Having Friends Increases Your Longevity


I spent Thanksgiving night with a good friend of mine. We stood in crazy long lines, saw crazy people do crazy things and stayed awake for a crazy long time…and all in the name of getting crazy good deals!   ~Which, of course, WE DID!!~   It was a very enjoyable evening, even considering the facts. Now some people might not think that spending the majority of the night out in the cold with your face so numb you can’t feel it is a valid way to pass time, I disagree! It all depends on the company you’re in! There are people I wouldn’t want to spend 10 minutes with, not even in the the most desirable  of circumstances, I’m sure you can think of a few yourself that fit that bill. Then again, there are people, like my friend Cindy, who I will brave just about any situation with, and I’ll do it with a smile on my face! 🙂

So why am I bringing this up?  Well, if I asked you to name the things you know are good for you, the things you know will help you live a longer and healthier life, what would you say? I’m guessing it would sound a lot like this; exercise, eating healthy, paying attention to portion sizes, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, wearing your seatbelt..and the list goes on and on…and on. But how many of you would list having good friends as a way to improve your health and increase your lifespan??

According to a study done at Tel Aviv University in Israel,  after following 820 adults over a 20-year period, those who enjoyed good friendships at work had a significantly lower risk of dying from any cause. It is interesting to note that, according to this study, having a  terrible boss does  not  contribute to early death as so many people believe. The data showed that having supportive peers made a big difference to lifespan, while having a non supportive boss made none.  Hmmmm…maybe that’s  because  we all vent the situations and dealings with our stupid bosses to our friends??  🙂

There are other studies which indicate that friendships lead to longer life, although the above mentioned study was the first to focus on the importance of friends in the workplace.   Another study, done in 2005 out of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia concluded that people with a strong network of friends outlived those with the least amount of friends by 22%.

So why are friends so good for our health? I think we can all agree that friends help each other get through difficult times, which helps immensely to lessen the impact of stress. In many cases, friendships bring more support and much less turmoil than family relationships do.  t can even be said that friends encourage healthy behaviors in each other as well as encouraging each other to get proper medical treatment when needed. There is even research to support the fact that having good friends boosts your immune system.  🙂

With all the evidence supporting friendships in the workplace, in our social settings and in our lives in general you really only have one question to ask yourself. Do I have friends? If you answer yes, keep them. If you answer no, get some. With a strong group of friends, you’ll live longer, be healthier and happier too; I see no downside there! 🙂

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