Having friends certainly makes you feel good. Now studies are showing that they may in fact be good for you! According to a recent Australian study, there’s evidence that friends may actually help your life last longer.
The study, which was conducted by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, followed about 1500 older people for 10 years and found that those with a large network of friends were outliving those with the fewest friends by 22 percent. By contrast, close relationships with children and relatives had almost no effect on longevity. Lynne C. Giles, one of the researchers, emphasized that family ties are important; they just seem to have little effect on longevity.
So why is this? Good friends are there to discourage you from unhealthy behavior, such as excessive drinking and smoking, and to encourage a healthy lifestyle by supporting you in activities such as following a balanced diet and exercising. The companionship they offer is also important in fighting stress, depression, and low self-esteem, Their emotional support can back you up in taking healthy risks such as going back to school for a degree in a new field, opening a business, or having children, all of which can vastly improve the quality of life and thus decrease overall stress.