Social interactions trigger all those feel-good vibes in your brain’s endorphin system.
There’s actual science behind this!
If you have enjoyable friendships and an active social life, you’re less likely to develop serious illnesses later in life and more likely to live long. Friendships may even be more effective at extending your life span than exercise!
The crucial point here is the nature of those relationships, and how they make you feel loved, cared for, and listened to.
Here’s what science says:
Friendships can be a stronger painkiller than morphine and fulfilling relationships increase your pain tolerance (Johnson and Dunbar, 2016)
Friendships help keep your mind sharp and reduce your risk of dementia (Holwerda et al., 2014)
Having friends can help you better cope with stress and reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels (Ozbay et al., 2017)
The quality of your friendships impacts cardiovascular diseases, your blood pressure, cancer recovery and wound healing(Umberson and Montez, 2010)
Your social circle may shield you against depression, boost your self-esteem, and give support when the rain starts to fall (Harris and Orth, 2019)
Good friends keep you from doing things that are bad for you, like smoking and heavy drinking (I’ll leave the late nights out in the middle here) (Ong et al., 2016)
Distance doesn't have to dampen a friendship (Griffin, 2006)
For women, friendships are more important than family(Chopik, 2017)
Friendship to me is the ghost on your front porch, no one can see them but you know they're there to keep you company if you make time to sit with them on the steps.
I miss all of my best friends constantly because they all live overseas and we're either traveling to and fro to see each other, or we're dealing with timezones when we voice call. I'm always calling or texting them when I'm awake, they keep me company and fill my days with laughter, lending an ear when I need someone to listen.
It's okay if no one else sees my ghosts.
Friendship is something personal, something you feel and keep with you for a lifetime.