In honor of National Best Friends Day, we’ve decided to celebrate our best friends (you know who you are) by citing all the incredible benefits of friendship. While most people are aware of how much a good friend can enrich your life, not many know that friends can also have a positive impact on your health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, adults that have a strong social support system have a reduced risk of certain health conditions like depression and high blood pressure. Additionally, having friends can boost self-esteem and even increase longevity.
Here’s a closer look at how friends make a real difference in our health in the long-run
In addition to the simple pleasure of having someone to see a movie with, friends offer real, long-lasting health benefits.
Friends Help Reduce the Risk of Depression
In 2015, researchers collected data from more than 2,000 high-school students regarding depression symptoms. Teens who scored as clinically depressed but had friends who were considered mentally healthy doubled their chances of getting better. Moreover, the study showed that teens who were depressed did not make their friends depressed — the connection only flows in one way, meaning that healthy moods influenced depression but depression did not influence healthy moods.
Friends Help Reduce the Risk of High Blood Pressure
Different researchers combined data from four large studies that followed the physical and mental wellbeing of thousands of Americans ages 12 through 91. They found that the more socially connected a person is, the lower their blood pressure. The reason for this? According to the lead researcher, the reason friendship affects blood pressure is because it “buffers the daily stresses that we all experience.” Without friendship acting as a buffer, our bodies produce more of the hormones associated with stress, which can lead to high blood pressure.
Friends Can Increase Self-Esteem
According to recent research, positive relationships and a social support system influence the development of self-esteem in people ranging from age 4 all the way to 76. Conversely, people without a strong support system were shown to develop low self-esteem. The research was conducted by analyzing 52 studies that involved over 47,000 participants and that looked at the relationship between social support and self-esteem.
Friends Can Increase Longevity
A study of 300,000 people showed that people who have strong social ties have a 50% better chance of survival than people who don’t. An earlier study from Australia found that in their study group, those with the most friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. Those are some significant numbers. The caveat here is that friends don’t mean Facebook friends or Instagram followers. They mean real friends, who you can talk to and confide in.
Friendship Can Increase Your Overall Quality of Life
Friendship not only gives us long-lasting health benefits, but it gives us the simple enjoyment of talking and spending time with people we love. Both the long-term and short-term benefits allow us to feel physically and emotionally healthy, which means that the overall quality of our lives can increase.
In addition to friendship, other things that contribute to a high quality of life include eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. When you are able to achieve your goals in all of these areas, the quality of your life will simply soar. As a bonus, you can get lower rates on life insurance. Since health plays a major role in determining the amount of your life insurance premiums, being physically and emotionally healthy means you can qualify for lower rates.
Sproutt insurance advisors are available to help you determine what kind of life insurance is best for you. Simply answer a few questions and we will find the best-value plan for your lifestyle, needs, and budget.