Research from the University of California, Berkeley, indicates that the quality of your friendships can impact your health, which is something to be mindful of in a day and age where loneliness is a number one complaint for many people.
Data suggest that those that have strong social relationships with friends simply live longer. Not only that, but they also report having less depression and anxiety, which are two conditions that tend to plague a good segment of the population.
Spending time at work is one thing, but outside of work be sure that you’re investing some of your time forming and cultivating solid friendships. Having a few supportive people can help with mental, emotional, and physical health.
Here are some ways that you can make yourself available for stable relationships in your life:
- Be available. To have a friend, you must be a friend. Keep this in mind and be available to friends. Everyone wants and needs to feel accepted and loved, so as you make yourself available to connect with others, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate.
- Be honest. Don’t be shy about letting people know you’re seeking a genuine friendship. Be honest about your feelings, who you are, your needs and your desires. Honesty opens up your heart to give and receive love, which is helpful in boosting your overall health.
- Allow room for growth. Relationships, in general, will often give you ample room to experience growth – at the friendship and intimate level. Have you ever found yourself jealous when a friend started hanging out with other people? Or hurt when they tell you the truth? Friends can be mirrors that shine the light on unresolved issues or shadows that lurk under the surface, giving ample opportunity to heal those issues.
- Offer unconditional love. As you embrace friends, commit to showing unconditional love. This means that even when the other person is acting out on some character defect, you continue to love them despite this. Unconditional love means not putting conditions on your love and acceptance for another. You don’t have to put up with disrespectful behavior but understand that people sometimes show out or act on character defects and that doesn’t necessarily make them unlovable.
- Allow a deep connection. People who open up and allow intimacy or a deeper connection with another tend to feel happier than those who stay at a distance emotionally. It might be a bit scary to open up to a deep connection, but the end result is worth the vulnerability. Keep in mind that meaningful relationships take time and effort, so be patient and consistent.
There’s nothing like having a close circle of friends to share life with, and experts agree that such friendships can be valuable in giving your health a good boost. If you feel you lack in friendships, start seeking opportunities to connect with new people or re-connect with those you’ve lost touch with. Invest in them. Honor them. You will not only feel better emotionally but mentally and physically as well. Those that take the time to invest in spending time with friends report being happier than when they settle into a life of solitude.