Everybody needs a good friend around who can celebrate successes, provide an escape from boredom, and give support when life isn’t easy. Having a yin to your yang or a partner in crime makes life more enjoyable, but you may not know that good friends have a lot more to offer than companionship. 

At Villa Del Sur Apartments, we know good friends are invaluable. Not only can good friends make you happy, but they can lengthen your life, boost your mental health, and be a sounding board when you need someone to talk to. Here are some ways they can make your life better.

Give Your Health a Boost

Having a good friend is a great way to live a happy life, and they can help make sure it is a long life, too. Maintaining strong relationships has been associated with living longer and fewer health problems. In fact, some research has shown it to be as powerful as eating well and not smoking. On the other hand, a lack of social ties could increase your risk of depression, cognitive decline in old age, and dying earlier.

Support Your Mental Health

If you’ve ever needed a lunch break with a pal to decompress, you know that friends are great stress reducers and mood boosters. According to the Mayo Clinic, friends support mental health by doing the following:

  • Increasing our sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boosting our happiness
  • Reducing our stress
  • Improving our self-confidence and worth
  • Helping us cope with trauma

In one study, researchers specifically looked at how friendship during adolescence impacted long-term mental health. They found that individuals who prioritized friendship when they were 15 “tended to have lower social anxiety, a higher sense of self-worth, and fewer depressive symptoms by the age of 25, compared with their counterparts who did not prioritize such friendships.”

Lend a Listening Ear

A good friend doesn’t have to agree with everything you say but can listen to your thoughts and concerns without judgment. Your mental and physical health benefit from having someone who will listen to and care about the things you say and give feedback. “A sounding board is that friend or family member you can go to with anything that will hear you out and listen,” says Michael Hedrick at Psych Central. “Sometimes they offer advice but the benefit they give is essentially in the listening. . . . The great thing about having a person who will listen is that there’s essentially no judgment about what you say.”

We could all use the support of a friend right now. In good times and bad, appreciate the friend in your life who is always there to lift you up. Having and being a good friend can make a big difference in your life.