Real Or Virtual Friends? How Friends Heal You

Numerous studies show that having a good network of friends helps you cope with stress, boosts your immune system, raises self esteem and can even help you battle illness and live longer.  Other research also shows that a lack of friends, or loneliness itself, can be a contributing factor in depression.

Although the internet has given us virtual social networking, it’s often said that modern life contains lots of elements that have led to the breakdown of the kind of social networks that meant we lived out lives surrounded by friends and extended families.  An increasing number of people are living alone and reporting feeling lonely.

So here’s what we can do to pass it around.

1/ Smile at people as you walk down the street.  It’s amazing how this small shift in your energy transfers and touches everyone who walks by – even if you never even get as far as exchanging a hello, it can make you feel part of wherever you are.  No more scuttling from A to B with your eyes on the pavement!

2/Be a minisuperhero/heroine.  If you see someone struggling with a bag or buggy, offer to help.

3/Join in community activities – whether it’s a choir or even your local WI get togethers, it’s one of the quickest ways you can get to know people.

4/Get involved.  The quickest way to meet like minded souls is around a shared topic of interest, whether it’s an evening class in French cooking or a weekend spent clearing a local area of natural beauty.

5/ Contribute.  Voluntary work gives you the opportunity to dedicate a few hours a week or month to helping those who might be socially isolated get out and about.

Read more on the positive effects of friendship 

Check out UK volunteer opportunities

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