The 10 benefits of having friends, according to science

The 10 benefits of having friends

Authentic friendship is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to us in this life . To have someone faithful to us in whom we can trust and have fun, to have their support in the ups and downs of life or to be able to confess our worries to them is worth its weight in gold.

As the popular saying goes, “he who has a friend has a treasure.”

There are many types of friends

Obviously there are many kinds of friends. Some are simply great fun buddies; others are everything in our lives, almost like family. The fact is that throughout our existence we can meet many people and make good friends, but there are few real friends.

As the years go by, we can lose contact with some of them, although there are always those good friends, those from childhood, who, when we meet them again after a while, seem not to have been separated even for a moment.

  • If you want to know more about the different kinds of friends, you can visit our article: “The 12 kinds of friends: what are yours like?”

Benefits of having friends

But no matter what kind of friends we have, they all bring us benefits: learning, unique experiences, fun and unforgettable moments, advice

According to some studies, 98% of people have between 1 and 9 close good friends. Other research indicates that friendship is not just fun, but is necessary for our development, our emotional health, and our mental and physical well-being.

In the following lines, we are going to deepen these benefits:

1. help you live longer

People with an active social life and good interpersonal relations live longer , as stated in a meta-analysis carried out in 2010. For the study, 148 investigations were examined that sought to find some kind of relationship between friendship, social skills and mortality.

The subjects of the various studies totaled more than 300,000 participants. According to the results, the stronger the bonds in social relations, the later the subjects died. The researchers say that the relationship may lie in the importance of friendship in overcoming stressful life situations, and this positive impact would significantly affect both mental and physical health.

2. Reduce stress

Many studies claim that friendship reduces stress . In fact, psychologists in organizations have been studying for some time the relationship between good relationships with colleagues and burnout or chronic stress.

It seems that healthy relationships with co-workers work as a buffer against this phenomenon, reducing its symptoms and participating in its prevention.

3. A healthier life

A study carried out by Yang and her collaborators, after comparing the state of health of people with healthy interpersonal relationships and those who were isolated, found that the former enjoyed greater general health: good blood pressure, lower body mass index , etc. His conclusions were published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

4. More fun

Friends provide us with good moments and fun situations . In fact, we associate friendship with fun times and with sharing activities that we find pleasant and enjoyable. If we also have a friend who tells jokes all day long, our health and wellbeing will improve considerably.

  • You want to know why this is happening? To find out just read our post: “The physical and psychological benefits of laughter”

5. Relieves pain

Friends not only relieve emotional pain when we are sad and listen to us and give us their most unconditional support, but they can also help us reduce physical pain. This is what is stated in research published by Psychosomatic Medicine , which states that the perception of pain is reduced when we are physically next to a person we consider close.

6. Improve mental acuity

Friends also affect our brain . According to a study conducted in 2012, people with dementia get worse when they are not in contact with other people and feel lonely. The subjects of the study were more than 2000 Dutch people over the age of 65, analysed over 3 years.

After analyzing the results, the researchers said that: “it has more to do with the feeling of being alone than with being really alone. Therefore, it is not simply contact with other people that is productive in this sense, but qualitatively better and closer contact improves brain functioning.

7. Improves cardiovascular health

As with physical exercise, friendship has a positive effect on our heart . This is the conclusion of a study from Duke University in the United States. To carry out their study, the researchers analyzed 1000 subjects with cardiovascular diseases.

The results indicated that, after five years, half of the participants who had died did not have a close friend. In contrast, 85% of the survivors had a strong friendship with someone.

8. Encourage personal development or growth

Friendship is present at all stages of our life , and favours our development. For example, friendship is necessary for development in adolescence, because it can help in the process of self-discovery of identity. Moreover, through friends we can acquire values, knowledge and can serve as a model for learning different behaviors.

9. Greater emotional balance

Human beings are sociable beings and therefore need contact with other people . Deprivation of friendship has a negative effect on our mental balance. Friends increase our self-esteem and make us feel good in bad times. It is difficult to imagine a happy person without friends.

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10. Help prevent obesity

Friends help prevent obesity . At least this is the conclusion of a study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. The researchers explain that, especially in childhood, “socialization has a food-substitution effect,” causing us to eat less when we are entertained. No doubt, some curious results.

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