Friendship Doubles Happiness and Halves Worries
Friendship is a protective force for our psychological and physical health. It has been shown that isolation has a great influence on mortality. In fact, there are studies that affirm that, in terms of its harmful effects on health, lacking psychological support is comparable to tobacco, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity or lack of physical exercise.
The close bonds we build with others double our well-being and halve our worries. Because without a doubt, building close emotional relationships strengthens us.
That said, it is also true that it is not always easy to find satisfying psychological intimacy with the people around us, because often past disappointments lead us to prefer solitude. However, as long as this solitude does not become isolation, our health shouldn’t be affected.
Friendship: forming affective bonds
Being surrounded by people that love us makes us psychologically strong and prevents emotional difficulties arising from diverse issues like divorce, economic difficulties or illness.
That is to say, having friends helps us to reduce our stress. The marvelous power of having a confidant, someone who can offer us help, advice or a shoulder to cry on. The simple presence of loved ones in our life reduces the impact of any fundamental setbacks that we have to deal with.
So the quality and quantity of our friendships seems to be key to reducing the malaise and anxiety that sometimes torments us. The words of Robin in “The Intrepid Adventures of Robin Hood” illustrate this well:
“Tell us thy troubles and speak freely. A flow of words doth ever ease the heart of sorrows; it is like opening the waste when the mill dam is overfull”.
The psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker has shown that talking about the problems that worry us has a beneficial effect both physically and psychologically. So talking to our friends makes our health as strong as iron.
Strengthening our emotional skills
When we talk about emotional skills, we mean our ability to recognize, channel and control our own feelings, empathy, and the feelings that arise in social relationships.
So it is not surprising that when we have good friends around us we strengthen our emotional skills. This also enables us to have better disposition towards allowing others to get close to us (and vice versa), as a result of which we will have more options for creating significant relationships.
That incomparably marvelous feeling of having an emotional security cord to protect us. Feeling loved doesn’t just give us hope, it also reinforces and revitalizes us.
Knowing that others want to see you, to talk to you and are interested in how you are, creates an emotional state which rescues us from the abyss on infinite occasions. That’s why we can be sure that those people that we love so much constitute a hugely important part of what keeps us afloat.
“At that time, I was ignorant. But knowing what I know now, I cannot think back to those days without feeling a wave of nostalgia for my friends. In a certain sense, this alters the reality of what I experienced.
I had jumped off a cliff and just as I was about to hit the bottom, something extraordinary happened: I learned there were people who loved me. Knowing that you are loved changes everything.
It doesn’t make the jump any less scary, but it will give you a new perspective of what this fear means. I had jumped from the edge, and then at the last minute, in mid-air, something caught me. And that something is what I call love.
It is the only thing that can stop a man from hitting the ground. It’s the only thing powerful enough to defy the laws of gravity.”
Never forget: a smile, a conversation or a word of encouragement are true lifesavers that keep us safe when we fall prey of fear or malaise.