Science Has Spoken: Neglecting Friendships Can Be Bad For Your Heart!
We make friends but sadly forget the ways to maintain friendship.
One of the hardest things in life---at least at this stage of my #adulting life---is to look for ways to maintain friendship. Work always gets in the way of schedules and sometimes even financial reasons.
It causes one hangout date to get rescheduled several times before it actually happens. Sometimes it doesn't even happen at all and the relationship gets to the 'falling out' stage.
Nothing beats the impact of physical togetherness among friends
The hard truth is, even if you can talk and chat on social media for countless hours, nothing beats the impact of physical togetherness.
And, at this day and age it takes a village to make one meet-up happen. We put great value into our friendships but perhaps not enough effort into maintaining them.
But science says you must, if you haven't yet; because better friendships beget better health. Yes, you read that right!
A study published in the Mayo Clinic states that healthy friendships can affect our health positively. Among these benefits are stress reduction, a better sense of belonging, improved self-confidence, and reduction of unhealthy habits.
The reports also states that having good friends can have a positive impact in your life. So even science has proved that your good friends are more than just Sunday brunches and road trips.
The question is how tangible are these benefits? Well, an infographic released by WebMD proves just that.
- When your friends quit smoking, you are 36 percent more likely to follow
- Good friendships are a stress reducer and can help lower blood pressure
- People without good social relationships have a higher risk of dementia
- Good relationships can help ease depression
- People with good friendships have a lower risk of heart diseases
The benefits associated with healthy relationships are an ongoing process. Everyday in our lives, little changes occur that may be minimal and we may not notice them for a long time. But, looking back, when you are so happy with your social life, this is a sure tell-tale sign that you are indeed experiencing the added healthy benefits of healthy relationships.
The question now is: How can we foster healthy relationships?
Honestly, the process can vary greatly from one person to another. With a very diverse culture, we think differently. But that’s the special thing about friendships--they are unique.
Because of their uniqueness, they are a treasure so invaluable. But in case you are struggling, worry not, we've got some ideas for you.
Best Ways To Maintain Friendship
1. Quality over quantity. Always.
Nobody is keeping track of how many friends you really have. When we’re talking about a healthy social life, the saying “the more, the merrier” doesn’t apply.
You need friends because they are going to be your support system and be with you through ups and downs. You most definitely don’t need your friends for show (that's what Facebook's for). When this is how you deal with your relationships, they tend to become shallow.
2. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Sometimes, you and your group of friends can lose touch over time. All it takes to rekindle the friendship is one ping or a message.
And if it doesn’t come for a long time, don’t be afraid to take the first step. This first step will be the start of another amazing journey with your friends.
3. Good friendships don't happen overnight.
Repeat mantra: Success is a process. Having a relationship is getting to know each other every day. Today, you learn that your friend hates chocolates for no reason at all.
Tomorrow, you realise that your friend likes laying down her clothes the night before. There’s going to be a never-ending bout of discoveries--the good, the bad, the funny, the serious.
4. It’s perfectly fine to be choosy.
You may feel like a bad person when you really don’t want to foster a friendship with someone. You have no common interests, you have different perspectives on things, you don’t like the person’s attitude, or maybe you just can’t stand her manner of speaking.
That’s perfectly fine. Sometimes, you just don’t click with a person. Need we say more?
5. It’s perfectly fine to let go, too.
Sometimes, relationships can be so perfect the instant you meet. Yet sometimes, with time, your relationship can morph from happy pill to all-out toxic war. And there might not be any way to salvage it.
Your friend may pursue a new career and may rub off people with a completely different perspective. Sometimes, a friendship runs its course and it’s time to end it. It’s okay to let go. Just treasure the memories you made together.
Remember that there is never a wrong time work on ways to maintain friendships, new relationships or rekindle existing ones. So go out, don’t be afraid to say hi, and enjoy a journey together of good laughs and good health.