BFF: How Friendships Make You Happier And Healthier
How DO friendships make you happier and healthier? Friendships add spice to your life. They are like the cumin in your chili; you can stand on your own, but friendships make it so much better. Friends offer support when you need it most. Friendships are like having your own personal cheer leading squad, rooting for you to win. They give you strength when you’re at your weakest. Friends, true friends are honest with you when asked their opinion. Friends celebrate all of your successes WITH you…and, sometimes, even make up reasons to celebrate. Real friends share of themselves openly and without judgement. Friendships are the best cure for loneliness (dogs count as friends). Best of all, friends can make you laugh until you pee your pants or until you shoot pop out your nose. It’s the best!
Nothing is more rewarding than offering support or to help a friend in need. When they look at you with tears of gratitude in their eyes, your heart instantly swells and you start to wonder “what else can I do to help my friend?”. Friends, especially girlfriends, share a common bond in that we’re all women together on this Earth and we stick together. Maybe not so much in the early years, but definitely at our age there is almost no stronger bond.
So, What Does All This Add Up To?
Less stress. It’s pretty obvious to see how friendships can lead to making us happier, but it might be a little more difficult to understand how friendships can make us healthier. Yes, all that laughing, sharing, keeping each other company and helping each other reduces our stress. And, less stress keeps us healthier. In a 2011 study published in Developmental Psychology, it was found that being with your BFF’s during stressful times reduces the stress hormone cortisol. We all know the damage stress can inflict upon our health and wellness. Sustained elevated cortisol levels can wreak havoc on the mind, body and spirit, causing insomnia, depression, obesity, weakens the immune system, slows down healing and interferes with healthy endocrine function.
Rx: Take 2 friends and call me in the morning.
Take just a couple minutes to watch this amazing and heart warming video about friendship.
I am really lucky to say that I have a wonderful network of friends. I have a couple different group of friends and a few one on ones. I have a group of 5 of us from high school that I’ve developed a strong relationship with over the last few years via Facebook and private messaging. We have a rolling group message that we fondly refer to as “The Old Biddy Blog”. Then, I have another local group that I met years ago through our sons playing football together. We have had a standing ladies’ date night every Tuesday, now, for 8-10 years. My “one on one” friends I rarely see; however, we connect almost daily with texting or e-mailing. I love them all!
Not So Lucky
I know there are plenty of women out there that aren’t as lucky. Life has thrown you a curve ball. Maybe you are recently widowed, divorced, or moved to a new area. Maybe you’ve changed jobs or retired and no longer have your “work friends”. Or, maybe you’re a brand new empty nester, with the kids off to college and you’ve suddenly found yourself with too much time on your hands and nobody to take care of anymore. Believe me, I’ve been here, too. It can be a real challenge to find and trust new women enough to call your friend. Please, don’t fall into the self fulfilling prophecy trap by saying things like, “I’ll never have a friend here”, “everybody already has their clicks”, or feel that you’re not worthy of having a new friend.
Ways To Meet New Friends
Remember to keep an open mind. Remember, you’re not alone in your quest in finding new friends; there are thousands of women out there looking for the same thing and just don’t know where to start. Here are some ways you can get out there and makes some friends:
- join a gym
- take a yoga class
- take an art class
- look for free workshops in your area (like writing workshops, painting, working with clay, etc)
- invite new neighbors for dinner
- go to local functions: town meetings, fund raisers, school athletic games, etc
- join a blog or group online for something that interests you (like antiques, knitting, painting, pets, photography, etc)
- take your dog to the dog park and hang out for an afternoon each week
- support groups (like self help, widows, etc.)
Just remember that it won’t happen over night. Also, be yourself because you’re awesome!
My hope is that you’ve found something here that resonates with you and inspires you to go places you’ve never gone before. Please leave your comments below…maybe you have something to add or a different way you’ve used to successfully meet new friends.