Sometimes our minds make funny things. We overcomplicate things or get anxious for no reason. A simple thought gets into our head and we spin it around until we get sick of it or anxious or angry.

That’s the time when good friends come in real handy. We talk to them and then take out all the stress and negative energy that was spinning around in our head.

Talking to them we result in a somehow relaxing feeling because they often have a different perspective on our thoughts. They see things from a different angle, where some of our problems seem just like little annoying thoughts.

Most of the time they are right.

Good friends tend to reduce our stress levels, which is a good thing, since stress is doing very much damage to our health, physically and mentally, especially when we don’t know how to handle it properly.

Studies basically confirm this. An Australian study followed older people for 10 years and found out that those with the most friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. 

There are many possible reasons for that. While emotional support and help in dealing with stress, friends often encourage you to take good care of you.

From an evolutionary perspective, we are social beings. Matthew D. Lieberman explained this in his book “Social”.

Basically, we have always needed a group to survive and today, having a group (of friends) will make us more relaxed, as we tend to feel safer.

Our need for a social group also explains why most people fear public speak more than death or anything. They fear that they will get banned from the group, which would have meant death in earlier times. Today that’s not the case, but our brains can’t see the difference.

Although friends might also cause stress from time to time, especially because we care so much about them, research shows a really strong correlation between a decreasing social network and mortality risk. It’s almost as strong as between smoking and mortality.

In case you are afraid, because you are a loner, relax. Being lonely has only a negative effect on your health if you feel lonely. Unfortunately, being alone seems to become the norm.

A study published in 2004 found out that between 1985 and 2004 the percentage of people who had no good friends they could discuss important things with, tripled to 25 %.

Long work hours and social media might contribute to that. Having good friends is probably as important as exercise for your health. In case you haven’t contacted your friends for a long time, you should do that today.

If you don’t have any good friends at the moment, you should get yourself out there. You’ve got nothing to lose and the possibilities to meet new people are endless.

Actually, everyone once thought that the internet will make socializing easier, but it appears to be the opposite. We’re connected all the time, but we don’t have any real connections left.

Steps to take: 

  • Pick up your phone and look through your contacts or favourites.
  • Call one of your best friends
  • Tell them how grateful you are to have them.

Sources:

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