Benefits of Friendship

Benefits of Friendships

Did you know that there are awesome psychological-benefits for adult friendships? As an adult, you may find your friendships taking a back seat to other aspects of your life; however, making and maintaining meaningful friendships is not only good for mental health, but offers quite a few added benefits.

Check out these 10 Benefits of Friendships:

1) Reduce loneliness
Connection with others is a key to reducing loneliness, especially loneliness from social isolation. While you may have a lot of “friends” on social media or online gaming, do you have at least 1 or 2 good friends that you can call to chat, hang out, or confide in? A quality friend is so valuable. Consider taking the first step to reach out to someone you already are acquainted with.
2) Increase sense of belonging and purpose
Having friendships can increase feelings of belonging and purpose. Consider joining social groups at your school, workplace, or community setting that match with your interest areas. Volunteering or connecting with a specific type of group such as a social group, activity-based group, or faith-based group can help provide opportunities to feel connected.

3) Boost happiness
Spending time with friends can help boost overall mood, especially when you are surrounded by those who help you feel good. Seek friends who are optimistic, fun, and supportive. Go ahead– enjoy a belly laugh with a friend or group of friends.

4) Improve your confidence and self-worth
Friends can help encourage and support by challenging you in positive ways, which in turn can improve confidence and self-worth. Having a friend who believes in you and believes the best of you is a great benefit to confidence and self-worth.

5) Help cope with challenging and/ or traumatic life events
When faced with adversities, friends help get through tough times. Being present, listening, and offering words of support and encouragement can help increase resiliency during stressful or traumatic times. Knowing that you are not alone is so important.

6) Encourage healthy lifestyle changes
Friends can inspire and motivate us to change our lifestyle in positive ways–from healthier eating and exercise habits to reducing or quitting substance use, to seeking out treatment such as therapy.

7) Help provide a different perspective for problems
Friends can offer a different perspective on situations, a new way to think about problems. Having someone to run through a scenario and gain a fresh view is so beneficial.

8) Reduce stress responses
Since increased stress can lead to medical issues and negatively impact mental health, having supports can help cope with stress by lowering the body’s stress response. A friend may offer a supportive presence, calm voice, or gently remind to use coping skills during times of stress.

9) Increase feelings of security
Having friends nearby can provide an element of safety and security–to know that someone is looking out for you. Friendships can also help encourage us to take new risks such as asking someone on a date or going to an event, especially when a friend offers to go with.

10) Provide emotional support
Finally, friends help provide emotional support during the ups and downs of life. It is important to keep in mind that balance is necessary. It is unfair to expect a friend to meet your emotional needs and it is best to have more than one friend that you can reach out to for emotional support.

Friends can help provide these benefits, and healthy friendships are mutually beneficial. There is a foundation of trust, respect, and kindness. As with all relationships, healthy boundaries are also important.

Written By : Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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