Celebrate Health with your Best Friend

HAPPY NATIONAL BEST FRIEND DAY!

Each year on June 8 we have the opportunity to send some love to our ride-or-die, partner in crime, best friends. Strong, lasting relationships similar to those with our best friends, family members or significant others have such a positive effect on our lives that most of us probably don’t realize.

According to research featured in the Harvard Health Publications, strong social connections with others “not only gives us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking.” All those late night calls, venting sessions and endless laughs with those we are closest to makes us happier, allows us to have fewer health problems and helps us to live longer. Makes you want to call your best friend right now, right?

But wait, there’s more. Harvard researchers also found that these relationships account for stress relief. In addition, our arteries are healthier, we have better gut function, improved insulin regulation, and a stronger immune system. The Mayo Clinic Staff  explains how our connections increase our sense of belonging and purpose, improves our self-confidence and self-worth and helps us with coping. Shout out our go-to people who always answer the phone no matter what hour of the day it is to hear us vent.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne (Ph.D.) from Psychology Today shares that old friends can validate your sense of self. She says, “they accept you for who you are, flaws and all, and reinforce your own identity as a person who matters.” As a college student enrolled in an out-of-state school, I’ve found my friends to be the ones who keep me sane within a competitive environment. Even the presence of a friend while studying can positively affect my mood. Just yesterday, my best friend called me in the middle of a work-out to motivate me not to give up and remind me of my goals. That’s my best friend.

Amanda L. Chan from Huffpost Healthy Living shares 10 benefits of having someone close like a significant other in your life. Some of these include the fact that individuals who are married are less likely to have heart attacks and reportedly recover better after surgery. Married women have better mental health than those not married, and married men have better physical health than those not married.

Studies have also shown that not having these types of social ties or relationships with others leads to depression. It also has a negative effect on our cognitive abilities later in life AND increases our risk of having a premature death. So, you might want to reconsider your decision to never talk to that one close friend again. I wouldn’t even mind if you sent this article to them as an apology.

Leave a comment below sharing a story about your best friend. What’s the most fun thing you’ve done together?

P.S. In regards to strong relationships, quality is much more important than quantity. We should all keep this in mind on our journey to a healthy lifestyle.

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