Humans are social creatures by nature – we can’t help it. We’ve been trained from an early age to enjoy, and even rely on, the company of others.
From celebrations and milestones to grief and seeking support – we’re inclined to share the good, and not-so-good, with those around us.
So when we get older, and relationships get a bit harder to maintain, we may lose a very important part of our lives – and it’s well-documented that loneliness can have incredibly negative effects on our health and lifespan.
Suffice to say, then, that having trusted companions around is essential to our wellbeing. Here’s why.
Increased sense of purpose
Having friendships means having more things to do, and booking in plans, no matter how loose they are, gives people a sense of purpose when they’re not fit to work or fulfil bigger commitments. The reciprocity of a relationship, the everyday give and take between friends, is also something we find enjoyable to maintain.
More mental and physical stimulation
Friends help us maintain our social skills, and having someone to talk to stimulates positive thoughts and interactions. Not only that, having someone to do things with helps build productive habits – like taking a walk in the park together, or playing a stimulating game of chess.
There’s something to be said for the simple pleasure of being in the company of people we like – it lifts our spirits and makes us feel good.
Support and love
When going through tough times, sharing our feelings with a friend or companion can help reduce the emotional impact of whatever it is that’s causing us stress – and, helpful advice can often lead to new ways of dealing with obstacles.
Improved mental health
Having people around whose company we enjoy can drastically improve our mental health. Not only does it prevent loneliness and social isolation, it makes us feel relaxed, uplifted and keeps our mind positively occupied and ‘in the moment’.