A good laugh, a support group, and honest opinions-these are only a few things great friendships can give you.
Friends give you more than just company on rest days. They tolerate you and call you out. They give you a shoulder to cry on. They help you get back and stay on your feet. What you might not know is that spending time with them has positive effects on your brain and well-being.
It’s pretty common to turn to family and friends when a stressful event happens. Research shows that being around your best friend reduces the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, during trying times. They give you a sense of security and safety-qualities attributed to “home”-that you can’t find anywhere else.
The sense of belongingness provided by a social circle helps people feel like they connect with other people. In turn, this has significant effects on mental health. Studies show that anxiety and depression are more prevalent in people who feel like they have little social support. Having a support group that you can turn to in times of need helps you confront your feelings, making it easier to deal with emotions.
Being surrounded by supportive and encouraging friends can have positive effects on self-esteem. This helps people achieve their goals since encouragement causes a good mood. When we are in a good mood, part of the prefrontal area of the brain is stimulated, enhancing one’s creativity, cognitive functions, and understanding. It is also somehow responsible for the feelings of reaching a long-term goal.
There are so many ways to hang out and have fun with your friends. You can do it on a weekday afternoon or a Friday night. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re with your most treasured friends.
Here are ways you can spend time with the people who are very dear to you:
- Get coffee
Simple afternoon coffee at your favorite local cafÃ© should suffice. Maybe you all just got off work, or you’re bored at home. Be considerate, though, because you and your friends might become too loud for the place.
Pro tip: take the outdoor tables. You won’t have to worry about laughing too much or talking over each other when the conversations start escalating.
- Gather around a bonfire
Whether it’s by the beach or just in one of your friends’ backyard, it’s still an excellent way to talk and connect with people. Bonfires usually create two very opposite vibes: peace or celebration.
Maybe you need a friend to help you reflect and give you sound advice. Perhaps a friend wants to show off their newly constructed swimming pool in a new house in Utah. Either way, you’ll still have a blast with the company of people you enjoy the most.
- Take a vacation
Traveling in groups is better. It’s more fun. You’re safer, and it’s ultimately cheaper. You’ll be sharing precious memories with other people, and they may help you discover new places to explore during the trip. If that’s not enough to convince you to book the tickets now, traveling with friends means there will be people taking your pictures.
Make time for the people who are important to you. This is the number one tip in keeping and nurturing relationships. Despite your busy life, take time to hang out with friends and have a good laugh.