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The Importance Of Spending Time With Friends For Your Mental Health

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, discusses the importance of spending time with friends for your mental health.

“Friendship is a deeply rooted and essential part of human life. From childhood to old age, the bonds we form with friends shape our experiences, provide support during difficult times, and contribute significantly to our overall well-being,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“While friendships offer numerous benefits, one aspect that often goes underappreciated is their positive impact on our mental health.”

1. Social Connection and Loneliness


Studies have shown that engaging in social activities and maintaining a network of close friends can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. These interactions trigger the release of oxytocin, often called the love or cuddle hormone, which enhances feelings of trust and bonding.

2. Stress Reduction

During stressful periods, having friends by your side can be incredibly valuable. Spending time with them allows you to share your concerns, vent your frustrations, and seek advice or comfort. Laughter, in particular, has been shown to have therapeutic effects, releasing endorphins and reducing stress hormones like cortisol.

3. Emotional Support

Friends can provide valuable emotional support by offering a listening ear, empathy, and understanding. Feeling heard and understood by friends can boost self-esteem and self-worth. Knowing that you have people who genuinely care about your well-being and are willing to stand by you in difficult times can provide security and reduce feelings of hopelessness or despair.


4. Boosting Self-Esteem and Confidence

Trust, respect, and mutual support are the foundations of healthy friendships, and being a part of such relationships maintains a good self-image. Spending time with friends who appreciate and value you for who you are fosters a sense of self-worth and self-assurance. Friends can serve as mirrors, reflecting on your strengths, accomplishments, and positive qualities. Their encouragement and affirmation can boost your confidence and help you tackle life’s challenges with greater self-belief.

5. Encouraging Healthy Habits

Friends that prioritise physical and mental well-being may encourage you to adopt healthier practices. One way to make exercise more fun and stay motivated is by joining group fitness activities with friends. Friends may also introduce you to mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga, which can positively impact your mental health.

6. Sense of Purpose and Fulfillment

Planning social outings, celebrating milestones, and being part of each other’s lives contribute to a feeling of meaning and connectedness. Sharing experiences and creating memories with friends add depth and richness to your life, enhancing your happiness and contentment.


7. Coping with Life Transitions

Transitions, both positive and challenging, mark life. Whether starting a new job, moving to a new city, getting married, or going through a difficult breakup, friends are crucial in helping you navigate these transitions. They provide support, guidance, and stability during times of change.

Tips For How to Make New Friends

It’s worth noting that friendships can extend beyond the people already in your social circle. Consider people you’ve met – even if just briefly – who left an effect on you.

To expand your social circle and enhance existing relationships, consider the following strategies:

  • Keep in touch with people you’ve worked with or studied with.
  • Reconnect with former acquaintances.
  • Reach out to people you’ve met on social occasions.
  • Get to know your neighbours.
  • Take the time to communicate with family members.
  • Participate in community events. Look for organisations or clubs that meet to discuss a common interest or activity.
  • Volunteer your time at a hospital, house of church, museum, community centre, charitable organisation, or another organisation.
  • Say yes when asked to a social event. Return the favour to someone who has recently invited you to an activity.
  • Take up a new hobby. Participate in a class at a local gym, senior centre, or community fitness centre.
  • Join a faith-based organisation. Take advantage of new member activities and get-to-know-you events.
  • Take your children or pets outside. Chat with members of your community who are out and about or go to a local park and start a chat.
  • Above all, have a good attitude. You may not make friends with everyone you meet, but being friendly will help you enhance your connections.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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