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Sep 07

Friendships Keep You Happy and Healthy

Friendships

Whether we are young or old, social connections and friendships play an important role in our happiness. Maintaining a social life and close friendships makes a significant difference in our overall health and well-being, especially as we age.

Studies show that both men and women reach their maximum number of social connections and friendships around the age of 25. As young adults transition into marriage, family life and careers, their social circles and friendships shrink and social activities take a back seat to other priorities. Although this process is a natural occurrence as people shift their priorities, the loss of social connections and close friendships can have a negative impact on their physical and emotional health. According to many health studies, social ties and friends help to boost the immune system and reduce certain conditions like depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Social activities, like exercise, help to keep the mind and body active and prevent stress.

According to AARP studies on health and aging, approximately 45 million Americans over the age of 50 are suffering from chronic loneliness. The relationship between loneliness and health is well-documented in numerous health studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who experience chronic loneliness and lack of companionship have increased levels of stress and inflammation, which can increase the risk of auto immune diseases, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s, and severe depression. Elderly adults who are isolated from family, friends, and social activities have more difficulty performing daily tasks like preparing meals, cleaning, grooming, and bathing. Social isolation is linked to sleep problems, cognitive problems, suicide attempts, and premature death.

 If you’re feeling isolated and lonely, it’s important to examine your social connections and ties to friends who can offer companionship and support. If meeting new people is difficult, consider taking a cooking class, getting a pet, or joining a local fitness center. If you have friends or family members who are feeling lonely, send them gourmet food gift baskets to lift their spirits and show them that you’re thinking of them. No one should feel isolated and alone.