Many of us love our “alone” time, but it’s important to be aware of the part strong relationships play in our overall well-being. Humans are social creatures and when we isolate it’s actually bad for our health. Several studies have concluded what many of us already know: we need others. (This is why solitary confinement for inmates is so brutal.) Our bonds with our family and friends play an intricate part in not just our happiness, but in our susceptibility to disease, and how long we live:
“A 2006 study found that strong social support has a positive impact on the cardiovascular and neuroendocrine systems, as well as the immune system and inflammatory processes implicated in poor health outcomes. Other studies have correlated a weak social network with depression, cognitive decline, poor wound healing, and delayed cancer recovery.”
On the flip side, some relationships are downright toxic and can have the opposite effect on your health:
“Maybe you know of people who belong to a social set that exerts a bad influence: its members may be heavily involved with drugs, addicted to the party life, or overly status conscious, for example. While a supportive network of healthy friends can be uplifting, surrounding yourself with slackers or partiers may only add to life’s stressors. Because our social connections influence our health habits, it’s crucial to form the right kind of bonds. According to the main effects model, when members of a social set engage in unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors, they encourage others to do the same. Good friends are good for your health, but bad ones have the opposite effect. Remember that the quality of your social relationships is more important than the quantity.”
For more information of the health affects and benefits of friendship, check out the infographic below. courtesy of Fix.com. You can also read Fix.com’s full research and article on The Health Benefits of Friendship here.