Right from the very day that a child steps out onto the playground for the first time, friendships become a key part of his life. These are relationships that we build ourselves, when we are children, we choose our own friends regardless of their race, colour or religion. To declare the importance of this wonderful relationship called Friendship, the first Sunday of August each year is celebrated as the International Friendship Day globally. It is a day to turn back the pages of your life and reminisce wonderful moments that you have spent with your friends at various stages of your life.
No doubt family is the closest relation of an individual, but friends hold a special place in our life, some people call say that friends are our adopted family. Friends not only share our joys and sorrows but are witnesses to each and every event of our life. We also share the darkest of our secrets and the happiest of our moments with our friends.
True friendships last a lifetime and each friendship in our life goes through its share of ups and downs. It is then that friends can really help you to pick up the pieces and start afresh. Researchers who study friendship suggest that a healthy friendship has many health benefits on an individual.
“My friends are my adopted family” Laura Vanessa Munoz, Founder at Empowering Futures
A 2010 review of research concluded that the effect of social relationships on life span of a person is twice as strong as that or exercising of quitting smoking. People with strong social relationships have been observed to live longer and are less likely to die prematurely. Having friends who do not make you feel isolated or alone have been considered to be a key factor to longevity and better physical health in a person. Another 2012 study also revealed that the risk of dementia in older people increased with their feelings of loneliness.
The Michigan State University had conducted two studies a few years ago. The first one was to study relationships and self-rated health and happiness. This study concluded that friends and family both were considered crucial for better self-rated happiness and health. However, as age increased, friendships became more important than family. The second study was conducted to analyse the effect of friendship strain/support and how it affected a person’s health. The study, which was conducted on about 8000 adults in the United States revealed that adults who had friends that often tended to be a source of strain for them, ended up with more chronic illnesses. On the other hand, people with supportive friends were happier and healthier.
People who usually live an isolated life without friends tend to have higher blood pressure and heart related ailments too. Good friends who stand by you in your trying times enable you to not give up and also help in warding off depression and suicidal thoughts.