YOU ARE WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE
Experts explain how friendships can affect your health and overall well-being
It is better to be alone than in bad company,” said George Washington, the first President of the United States. A new study by the University of Rochester in USA seems inspired by that saying, as it sheds light on how a person’s circle of friends affects his or her life. According to the study, the number of friends you have in your twenties helps establish a good foundation for your social interactions that will take place during the rest of your life. But, when it comes to your thirties, the number of friends doesn’t affect you as much as the quality of your friendship. This is because as you go through different phases of adulthood, having deep discussions about your struggles and joys helps you ‘feel better’, and ultimately translates to better health.
“The level of anxiety and depression is lower in people who have more depth in their relationships,” says Dr Parul Tank, consultant psychiatrist and therapist. Simply put, channel your inner Taylor Swift during your twenties, and have a troop of friends, but in your thirties, try and stick to a select few like Carrie Bradshaw does in the hit series, Sex And The City.
Of friends and ‘frenemies’
“Good friends at any age keep you secure and happy, and this definitely helps combat anxiety, depression and traumatic complaints,” says Dr Madhuri Singh, psychiatrist. Stress triggers certain hormones and neuro chemicals in our body, which lower our immunity, making us more susceptible to diseases. It has also resulted in deaths on several occasions. Good friends help you unwind and de-stress.
Besides, the friends you make when you are young also help you build a mental tool-set that boosts your teambuilding tactics, and determines how some life skills that are needed for negotiation are designed.
The other side
Although maintaining a big circle of friends helps you create a network for the rest of your life, experts warn that excessive social interaction can take away from one’s focus in work, studies and family. Peer pressure can also lead to negative influences like addiction to alcohol and drug abuse. So, celebrate your friendship, but within limits.
Recent researches say that you end up binging a lot more if you are in the company of gluttons while healthy eaters inspire you to quit junk food