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The Health Benefits Of Good Friendships

Clinica London supports good health and friendship, as essentials for all-round psychological and physical wellbeing.

Friendship week maybe something we don’t usually celebrate, but we really ought to, given the enormous benefits medics have placed on strong friendships. Here is a list of few benefits people with good friends enjoy:


Improved self-confidence

Supportive friends can really have a positive effect on self-confidence. This can be through general encouragement, reassurance, or simply just having a shoulder to lean on when you’re feeling doubtful. According to Gallup polling data, 98% of individuals said they felt more confident when being around friends.


Increased happiness

A lifetime of gratifying companionship can be developed when we build happy friendships. Research conducted by Yang Claire Yang, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who studies the physiological effects of social ties, has shown that being around people who are generally happy can rub off on to others around them. There are also studies that claim, that happiness levels can be increased when actively building friendships, rather than waiting for friendships to materialise organically.

Yang studied this health effect with her colleagues, by comparing biological stats of individuals who were considered isolated with those who have many friends across their lifespan. The research showed physical and mental measures such as blood pressure, BMI, and general happiness were positively impacted by having strong social ties.


Lower stress levels

Studies have shown that when you’re in the company of a good friend your body produces less cortisol which is a stress hormone. When you share your thoughts and what’s on your mind with friends, the body gives off a calming effect. In a social sciences study conducted in 2015, scientists found a shocking link between mortality and social connections. They concluded that actual and perceived social isolation are both associated with increased risk of early mortality.


Stronger immune system

Research that has linked good friendships with lower stress level has also indicated that people who are surrounded by good friends tend to have better anti-inflammatory responses and strengthened immunity.  There is said to be a link between lower stress levels and a stronger immune system. This can reduce the risk of catching an illness, arthritis, disease, and lead to wounds healing much quicker.


Friendships can help keep your mind sharp

Having friendships where there is a sense of belonging increases mental health.  A study conducted by Sheldon Cohen, PhD, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has shown that feelings of loneliness in elderly people resulted in higher dementia risk. The study was conducted in the Netherlands on more than 2,000 residents aged 65 or older. At the beginning of the research, none of the individuals were diagnosed with dementia. However, 13% of the participants who had said that they felt ‘lonely’ during the early stages of research ended up developing dementia.


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