Your friendships can actually make you emotionally stronger. Here’s how

Friends play a significant role in promoting your emotional wellbeing and overall health. Here’s why you should nurture and invest in them.
Sisters give strength
Sisters are the best! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Chetna Pattnaik Updated: 31 Jul 2020, 15:46 pm IST
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Friendships are very important in our lives. In fact, our bond with our friends contributes to our personality development, thought process and is a crucial element in protecting our mental as well as emotional health.

We often require a confidant we can talk to without the fear of judgement. There are definitely some topics we might not be comfortable talking about with our families and hence, go to our friends who listen to us without any bias. Our friends can keep us grounded and can help us get things in perspective.

What we learn from our relationships with our peer group forms one of the foundations of our ability to cope with the problems that life throws at us.

When you engage in meaningful discussions with your friends and take out time to connect, there is a sense of approachability that is built in the relationship. When you share a comfort level like that, you build a sense of belongingness and there is a feeling of emotional security built among the friends. 

Friends can keep us grounded and can help us get things in perspective. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Yes! All friends are friends with benefits
Friends play a significant role, not only in promoting your emotional wellbeing but also your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

Here are some ways in which your friends can impact your physical and mental health:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose.
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress. A healthy and happy friend circle is likely to make you happy.
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Help you cope with traumas (such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one). Support can be in any form like being physically present, listening, offering sympathy, encouragement, and practical help such as making meals or funeral arrangements.
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits (such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise) and provide you with some much-needed motivation to achieve your goals.
  • Your friends are the first form of therapy and a perpetual source of moral guidance.
  • Being social boosts your immune system. It leads to more positive emotions which, according to health experts, reduce the physical signs of stress.
  • Leads to graceful ageing. According to surveys of women over age 60, those who are socially engaged and visit friends and family throughout the week are happier as they age.
Try to stay connected amidst your busy schedule. Image courtesy: Shutterstcok

What does it take to maintain healthy friendships?
Even though friendship provides you with merry times and sails you through the bad ones, it requires a certain level of investment. The kind of effort you make while making new friends is also the kind of effort that goes into maintaining that friendship. 

Do you ever feel like you have drifted apart from some of your closest friends due to changes in your life or in their lives? The changes can range from moving to a different place to having children. Basically, life changes and these changes often lead to a change in the priority list.

It is understandable that there are a lot of things in life that will be demanding of your attention, but in order to nurture your friendships, you will have to make that extra effort of investing your time and emotions. Your friend circle is the most definitive reflection of the person you are, and they are worth the effort. 

A heartfelt conversation with a close friend on any day can prove to be therapeutic. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Remember, quality counts more than quantity. While it’s good to cultivate a diverse network of friends and acquaintances, you also want to nurture a few truly close friends who will genuinely be there for you through the ups and downs of life. 

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Nurture your relationships, be kind, listen, open up, build trust, work on your availability, and approachability. You and the ones around you will emerge as emotionally and physically stronger individuals as result of this collective growth mechanism.

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About the Author

Understanding fitness the hard way, Chetna has finally learnt to strike a balance between her protein shake and her beer and making room for her writing desk and her gym at the same time. ...Read More

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