Friendships can improve health and increase longevity.
The Health Benefits of Social Connectivity
Research has shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, healthier, and live longer. On the other hand, a relative lack of live, in-the-flesh (not online) friends is linked to depression and later-life cognitive decline, as well as with increased mortality.
Who knew that just hanging out with friends and being a good friend could improve your health?
Friendships are important, and it is worth the trouble to establish and maintain them. If you find yourself in a friendship vacuum at some point in your life, it’s worth putting the effort into creating new friendships. Here are some tips:
Get involved. Attend community events, volunteer, join a club or a faith community, take a class. Pay attention to the people who you meet, and think about who you would like to get to know better.
Make the first move. Once you get to know someone a little, extend an invitation to go for coffee or lunch outside of the group or occasion where you met.
Show interest. Focus on learning about the other person, and spend less time talking about yourself.
Once you have established a friendship, you will need to nurture it. Here’s how:
Be your own best friend. Treat yourself with respect by using positive self-talk – no putdowns or name-calling to yourself, even in your thinking. Eat a healthy diet and get some exercise or physical activity on a regular basis. Treating yourself well tells others that you expect to be treated well.
Stay in touch. Facebook and emails alone just don’t cut it. Pick up your phone, be interested in your friend’s lives, and make plans to see each other in person. If a friend lives too far away to see in person, you’ll have to work harder to maintain the connection.
Accept the imperfection of others. Your friends aren’t you, no matter how many things you have in common. They will do things differently than you, make different decisions, and even make mistakes (in your opinion.) Allow them the space to be who they are. Celebrate their successes and be there to support them in their failures.
Source: Rose & Kiernan, Inc.