Connecting With Friends Is Good For Your Health by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
In today’s remote or hybrid work world, it can be easy to fall into a routine that includes a lot of time on your own. While it is true that you have back-to-back Zoom meetings throughout the day, you may have very limited actual fun interaction with your friends.
Most people have a combination of friends or friend groups. Depending on the individual, these groups of friends can be from:
- Childhood and early school years
- Special groups, clubs, or teams
- People who have similar hobbies or interests
- Church or other religious organizations
- Past jobs or careers
- Current jobs or careers
Of course, there can be other groups as well. Depending on where you live, friend groups can overlap or be completely separate. Regardless of how interconnected your friends may be, finding time to spend together is an effective way to boost your mental health and wellness. It can also positively impact your physical health.
A Sense of Camaraderie and Belonging
As humans, we are born with a need to have a sense of belonging. While humans can and do need time on their own, knowing there is a friend there to help out, speak with, or to share achievements and challenges, helps to create this sense of belonging.
When we feel that sense of connection with another person, we feel more confident. In addition, having a friend tends to help people feel an increase in their sense of self-esteem, and positive friends who share how important the friendship is to them help us to see ourselves as positive influencers in the lives of others.
Helps with Stress Management
A good friend is someone you can talk to about difficult times in life. This could be a problem at work, the breakup of a relationship, or even challenges with the kids. Friends are a sounding board and provide emotional support to help you work through solutions or to get problems out and into the open.
Friends do not need to solve the problem or provide therapy; they just need to be there to provide encouragement, a listening ear, and support you in moving forward, celebrating your success, or helping you to talk through options.
Doing activities with friends, including walking, hiking, hitting the gym, taking a yoga class, or joining a baseball team, also help us to stay physically active. People who work out or do regular physical activity with a friend are more likely to keep up the habit and see better results than those who do these things independently.
Friendship is also a key factor in helping to reduce feelings of being alone. Individuals that regularly spend time with their friends face-to-face, online, or by phone are less likely to develop anxiety and depression and to report higher satisfaction levels in their lives.