Friends Are Benefits

Time to schedule some good solid time with your best friends, don’t you think? I mean, after a week like this with bombings, manhunts, explosions, etc., I’m pretty sure the entire country is looking for some time to rest, relax, reconnect, and remember the good times.

I know that after a normal-to-tough week, one in which I’m merely tired and cranky from not getting enough sleep and listening to three small children beg for my attention all at once, I always feel so much better after I’ve spent a few hours with my lady friends, chatting over dessert, laughing until we cry, and finishing entire thoughts without interruption. It has a way of smoothing out the frustrations and defraying my nerves in a way that few other things can.

And this past year I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with some of my favorite people who are friends forever even though we can go years without seeing or talking to each other. They are people who have supported and counseled and cried and laughed with me when I’ve been most vulnerable. They are constant and loyal and true. Sometimes I think they have saved my sanity, and the truth is that maybe they have.

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  • Happiness 1 of 7
    Happiness
    Good friends obviously make us happy, are fun to be around, and help us get through tough times, but the benefits of friendships go much deeper than that.
  • Stress Relief 2 of 7
    Stress Relief
    Good friends help relieve stress. From the day to day grind of being constantly bossed around by a 3-year-old, to making big decisions that could impact your family for years to come, life is full of stressors that can wear on us. Spending time with friends can give you the emotional support to keep stress levels down.
  • Fight Cancer 3 of 7
    Fight Cancer
    Strong support systems have shown to help those with cancer fight it more effectively, and to even have less aggressive forms of the disease.
  • Long Life 4 of 7
    Long Life
    Spending time with friends can keep us healthier longer. Studies have shown that cancer patients who have strong support systems do better than those who are isolated. This may be because of the effect friends can have on your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A strong support system boosts immunity by keeping cortisol in check.
  • Thought De-tangler 5 of 7
    Thought De-tangler
    Friends can help sort through difficult issues. I've found that sometimes the best thing I can do when I'm facing a tough decision is talk to my friends about it. Knowing I'm safe with them, that they have my best interests at heart, and that they may have been through something similar make them perfect people to open up to.
  • Better Mood 6 of 7
    Better Mood
    Being connected leads to longer, happier lives. Even something as simple as texting with a friend can improve your mood and increase your life expectancy. "'Weak' social ties [are] more harmful to overall health than heavy smoking, not exercising and being obese."
  • Go and Do 7 of 7
    Go and Do
    So turn off the computer, unglue yourself from the news reports, and call a friend. Take a long walk through a park, share some chocolate, and give your frayed nerves break.

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