Can spending time with your friends, improve your health?….Most definitely! Good friends are good for your health.
The key here, is GOOD friends…More on this later in the post.
Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
- Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
- Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, the death of a loved one, etc.
- Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits.
I am blessed to have some truly wonderful friendships in my life and last weekend, I had the pleasure of a weekend away with two of my closest. I wrote recently about the huge amount of stress I have been under, so you could only imagine how much I was looking forward to this weekend, not only a break from this, but to get away from the Groundhog Day and responsibilities of life, even though I love my family to bits, we all need a break sometimes, don’t we? But to just hang out with these amazing women who LOVE a chat and truly accept each other, for who we are.
And it didn’t disappoint!
We visited Daylesford (Victoria) which is a perfect place to sit around a warm cosy house, in your most comfortable clothes (ie; PJ’s) and chat, discuss, analyize, laugh, chat and discuss some more, all this over some slow grazing yummy food and a glass or three of wine…. You get the picture?
Now don’t get me wrong, I accept that this is not everyone’s cup of tea, sitting around talking all weekend but my point is just hanging out with your ‘peeps’, just being you in a relaxed and positive environment, can only be good for the soul, no matter where or what you are doing.
If you have ever read the book and research about the ‘Blue Zones’, by Dan Buettner and the National Geographic, (you can watch his TED talk here) which explored the healthiest, oldest living communities in the world, then the research tells us that not only diet and exercise play a role in longevity, but human connections and lifestyle was just as important, if not the most important. This is what, in my practice I call primary foods.
Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.
Put simply, Friendships and human connections enrich your life and improve your health.
But we can also have negative friendships and relationships. These relationships have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. You need to acknowledge who these people are in your lives and either find ways to place boundaries or choose to walk away from them, if you can. I focus on these very things in my coaching practice, guiding you to find ways to implement boundaries, where and when needed.
But for now, for me, I feel rejuvenated, not only for a relaxing weekend away, but to spend quality time with some of my girlfriends. I know that in our busy, hectic lives, you often put these ‘catch up’s’ whether it’s just a coffee, dinner, weekend away or whatever it is, on hold or the back burner. But if you have close friends or loved ones in your life and ‘busy’ is the reason why you’re not spending time with them, then you owe it to yourself and your health to connect, it doesn’t have to be a weekend away, just spend time and hang with your ‘peeps’!
I’m sure glad I did!
Tell me how do you like spending time with your closest friends? Or is your busy life getting in the way of this?