"I get by with a little help from my friends"
The Beatles are right. Friends matter. Not to argue with the icons but actually, friendship does more than help us “get by”. There’s growing scientific evidence it helps us thrive. Our social connections (note that’s social, not social media connections) boost wellbeing, happiness and resilience. In fact, studies show that people with a solid network of friends live longer.
This may not be news to you. So why this “Moment” on this theme? Because we know what happens. When life gets hectic, what most often slides is time with friends. Even with the best of intentions, between our schedule and theirs, you know how it goes. This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, not to mention the lead-up to Thanksgiving. It feels like the perfect time to check-in on those we love and take a little time for ourselves.
So, take a moment. Think of the people you truly enjoy – old and new friends, a favourite neighbour, kindred spirit colleague, or the family member you’d love even if you weren’t related. Set a date ... for coffee, the market, to watch the game or go for a walk. If that’s not possible, plan a phone call. Although it turns out in-person is the best tonic, just hearing each other’s voice will do you both good.
If you’re wondering how you’ll find the time, remember this. It’s good for the immune system, and everything on your to-do list will go better. We promise. The Beatles would agree. For more on the link between friendship and health: Washington Post, New York Times, The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact can make us Healthier and Happier.