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International Day of Friendship: 6 Ways Friendship Positively Affects Your Health

“Friendship is born when one person says to the other, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis.

Adolescent Friendships
Adolescent Friendships

In support of International Day of Friendship, Sunday 30th July, this months Newsletter examines how friendship enriches our lives...

A good friend cares about you, listens to you & supports you. They teach you about yourself, celebrate your wins & offer an honest opinion, even when it’s hard to hear. True friendship creates a safe space where honesty & vulnerability are met with understanding & care. Good friends are good for your health too. As World Friendship Day approaches, let’s take a closer look at how strong social connections contribute to overall health & wellbeing:

Friendship Enhances Emotional Resilience:

Having a close network of friends provides invaluable emotional support during life’s inevitable ups & downs. Whether it’s a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or words of encouragement, the support of friends can make a great difference in how you cope with adversity. By sharing what you’re going through, you open the floor to an exchange of ideas & perspectives. Friends can offer insights, advice or coping strategies that you might not have thought of on your own.

Friendship Improves Physical Health:

Research carried out at the University of North Carolina suggests that friendships are linked to better physical health. People with robust social connections had lower blood pressure, a smaller waist circumference & body mass index, & lower levels of inflammation than those without strong social ties.

Friendship Boosts Brainpower:

Spending time with friends isn't just enjoyable; it also positively affects your cognitive abilities. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that even just ten minutes of social interaction can improve problem-solving skills & boost brainpower. Engaging in conversations & activities with friends keeps your mind sharp & agile, with evidence suggesting a reduced risk of cognitive decline & dementia in older adults who maintain social connections.

The importance of friendships as we age
The importance of friendships as we age.

Friendship Boosts Immunity:

Interacting with friends & having a strong social support network can boost the production of immune cells & antibodies, bolstering your body’s ability to defend against infections & diseases. People with strong social connections are less susceptible to illness & tend to recover more quickly when they do get sick.

Friendship May Improve Sleep:

Surprisingly, friendship can even play a role in improving sleep quality. A study conducted by the University of Chicago found that individuals lacking social connections experience more restless sleep. Meaningful social interactions with friends provide comfort & security, which can help contribute to a more restful night's sleep.

Friendship Builds Self-Confidence:

Friends often provide positive feedback, encouragement, & reassurance, helping you to see your strengths & accomplishments more clearly. Feeling valued & appreciated by friends can reinforce a positive self-image, boosting self-confidence & belief in your abilities.

Friendships make you feel good & positively affect your mental, emotional & physical health. This World Friendship Day, take a moment to acknowledge & appreciate those who walk alongside you & make your life richer & more meaningful. Reach out to your friends, express your gratitude, & celebrate this day of shared connections.

How to Celebrate:

  • Do something kind for someone in your life

  • Sit a Gratitude Practice (video included below)

  • Speak to someone you have never spoken to this weekend

  • Show appreciation and gratitude to your current friends

  • Say "YES!" and attend a cultural event and get out there!

  • Volunteer with a friend - give back to your community

Happy International Day of Friendship!

Gratitude Practice

Newsletter References

Friends Are As Important To Your Health As Diet And Exercise Anna Almendrala, 2016

Loneliness Linked with Dementia Risk Karen Rowan, 2012

Social Ties and Susceptibility to the Common Cold, Sheldon Cohen, PhD; William J. Doyle, PhD; David P. Skoner, MD; et al, 1997

How Positive Relationships Can Strengthen Your Immune System

Social relationships and Sleep Quality


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