Many children start to make friends as toddlers. From then forward, it becomes easier for kids to meet their peers as they start school. These relationships can evolve over time. In fact, you’ll likely have many different friends throughout your life. A reliable friend group can add much to your life – and make you healthier!
Here’s what friends can do for our wellbeing.
1. They Create Positive Moods
Do you turn to your friends whenever you’re overwhelmed or upset? Our friends can provide a needed happiness boost when we’re down. That’s mostly because they’re always there for us with advice and support. It turns out that interactions with friends also trigger endorphins and dopamine to help us feel better. It’s always nice to know that someone’s on your side – especially when you’ve had a stressful day.
You don’t have to be sad to become happier when you’re around friends. But after you hang out together, it’s more likely that you’ll maintain a positive mood. After all, we probably wouldn’t be friends with our friends if they didn’t make us feel better about ourselves! Those happy memories can help us gain better outlooks on life.
2. They Provide Needed Support
All people experience good and bad events throughout their lives. It’s that adversity that sticks with us over time. Our friends can provide support as we navigate those rough moments. Everyone should have a person to turn to when they need guidance. It’s even important for children to make connections at playgrounds and other spaces so that they can lean on their friends for comfort.
Whether you’re young or old, it’s crucial to maintain a tight-knit circle that cares about one another. It’s nearly impossible to get through intense life events without this support. This closeness with your friends can help you better cope with divorce, death and other traumatic experiences.
3. They Help Us Belong
Sometimes, you may feel like you’re on your own – and there’s a difference between aloneness and loneliness. You may feel content with you’re on your own, but it’s not often that people can handle too much time by themselves. We all need human interaction. As we navigate school, work and other social places, it often seems like there’s a pressure to acclimate.
Your friends can help you feel like you belong. While you should always strive to be yourself, it’s crucial to find people to connect with over time. These bonds foster a community that can make you a better person. It’s important for people to go through life with people that they can rely on – and vice versa. Our lives take on a more meaningful sense when we align ourselves with others.
4. They Extend Our Lives
You don’t need many friends to lead a happy, healthy life. Some people prefer to have a close relationship with two or three friends, while others like to socialize with various groups. But those who don’t pursue friendships at all may experience health issues. It’s not uncommon for people without close relationships to experience isolation. In fact, experts have linked loneliness to heart disease and other potential illnesses.
Our friends can also help us kick poor habits. For example, if they see that you have an issue with alcohol, they’ll likely help you lead a better life. They can also push you to take on healthier routines – a wholesome diet, an exercise regimen and more. You and your friends are often accountable for each other’s actions because you care for one another like no one else.
5. They Improve Our Confidence
Our mental health matters as much as our physical health. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a hot topic. It’s safe to say that almost everyone who’s ever lived has had to deal with a poor self-image. Today, it’s even more apparent that people aren’t confident with their looks or personality. That’s because social media has made it easier for us to compare ourselves to other people that we don’t know personally.
A trustworthy friend group can be there to make you feel worthy – and they’re also ready to hand you some harsh truths when necessary. This encouragement can turn you into a better person. When you’re confident and aware, it’s more likely that you’ll be happier. Your mental health can improve drastically when you have people around you who appreciate who you are as a person.
Your Connections Directly Impact Your Wellbeing
It may not seem like your friendships are responsible for much more than a few laughs. But it’s important to realize that your closest friends help us lead healthier lives. They improve our mental health – and that’s key to a happy existence. Whether you like to keep a few friends or a massive group, it’s essential to build connections when you’re young and old.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, freelance writer, and the founder of Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys yoga, red wine, and drinking all of the tea she can find. Follow her on Twitter @ JenniferELandis.