Lean on Me
In an age when researchers search the mind-body connection, it’s no surprise that studies have attempted to find the impact of friendship on health. And the impact certainly exists: people with strong networks of friends have better emotional health; stronger immune systems; better eating, exercising, and sleep habits; longer life expectancy, especially during life-threatening illnesses; and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which has adverse health effects.
Conversely, those without strong connections tend to have a lower life expectancy, higher blood pressure, and higher incidence of obesity.
While the benefits from friendship require time, they don’t require as much as you think. Quick telephone calls or e-mails contribute significantly to a strong network. And even if your spouse or sibling is your “best friend,” time with them doesn’t count as friend time to your body: friends offer a different kind of support than family or a partner does. So take an afternoon off from laundry and spend time with your bosom buddies. You never know—it could save your life.
LDS Living, Jan/Feb 2009