Did you know it is a proven fact that good friendships could save your life or at least extend it?
This doesn’t mean you should start creating a list of your friend’s blood types in the event you need a transplant. While that might add a few strong thumps to the ole ticker, sociologists have proof that genuine friendships are enough to increase our vitality, without any bloodshed.
Check out the facts
- Adults who are more socially connected are healthier and live longer lives than their more isolated peers.
- Social ties foster psychological well being and better health habits throughout your life.
- Social relationships reduce mortality risk among adults with documented medical conditions, too.
- Adversely, social interactions lacking in quality and quantity have been “associated with inflammatory biomarkers and impaired immune function.” There is also “compelling evidence linking a low quantity or quality of social ties with a host of conditions, including development and progression of cardiovascular disease, recurrent myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, autonomic dysregulation, high blood pressure, cancer, and delayed cancer recovery, and slower wound healing.”
Wound healing? This really spoke to me and had me asking, “God, where were my friends when I needed my wounds healed?” Just teasing. There were some (an extra special one—C.S.) and they know who they are. XO
So with all the above benefits, how do we practically create these positive outcomes.
- First, we must choose our friends well. Friendships with those well suited to us will lessen stress and tension. We should seek to have intimacy with people with whom we have an organic, healthy bond.
- Marry your best friend, if possible. It will do wonders for your health. Men, who find a good wife, have the most significant health benefits, a result of “fewer costs from spousal caregiving, childrearing, caring for aging parents, and balancing work/family demands.” But the benefits may vary by race, since “Blacks are less likely to be married than whites” and widowhood is higher for Blacks and at an earlier age based on U.S. Census 2009 data. Still, have no fear; there are plenty of friends in the sea, even if the fish are few and far between.
- Don’t go it alone. Social isolation is a mental trap so avoid it at all costs. Get out, smell the smog if there are no roses around. Join a support group if you are dealing with an issue that most people won’t understand and open up to new relationships. One and done is no way to live this life. We need people to share life with.
- Be friendly. If we want to have tried and true friends, we have to show ourselves worthy of good-hearted friendships. Finding friends is fun but keeping them takes energy and a genuine commitment to nurturing what we have found. Furthermore, if you have a friend who is hurting and going through a tough time, don’t allow them to self-isolate. Create a fun adventure and take them with you for twice the enjoyment. “A friendly smile makes you happy, and good news makes you feel strong.” Proverb 15:30 CEVUK
- Get out of toxic relationships and move far away from people who make us cry and doubt ourselves all the time. Save the “no pain, no gain” ideology for the gym. Our goal in social ties is to grow and to gain. We want to grow in our love and gain more understanding of others. Anyone stifling our growth doesn’t deserve to be in our tribe.
- Mix it up. Have more than one friend to share your love and lows with. Do what Jesus did—diversify your friendships. Sure one may be a real loser and a cheat, but there will be others you’ll love like crazy, at least one pragmatic who will always keep it real, a couple of bodyguards anxious to bring the thunder, and at least one who’ll walk on water with you and cut anyone who tries to take you down.
All in all, we should take our friendships as seriously as we take our daily medication. View it as preventive medicine and never neglect a daily dose of friendship. As a professional organizer, I suggest you set your priorities for the week based on your roles and make sure one of your roles is “friend.” Then execute your friend-role by scheduling time to phone-a-friend, plan a lunch or dinner date, or attend an activity together, even if it’s via Zoom or Google Meet. “As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp.” Proverbs 27:17 ERV
Lastly, as much as friends serve to improve health outcomes for those who develop severe health conditions, sociologists have proven that social relationships may help prevent malaises from developing in the first place. This is such good news for our aging population, plus it introduces a viable response to the escalating dementia cases if we act now. This is our time to do something to increase longevity, improve our health, reduce those pesky healthcare costs everyone is concerned about, and create a better quality of life for us and at least one other person by merely being a good friend.
If you’d like to learn more about the power of friendship, subscribe to my email list and type “Add Me Leah” in the subject. In return, I’ll send you a special gift, FREE of charge. Offer Expires November 4, 2020.
And let me know how your friendship has been a lifesaver. Write it in the comment section below. Blessed regards. Really, Leah
Umberson, Debra and Montez, Jennifer Karas, Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/#, viewed 29 October 2020.
Stress relief tips for older adults – Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/stress/stress-relief-tips-for-older-adults
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