The Wellness Benefits of Friendships

Relationships help keep mind, body and soul strong.

Happy friends having fun on summer travel adventure

(Aila Images / Shutterstock)

Developing friendships can make people’s lives richer and more meaningful. In fact, science shows that close friendships can improve people’s health and happiness, according to a World Values Survey. Making the decision to invest in and nurture social connections is key to creating a happier life.

Reducing stress and improving quality of life
Medical News Today, reports that people with close friends have higher self esteem. These relationships cause the release of the oxytocin hormone and significantly reduce levels of stress, depression and anxiety. Close friendships lead to a higher quality of life, which helps reduce negative feelings and boost emotional wellbeing.

According to The Hindustan Times, this is true for people of a younger age as well. Creating amicable relationships and closeness with others during their youth raises the likelihood of their ability to develop intimacy, loyalty, sensitivity and enjoyment with others later on in life. It is also said that older adults who continue to interact with others and have an active social life are more satisfied with who they are and have a more positive outlook towards life overall.

“The best relationship for human beings is one which is unconditional, reliable and where people have mutual respect and understanding for each other. The presence of a healthy friendship can enrich your life with happiness and well-being and buffer you against adversity,” Dr Jitender Jakhar, Consultant Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital, told the Hindustan Times.

Staying healthy, mind, body and soul
Psychologist Lee Chambers explains on his blog that socializing helps protect people from mental health disorders. The emotional and mental benefits of friendships are reflected in the sense of companionship and joy of collaboration that friendship stimulates. 

The Mayo Clinic reports on the many health benefits of friendship.  People with close connections are likely to reduce their risk for health problems, including high blood pressure and unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

Biological need for connection
Some have a harder time making friends than others. It may sometimes seem like there are those who are naturals at social interactions and at initiating conversations. The reality is, according to Medical News Today, that humans are social beings who are hardwired for connections. It is an important part of our mental, emotional and even physical health and wellbeing. This is true about those close friendships and attachments as well as more superficial social interactions.

The bottom line is that having friends can promote a healthier life in every way. Of course, like anything worthwhile, these relationships require some attention and nurturing. But for those who have experienced the joy of a real friendship, it is clear that the benefits are far greater than the investment.

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