FRIENDSHIP IS THE FEELGOOD FACTOR WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Always make time for your friends. Here’s why they really matter.
How often do you actually see your friends? We know how it is. Life gets in the way, conflicting schedules, lack of proximity, busy-busy-busy… but finding face to face time for our best buddies is not just a ‘nice to have’ thing – it’s essential. Says Dr Pam Spurr, leading relationship and wellbeing expert: “It’s been proven that friendship increases your sense of belonging and purpose, boosts happiness and reduces stress, and improves your self-confidence and self-worth.
And it’s not like we don’t know this. According to a new nationwide survey spending time with true friends is the key to positive mental health and wellbeing. In fact 95% of participants said spending time with and talking to their friends helps to ease the stresses of life and provides support to get through daily struggles and life’s uncertainties.
“A quarter of us admit that we don’t spend face to face time with friends from one month to the next”
Yet we don’t make that time. With a quarter of us admitting that we don’t spend face to face time with friends from one month to the next or longer, social media plays a part in this. Nearly two thirds of us admit to spending more time using apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to communicate with our friends rather than physically meeting up with them.
And it’s an effort worth making says Dr Pam: “This survey confirms a great deal of evidence that surrounding yourself with true friends who celebrate the good times and provide support during the bad times is key to a happier and healthier life. As with any relationship, friendship requires commitment, care and good communication from both sides. Making the effort and time to meet with your friends will reap endless positive rewards. Unfortunately, nowadays it’s very easy to put friendships to one side with other priorities, such as work or caring for children or ageing parents, but the investment in maintaining good friendships is well worth it.”
“Let your friends know what they mean to you and how rewarding it is to spend quality time with them”
What’s more, says Dr Pam, we need to be open about how much we value our true friends. “I always urge people to let your friends know what they mean to you and how rewarding it is to spend quality time with them. Remind them of their good qualities and always let them know if you’re going through a busy patch that you’re still thinking of them even if you’re not in touch as frequently. Good friends are hard to come by and not only do they provide you with invaluable support, they also play a significant role in promoting your overall health and wellbeing.”
Diaries out, make that call, plan that meet-up. Do it now.
Words: Marina Gask
For more advice on friendship click here