March 2, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Good Friends Make Great Medicine:

By Mark Underwood

Is it possible that having close connections with good friends, old and new, is good for your health?

Research suggests that if you cultivate a strong inner circle of friends, people you can count on through thick and thin, you may indeed gain an abundance of health benefits.

Not only do strong friendships make you feel happy and close to other people, these connections have several built- in health pluses.

Beyond the emotional connections and good vibes that quality friendships offer, strong social connections can reduce stress, boost our immunity, and ward off memory loss and depression.

Buddy System Benefits

Scientists have found that those positive feelings you have after hanging out with your best friends are not just emotionally based. Good friendships also affect your serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which sends signals from one area of the brain to another.

Although serotonin is manufactured in the brain where it performs its primary functions, some 90 percent of our serotonin supply is found in the digestive tract and in blood platelets. Of our approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin.

When you interact with friends, serotonin is believed to influence your mood, behavior, sleep, memory and learning.

Longevity Link

Strong friendships have another interesting benefit. Can friends help you live longer? Turns out they can do just that. Studies have shown that strong social networks can give you a 50 percent better chance of living a long life regardless of your age or gender. That conclusion was based on a study that followed 300,000 people for more than seven and a half years.

Another study, the 2005 Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging, also found that people with good supportive relationships were 22 percent more likely to outlive their peers who had the smallest number of good friends.

As you would expect, there’s a lot of excitement over studies like these because they suggest you can modify your life and tap into similar health benefits. The message is clear: If you have good friends, you can boost your health.

Quality Versus Quantity

Is there such a thing as having the “right” amount of friends? If you have 3,000 friends on Facebook does that count as having a strong social network?

Studies have suggested that it’s not the number of people who have “befriended” you or like you on the Internet or you see on a regular basis that counts when it comes to health benefits. What is important is quality over quantity.

So trust your instincts when it comes to making close friends. If you are someone who prefers to interact on a one-on-one basis and get to know people that way, that’s fine. Maybe you prefer to get together with people in small groups. That works too as long as you have several close friends you can count on to be there for you when you need them.

Some psychologists have suggested that friends from different backgrounds, with varying hobbies and life-interests, actually give us an increased number of health benefits.

In terms of brain fitness that makes sense. Our brains need to be challenged. We need to stimulate our minds with a variety of experiences, especially as we age.

Find friends who you can have insightful conversations with, friends who enjoy similar books, art and movies. Like any muscle, the brain needs regular exercise to remain strong. A diverse set of friends will help your mind stay active and enjoy learning late into life.

in Health
Related Posts

4 Tips on How to Succeed in Life

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

We all want to be successful in our lives, in our careers, and in our passions but sometimes we do...

3 Ways to Restore Self Esteem and Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle in 2021

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Every year we start filled with resolutions, hope, and determination. We know that after the year we’ve just had, 2021...

Gift Ideas for Loved Ones Living Alone

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Everyone needs to be cheered up once in a while. This can be especially true of someone who lives alone....

A Renewed Focus on Living

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

The pandemic caused turmoil for many Americans, emotionally and financially. With 2020 now in the rear-view mirror, people are using...

Don’t Make These 3 Fitness Mistakes

February 20, 2021

February 20, 2021

The great thing about the internet is that we now have access to a plethora of fitness content then ever...

5 Promising Medical Breakthroughs On The Horizon

February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

Although we’re in a worldwide pandemic, many of us are still enjoying the comfort and convenience of being cared for...

Santa Monica Pier Closed for Five Days in a Row

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

City cites warm weather forecasted for Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro With temperatures reaching the 80s expected, city officials are...

Do You Make These 3 New Year Resolution Mistakes?

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Every new year, you feel a ray of hope. Perhaps this year, you can start your life all over again,...

Activities to do with your children during COVID-19

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Typically, living in LA means eating out, art museums, and playgrounds– all things children love. With numbers of COVID-19 cases...

PIQUE Health Not Your Average Medical Practice

December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020

PIQUE Health is the very first comprehensive mens health center in Beverly Hills. With highly personalized treatment plans that fit...

Helping Older Loved Ones Pick a Retirement Home

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

There comes a time when a loved one needs some help to stay safe, which is when a retirement home...

A Tale of Two Hospitals: Santa Monica’s Medical Centers

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

The hospitals in Santa Monica feature the latest in technology and equipment; from a healthcare management perspective, they also provide...

5 Tips for Camping in the Santa Monica Mountains

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

The Santa Monica Mountain Range offers several pristine campsites that provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of Los...

COVID-19 Vaccine Reports Spark Hope For Americans

December 2, 2020

December 2, 2020

After nine grueling months of chaos, confusion, and grief, the FDA just approved the first COVID-19 vaccination. Just days ago,...

Santa Monica to Provide Thanksgiving Groceries to 1,430+ Food-Insecure Students and Families

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

SMC Foundation has raised $35,460 of the $50,000 toward charity event By Staff Writer Santa Monica College (SMC), the SMC Foundation,...