Good social relationships can help strengthen your overall health and wellbeing, and help you achieve greater enjoyment out of life. As life gets busier, it can be difficult to retain or build solid friendships.
Social interactions are particularly important for older adults. They help keep our mental and physical health at its peak and boost the immune system. Some studies also suggest that those who maintain close friendship groups also live longer, on average, than those who are socially isolated.
To keep or make new friends, try joining a team! For instance, join an exercise group, a book or craft club. You are likely to learn something new (which will help keep your mind active), and you may also make new friends in the process.
Being able to share your problems or difficulties with others can significantly improve your mental wellbeing because it will help you cope better with stress. Loneliness can also result in negative impacts, such as depression, anxiety, a loss of self-worth and other mental health problems. The moral encouragement and confidence social groups provide can help alleviate or lessen these negative impacts. A positive conversation can help induce hope and joy, which in turn can influence your attitude towards physical activity and encourage other positive health choices too.
While some of us crave social interactions more than others, even introverts should strive to have regular engagement with others – even if it seems difficult. The quantity and quality of the intimate relationships we share with our spouses, family or close friends create a protective function for our health. They offer support, companionship, a friendly listening board during difficult times. Sharing fun and enjoyment through friendships provide a potential source of wellbeing, which has positive effects on our physical health.
This may seem obvious, but it’s too easy to overlook the importance of good friendships, especially when the pressure of daily life makes us feel so time poor. Make time – regularly – to nurture your relationships.