The Health Benefits of Female Friendship
Friends aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity
Every few months, I go on a social spree. Aka a week-long bender of restaurant outings, happy hours, and shopping with friends I don’t get to see often. We laugh, we catch up, and we remind ourselves of how lucky we are to have one another in our lives.
I credit these social sprees to be the precursor to my positive mental health for weeks to come, and I make damn sure to sprinkle in phone calls, texts, and snail mail in between our in-person interactions in order to keep the friendship alive and thriving.
The way I see it, friends are nature’s antidepressant. Just like you have to keep taking an actual drug in order for it to work, you have to keep seeing friends in order for the friendship to stay intact.
And don’t just take my word for it — there are a plethora of studies showing how and why friendship is good for your health, including:
- Less loneliness and social isolation
- Improved confidence and self-worth
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased personal development
- A sense of belonging
- Support through life’s challenges
My social spree got me thinking….
We make a whole slew of excuses not to see our old friends or make new friends. And while reasons like having young kids at home are valid, it really comes down to the effort we’re willing to put into keeping our quality of lives in tip top shape — with strong female friendships at the core of holding the rest of our lives together.
Author Bonnie Marcus said it best in her “Hanging With Your Girlfriends Helps You Live Longer And Happier” piece:
“Spending time with your girlfriends is essential for us to maintain our emotional equilibrium and sanity, especially as we age and most definitely when dealing with stress.
Our friends grant us a safe zone in which we can be our authentic selves.”
That said…Here are some friendly reminders to keep up with your girlfriends. Our health, literally, depends on it.
- Friends make the shitty things in life seem less shitty. Whether you’re going through a breakup or divorce, were just fired from your job, or are at a loss of how to discipline your maniac toddler, talking it out with friends makes whatever we are going through seem manageable and less serious.
- Friends make you feel like you are not alone. If you find yourself trapped in a negative thought loop of something like: “I’m not smart enough, I don’t deserve to be happy, I’m not being a good mom, I hate my thighs,” firstly, understand you are not alone in those thoughts. We all have them. Secondly, having friends validate your feelings reminds you that you are not alone, no matter what psycho thing your mind is thinking.
- Friends make you better. Period. Whether you’re starting a new hobby together (like volunteering or reading), or keeping each other accountable via your health and fitness goals, pursuing healthy & happy habits with your girlfriend is always a better experience — and is usually more effective than bettering yourself solo.
Thank you for reading.
If you’re looking for ways to make friends, this is a good read.
Ashley is a freelance writer based in Connecticut specializing in mental health, wellness, and fashion. She has been featured in Forbes, POPSUGAR, Well + Good, and more.
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