Your Lifestyle Choice ...

BROWSE > Home Page / Health & Happiness / Friendships - 4 Health Benefits of Friendship

4 Health Benefits of Friendship


Research shows that the key to your health and happiness is socialisation. Being disconnected from social networks & having few close friends are thought to be health risks, including obesity, hypertension & smoking.

In a 1988 scientific paper by Bert Uchino, it is found that social support is beneficial for your heart, endocrine & immune systems.

People who have friends with whom they can discuss important issues feel they are being cared for & being supported within a social network.

This feeling of being loved is particularly important in fostering self-care.

A 2006 US study by Todd Jackson links high level of social support & community involvement with healthier diet, exercise, sleep habits & other positive effects, especially in women. Worldwide studies (including in the US, Australia and Finland) have also shown that the risk of death is increased amongst people with few and/or low quality social relationships.

What are the 4 health benefits of friendshp?

1.  Motivation

Having a cheerleader is a proven strategy to maintain your health routine, ranging from dieting to exercise or other routine. Research has shown that if you exercise with a partner or friend, you are more likely to lose significantly more weight than if you exercised alone.

A friend can spur you on, inspire you when you feel you can no longer do it anymore, tell you off (hopefully, gently) if you're not meeting your goals.

You will have no greater cheerleader in the game of life than a good friend.

2.  Support

Having someone to talk to when you're lonely can ward off other more serious illnesses such as depression. It also makes you less inclined to turn to food, as a substitute for a friend.

Friends are important as sounding boards, enabling you to de-stress. Being able to confide in a good friend does wonderful things to your blood pressure.

3.  Accountability

Jackson's study also showed that women who reported greater family/friend connections were more likely to self-care, including keeping up with routine medical appointments. This in turns leads to a reduced risk of chronic diseases and early detection of serious illnesses.

4.  Experiencing a connection with others

It has been shown that even being in a crowded room with strangers can do the trick. For example, taking public transport or heading to a coffee shop with a good book can have a similar soothing effect as being with friends, albeit this can't give the 100% effect that friendship can.

With twitter, you don't even have to do this anymore. All you have to do is join twitter, then login & you can have a friend from anywhere in the world. Don't be shy, type in the first hello & you're on your way. Good luck!

Read more:    7 Ways to be a Good Twitter Friend...


Jackson T. Relationships between perceived close social support and health practices within community samples of American women and men. Journal of Psychology 2006; 140(3): 229-46.

Uchino BN, Cacioppo JT, Kiecolt-Glaser JK. The relationship between social support and physiological processes: A review with emphasis on underlying mechanisms and implications for health. Psychological Bulletin 1996; 119(3): 488-531.

House JS, Landis KR, Umberson D. Social relationships and health. Science 1988; 241(4865):540-45.

House JS, Robbins C, Metzner HL. The association of social relationships and activities with mortality: prospective evidence from the Tecumseh community health study. American Journal of Epidemiology 1982;116(1): 123-40.

Giles LC, Glonek GFV, Luszcz MA, Andrews GR. Effect of social networks on 10 year survival in very old Australians: the Australian longitudinal study of aging. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2005; 59: 574-9.