even motivation to go out and make new friends. But it would seem, we can’t really afford not to.

It’s not that we need to have a lot of friends to get these benefits, but rather, according to the Mayo clinic article, it’s the quality of the friendships–do the friendships you have fulfill your individual need for a certain kind of closeness, comfort, and availability? It’s different for everyone but the important thing is to value those friendships, take time to call, visit, write or whatever else is appropriate for the relationship you have with your friends. Don’t let time and distance get in the way of acquiring all the great benefits friendships bring you and giving those same benefits to others.

If you’d like to read the Mayo clinic article, you can find it at: