Here are some of the health benefits of a good friendship:
- Decreases your stress - all those gabfests are good for your soul and also your heart.
- Protects you from dementia - they don't know why but having friends decreases your chances of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. They think social interaction stimulates the brain.
- Promotes good habits such as exercise - working out with a friend means you're more likely to show up. I would argue, though, that friends can sometimes encourage bad habits such as eating too much. When Mary and I get together we eat a lot of junk food. Bad girls!
- Promotes early detection of illness - friends know when there's something wrong with you and they also have the sense to nag until you go see that doctor!
- Help with the recovery of illness - just being around friends when we're ill lifts our spirits and promotes the healing process. Mary came and took care of me after my hysterectomy. We laughed so hard that we cried and it did wonders for my mood.
- Adds years to your life - people with close friendships tend to live longer (almost 22% longer). That makes sense when you think about the other 5 items on the list!!
I urge you to pick up the phone and call a close friend today. Or text them and schedule a lunch. We tend to spend most of our free time with family but there is also room in our lives for friendships.
FYI - Mary is my sister but also my best friend. Liza has become a wonderful friend as well. How cool that we all write this blog together?!!