Discover the Health Benefits of Freindship
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Discover the Health Benefits of Friendship

by James Hixon, M.D.

Feeling alone? Suffering from heart health symptoms? Reaching out to friends can help both issues. Studies on the benefits of friendships show that being with friends increases a person’s oxytocin hormone levels. That’s the power of friendship! In short, the value of friendship is essential for better health.

Studies also show that isolation decreases immune functioning and increases mortality risk. Cancer survivors with supportive friends in a group have twice the survival rate of those not in a group of friends. Close friends are strong indicators of mental, physical and spiritual health. Cultivating the art of friendship is not a luxury, but essential to work-life balance and your health.

The Power of Friendship

In addition, experiencing intimacy with a friend decreases blood pressure and heart rate and gives you an immune boost. Individuals in a cardiac rehab group reduce their risk of death by 50 percent because of establishing friendships with others. You release serotonin and endorphins when you feel connected and related to someone else. Another brain chemical, the oxytocin hormone, is produced during bonding experiences. This hormone also increases trust and reduces stress.

We have some new studies that show women with personal and close relationships with friends correlate with higher oxytocin hormone levels in the bloodstream. Researchers speculate that a close, regular relationship, where contact is maintained, may influence the responsiveness of the oxytocin hormone. This hormone helps maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, increase kindness, and creates calm.

Take this month to cultivate your existing friends, or perhaps, branch out and open yourself up to the possibilities of new connections. Having good friends is like a balm and medicine for your mind, body, and soul. And the best part is, you can get this effective “medicine” relatively easily and cheaply, too. No prescriptions needed! Just be yourself.

Mindful Friendship Tips

Looking for tips on how to cultivate the health benefits of friendship and boost your health? Check out the Mindful articles listed below.

  1. A Friendship Worth Saving? Is one of your friendships on the brink of collapsing? Do you feel that the two of you are drifting apart? Save your friendship with these Mindful tips.
  2. 5 Tips for an Authentic Friendships. Everyone needs a strong, authentic friendship, but developing such a bond can be a challenge. Use these Mindful tips to develop a dependable friendship with someone.

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