Developing and maintaining healthy friendships can improve your overall well-being in many ways, such as reducing symptoms of stress and providing a reliable support system.
The benefits of friendship make it an essential part of life. It can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, and it can improve your well-being.
It’s okay to want to be alone sometimes and bask in your personal space, but social interactions and friendships are beneficial.
Valuing other people and forming friendships benefits both of you, no matter what value you offer one another. You might have hobbies in common, share similar views, or help one another when necessary.
Understanding the benefits of friendship can help you focus on maintaining the relationships that make you feel good. It may also help you work on forming new friendships with people you enjoy spending time around. Some of the benefits include:
Research from 2017Trusted Source shows that having friendships can reduce stress and anxiety levels. Having close friends during adolescent and teenage years can promote mental health during adulthood. Likewise, developing healthy friendships as an adult also helps in this sense.
2019 research indicates that social support and friendship can improve cognitive functioning.
Maintaining friendships can also prevent mental decline later in life. The benefits last into old age, creating a lifelong perk of maintaining healthy friendships.
According to a 2017 studyTrusted Source, engaging in friendships can also help improve memory and recall.
One of the benefits of friendship is that it can decrease feelings of loneliness. Loneliness can lead to depression and other mental and physical health issues, so alleviating the situation promotes your mental health.
A 2018 studyTrusted Source shows that high quality friendships bring a sense of support and intimacy. A separate study from 2020 focused on supporting the maintenance of friendships in persons living with aphasia.
Studies indicated that maintaining friendships during the early stages of recovery encourages a sense of companionship, alleviating loneliness and improving life satisfaction.
Exercising with friends can make you more likely to experience increased fitness levels. Studies from 2017 show that people who work out with others exercise more and experience decreased stress levels. They also experience improved mental and physical well-being.
Having healthy friendships ensures that you have a strong support system. Your friends can offer emotional support and help you through life changes.
You may also feel better knowing you have people you can turn to during times of hardships or excitement.
According to 2018 research, having healthy friendships can improve life satisfaction in a few ways. It encourages you to trust others and have a positive attitude, improving your chances of enjoying life.
Rarely seeing your friends can decrease life satisfaction by up to 69%. Seeing your friends more than once a week eliminates that number and allows you to enjoy your life.
2018 studies Trusted Sourceshow that people with healthy friendships during childhood experience improved health during adulthood. They experience lower blood pressure and healthier weight than those who weren’t as social.
Another study from 2018 Trusted Sourceindicates that those getting chemotherapy for cancer have a better prognosis when they have friends around during treatment. This study suggests that being around people you love and trust can improve your mental and physical strength.
2017 researchTrusted Source suggests that experiencing physical contact with people you care for can decrease your pain levels.
This benefit can occur from romantic or friendly relationships. Either way, consensually touching someone you care about can help alleviate your pain.
Spending time with your friends can help you develop and maintain healthy habits. Like-minded friends can be a good influence and encourage you to change your lifestyle if it’s unhealthy.
Having friends by your side can help you stick to a healthy lifestyle and drop unhealthy habits.
3 ways to maintain healthy friendships
There are ways you can maintain healthy friendships to improve your life and well-being. According to the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA)Trusted Source, some of the ways to maintain healthy friendships include:
- Scheduling time for them: Setting aside time to engage with your friends can help you maintain relationships. You may consider talking with them virtually or planning an activity that strengthens your friendship.
- Exercise with a friend: Staying physically active in a group setting or with a friend can help you maintain healthy friendships. Plus, you’re more likely to exercise when you look forward to the social aspect of doing so.
- Respect boundaries: Licensed professional therapist Sam Nabil explains that respecting your friend’s boundaries is essential. Relying on them for someone to vent to but then disappearing afterward can be frustrating and can cause them to limit contact. Consider asking about your friend’s well-being or if they have the capacity for you to vent before expressing your emotions.
Making new friends can be helpful when wanting to develop healthy friendships. Some of the ways you can make new friends include:
- Engage in a hobby: You can take up hobbies you used to enjoy or find something you haven’t tried before. It allows you to meet and engage with people who have similar interests.
- Introduce yourself: Consider approaching your neighbors or people you see regularly and introduce yourself to them. This can help you develop new friendships and get to know those around you.
- Try a support group: Going to a support group with like-minded people can help you find someone who shares common interests. You can also find people going through the same life experiences as you.
- Get involved in your community: Relationship expert Aditya Kashyap Mishra explains that getting involved in your community is one of the best ways to meet new people. Attending events can help you find new friends who share similar interests.
The benefits of friendship can improve your mental and physical health and promote your overall well-being. You can maintain current healthy friendships or find ways to make new friends. It isn’t too late to find people who support and care about you.
These tips can help you make changes in your current friendships or engage with new people. Understanding the benefits can encourage you to get out there and find social activities that make you feel good.
The benefits of friendship are widespread and can improve all areas of your life. You don’t have to be lonely or go through life alone. Utilizing these tips can help you build a fulfilling and meaningful life, complete with healthy friendships.