Proven: Good Friends are Good for Your Health
By Sara Novak
I'm not an acquaintance person. I like to think that I have at least a few best friends from every era of my life thus far. Dana, Megan, and Kelly were there to watch me grow up. From second grade on through high school, and now ten years later, we're still tight as ever. Susan, Cathy, and Anne kept me grounded and somewhat sane during college and the ups and downs of professional life. We swap stories, garner advice, and escape from it all when the going gets tough. And since moving to South Carolina, Ginny and my supper club crew have been a source of strength and stability.
I'm thankful every day for these deep connections and it turns out this is a good thing. Maintaining good friendships is good for your health.
According to a story in the Washington Post:
A 2010 review of nearly 150 studies that was published in PLoS Medicine found that people with strong social ties had a 50 percent better chance of survival, regardless of age, sex, health status and cause of death, than those with weaker ties.
The study followed over 300,000 people for 7 ½ years. And get this: the connections between not maintaining friendships and health was equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and more dangerous than being obese or never exercising.
According to the Mayo Clinic friends are tremendously important to your health:
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boost your happiness
- Reduce stress
- Improve your self-worth
- Decrease your risk of serious mental illness
- Help you weather traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
- Encourage you to change unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
- Share in your good times, such as a new baby, a new job, a new house
Now there's an excuse for a girl's night out.
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