Friendship: A Truly Health Habit
By Stepy Kamei
Most of us are focused on doing what we can to commit to the type of lifestyle that allows for a longer, healthier life. Generally speaking, this involves implementing various habits into your daily routine. Eating nutritious meals, staying fit and active, and managing levels of stress are just a few examples of the most crucial ways in which we can work to improve our health on a daily basis. However, there's another important element to our everyday lives that needs to be kept in mind: our social ties, and specifically, friendship. As it turns out, keeping up with our friends isn't just a good way to pass the time; it can benefit our overall physical and mental health and well-being too. Recent studies are confirming just how important it is to cultivate and maintain friendships, and how this practice benefits us in the long run.
How Does Friendship Impact Health?
Think about how your emotional state is impacted after a fun visit with friends. You may feel energized, lighter, less stressed, and content. When you take this into account then, it shouldn't be hard to understand why this is so beneficial to your physical health as well. Studies are showing that after visiting with friends, people tend to experience such positive effects as lower heart rate, low blood pressure, reduced anxiety and stress hormones present in the body, and better, deeper periods of sleep.
These studies were taken one step further upon examining communities along the Mediterranean, where focusing on maintaining friendships and social ties is placed in very high priority. The results were clear: people who had little to no social ties faced a whopping 50 percent increased risk in dying early, as opposed to their more social counterparts.
Increasing Your Social Circle
Now that it's clear just how important friendships are for your health, you'll want to make sure to make this a priority. So, what can you be doing? For starters, focus on maintaining the connections that you already have. Call up a friend you haven't seen in a while and invite them out to dinner, or just make a point to chat with them on the phone!
If you're looking to widen your circle of friends, consider trying out a new hobby or activity. Start going to an art class after work, join the gym, or take your dog to a new dog park. These are all excellent and easy ways to expand your social circle!
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Houston, Tex.