Friendships are an important part of bettering your mental health. If you've ever had a friend you could laugh, cry, and share your most intimate secrets with, then you know how powerful friendships can be. Although it's not easy to build and maintain friendships, they can have a major impact on your health and well-being. Adults with strong social connections have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure, and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Maintaining positive relationships should rank up there with healthy eating and exercise as a necessary investment in your health.
Ways Friendships Help Boost Mental Health
Here is what you should know about adult friendships and mental health:
1. Strong Friendships Help Offset Stressors. Friendships usually go a long way in helping you offload stress. As you go through difficult periods in life, friends can emotionally support you. Unloading the details of a bad day onto a friend can relieve some of your stress and boost your mental health in a major way. Physical touch from a friend can as well make a huge difference in relieving stress. A study conducted in 2018 found that receiving a hug relieved negative emotions like stress. Essentially, kind words and positive and welcome physical touch are great for connection and mental health.
2. Friendship Increases Self-love. We all have times when our confidence may be low. Whether it's a compliment about a nice outfit or how you've worked hard on a project, friends can help you feel more confident about yourself. Friendships usually work both ways, so giving out positive compliments to your friends and being there for them can give you a sense of purpose and boost how they feel about themselves.
3. Helps with personal growth. Sometimes people fall into depression and mental illnesses due to what they perceive to be a lack of personal growth. However, having a good circle of friends can help with personal growth and mental health. Since the people we trust and hold close to us usually influence our lives and choices, having a support system can help you stay accountable to your goals, pick up new skills, adopt healthy behaviors, and expand out of your comfort zone. Additionally, the opportunity to have stimulating and deep conversations can also help boost cognitive health and resilience against brain fog and dementia in the long run.
4. Avoid feelings of loneliness. Feelings of loneliness can take a toll on one's mental health, especially during the isolation that came with the pandemic. Whether it's through virtual catchups, in-person walks, or weekly zoom quizzes, friendships can help you avoid feelings of lowliness and boost your mental health.
Tips to Make Friends as an Adult
Sometimes it can be challenging for adults to make new friends. However, with these effective tips, you can develop positive relationships with new friends:
1. Start volunteering. A good way to find like-minded people you have something in common with is by getting involved in causes that matter to you. Getting out and volunteering means you will be putting yourself in the company of people who care about the same things as you do. This can help you to make new friends and also engage your mind.
2. Accept invitations. You might be tired, busy, and over-scheduled. However, when someone invites you to do something, try to make it happen. If you have social anxiety, do your best to remember that this person invited you to get together because they like you and want to get to know you better.
3. Reach out to neighbors. There are always some potential friends living in the neighborhood. Get out and create meaningful relationships with your neighbors. When there's something that needs to be done together, join your neighbors and partner with them.
4. Take advantage of the virtual community. Think about your friends on social media and see whether there are some forgotten old friends. Social networking sites present opportunities to reinvigorate old friendships or make new friendships and take them offline. At Acenda Integrated Health, we are many things to many people, but at the core of Acenda is our mission-driven, compassionate, and devoted team focused on purposeful progress to better individuals, families, and communities. Whether it's simply a helping hand or lifelong support, Acenda seeks to empower individuals of all ages to thrive and explore their greatest potential. Learn more here.