How Good Friendships Positively Influence Mental Health
Having close and healthy friendships may be more important than you realise. While friends are wonderful to have fun with and do things with, having close friends may actually mean having better mental health and even living longer.
Increases Sense of Belonging
As humans, we are social creatures. We need interaction with others and to belong to a group. Feeling outside the friendship group never feels nice and can trigger anxiety. So having a healthy group of friends is so important for making us feel as though we belong and are worth love. Having a strong sense of belonging is crucial for our mental health, especially when battling depression.
Spending time with good friends is wonderful as you can do fun things together or just chat and laugh together. Think of all your happiest times and it is likely that a number of them happened with close friends.
The everyday stresses of life can be eased by good friends. When life gets that bit more difficult, friends are there for us and act as a buffer between us and stress. Talking to a trusted friend about our day can lift some of the weight off our shoulders.
Coping with Trauma, Grief etc.
True friends are there for us in our time of need. They offer a shoulder to cry on or just listen when we need them too. When traumatic events happen in our lives, friends are often the ones to help us cope and lead us through the hard times. Research shows that people who have few good friendships find it harder to cope with traumatic events or the loss of a job or relationship.
Friends Can Give Advice on Healthy Behaviours
Sometimes our friends see our behaviours more clearly than we do, sometimes they can be slightly more objective. Friends will sometimes speak to you when they are concerned about certain behaviours such as drinking or isolating ourselves or eating unhealthy foods a lot. They can help you see what you are doing and encourage you to change your behaviour. Also, when we have a physically fit friend who enjoys exercising they may inspire us to also engage in healthy behaviours.
Friends can Help us Live Longer
Research shows that having strong friendships and social support may actually not only improve your quality of life but also increase how long you live. Our emotional and physical health is boosted when we have more social interactions and strong relationships.
Moral of the story, hold on to good friendships, they may make a world of difference!