The more the merrier! I think this remains applicable at least to our friends. Gone are the days where we had joint family systems because of which children got to play with their cousins, learn the importance of caring and sharing adults too had a shoulder to rely upon in times of distress and need. Now, family sizes are not more than three and we aren’t even aware of who our neighbors are! The concrete jungle has invaded our colorful lives demolishing love and affection for our near and dear ones. Humanness has taken a downside and all that we want is monetary and materialistic pleasures. While we decided to lead a life in solitude away from elderly people, siblings and others contended with our very own family of spouse and child stress, anxiety and loneliness have invaded our private lives. We stand at the brink of helplessness and destruction of our personal self which would become hard to reverse in the absence of a magic solution.
In the Nick of Time
Why don’t we add magic to life by bringing in lost treasures which is none other than our beloved ones into our lives once again? Smartphones could be our best friends and the Internet could be our lifesaver at the end of a tiresome day. But don’t you all think we have forgotten the magic that lies in the touch and warmth of another human being in times of our dire needs? Beyond words are the comfort of pouring our worries, happiness, joys and aches to someone who is physically present rather than texting someone. The warm hug of your spouse, the kiss in your forehead coming from your mom/dad and the friendly pat on your back coming from your bro/sis would melt away all your worries. While their touch would not solve any of your problems instantly it gives you all the energy that you need replenishing your lost confidence and makes you stand up to the situation with better self-belief and tackle the problem at hand in a great way.
For a ‘Healthier’ You
Individuals start planning to improve their health by working on their diet plans, exercise routines and sleeping hours all of which definitely improve physical health. But health is the sum total of mental and physical health put together and many of us don’t do much to take care of our mental health which is affected much by stress in life. There is even a study showing that measuring the strength of a person’s social circle is the best way to predict happiness and well-being of the person than tracking down fitness trackers that have data on heart rate, total number of steps and sleep duration. We also have studies showing that better social life is linked to better mental and physical health as it improves mood levels, decreases stress levels, improves cardiovascular health and healthy behavior and brings in positivity in things that you do. At the same time, lack of social life has devastating effects digging the path for loneliness and isolation whose consequences are comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Social media is a great inducer of loneliness and this seems to diminish as a person grows old. Age maybe brings in enlightenment to people who wish to be surrounded by other people!
Once your relationship with your friends, family and the society is happy, you are bound to suffer from fewer health problems and live a longer life. Surprisingly, people who bonded with others but practised unhealthy lifestyles lived longer than those who had poor social ties but followed healthy lifestyles. When you bond with the society and follow a healthy lifestyle this becomes a deadly combination helping you live the longest life. Lack of socialization leads to stress and inflammation which reduces immune function and the body is attacked by a number of diseases. Whereas, when you have a good group of friends there are multiple chances that you get to shed away unwanted behaviour and start pursuing healthier ones. They influence you in many ways and also help us change our perspective over different things. The kind of friends we choose determine our life path and when we choose some people as our friends, we are trusting them with our lives as their influence does change our course of life to a greater extent. For example, if your friends don’t drink alcohol you are less likely to booze; if your bestie is a fitness freak you are more likelier to go for a jog in the park, spend quality time exercising while enjoying the experience all the time. When you feel connected with others you benefit from improved self-esteem, trust, cooperation and better empathy (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/well/live/having-friends-is-good-for-you.html).
Maybe its time to prioritize your friends, meet them regularly over a cup of coffee or lunch and have a hearty laugh to take away your pains in life. Its not enough to do yoga, exercise and eat a healthy diet to stay healthy and improve well-being. Equip yourself with a group of friends to solve your miseries and problems. Nurture relationships and stay connected in times of both sorrows and joys. While you rely upon family and friends for help, remember to accept responsibility for your loved ones in times of their needs. In case your friend is unable to offer the support that you need maybe it’s time to widen your social network and talk to someone else that you trust and care.
Your Friends Affect your Health a Lot More than you Think: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2014/09/02/friends-thrive_n_5723746.html
Why Spending Time with Friends is One of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Health: https://time.com/5609508/social-support-health-benefits/
Study Shows Having Friends Can Improve Health as You Age: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/news/a47328/best-friends-health-benefits/
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.