Friends are good for us. You know that. A friend is someone who just accepts you the way you are. And when you aren’t being yourself, they let you know.
Friends are important for survival. They improve our immune system and provide us with biological benefits. Not only do they keep us sane, they boost important chemicals in our bodies that may ward off colds, depression, anxiety, and stress.
A friendship can be romantic, platonic, canine or feline. No matter, here are some of the benefits of keeping that relationship on good footing:
- We know who we are by being in relationship with others. it’s easy to believe all your own press releases and outlandish statements in a vacuum. But friends serve as sounding boards and reality checks. They help us work through our thoughts and feelings. Good friends love us enough to give us feedback when what we say or do is out of line. And in accepting their love, we learn to love ourselves better.
- It’s Chemical: Oxytocin levels increase around good friends. Oxytocin is the feel good bonding neuropeptide. Yes, that’s a mouthful. Oxytocin increases in mothers to help them bond with their infants and children. It increases in women when we gather and helps strengthen our friendship bond. (Ladies, that’s why you feel so great when you’ve been out with the girls. Your oxytocin levels are through the roof! And guys – that’s why you want to encourage your lady to go out with the girls. In the long run, you win, too!)
- Oxytocin also increases in men and women during sex and is part of the cocktail that helps romance and then love bloom in the passion-crazy first months together. People with low oxytocin receptors have difficulty bonding with their children and friends, and low doses have been found in persons with narcissism and other sociopathic conditions. (for more information on this send me an email and I’ll send you several reports. Or start here)
- Hugging and touching do heal us! It’s true – that hug from mom or dad when you were little and those hugs from friends help us get better. Touching relieves stress, improves immune functions, and lowers blood pressure. More on that in this article.
- Friends help us laugh. Norman Cousins’ research from many decades ago proved laughter is one of the best healers. It not only raises our oxytocin, it also raises dopamine levels: these are part of the wonderful feel-good internal first aid kit we all carry within us. Friendship and laughter help us access these natural substances and increase our overall feelings of well being. So go hang out with your friends!
“Seek belly laughs that release those pain-killing endorphins which make you feel good as well as more stress-proof. The pioneering work of Norman Cousins demonstrated the value of laughter in stress-reduction. Friends who make you laugh are one of life’s greatest blessings.” John D. MacArthur in Your Relaxation Response.
Celebrate Your Friends!
Put something in the “friend bank” every day by sharing love and laughter.
You never know when you’ll need it.
Take care of yourself,
We need you!
“They come, they go, they never know what they do. But they do change you.”
Laurence Craig Green, from a book of poems given to me by my first love in 1971
“Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France
Excerpted From my Recent ezine, “A Moment For You.”
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