Strong friend­ships give huge boost to your health

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

IT’S WELL known that hav­ing friends plays a big part in our emo­tional and phys­i­cal well-be­ing. And while friend­ships make life more re­ward­ing at ev­ery age, we’re now learn­ing that as we get older, qual­ity be­comes more im­por­tant than quan­tity. But friend­ships are harder to make as we age, so it’s im­por­tant to build on the ones you have.

Re­search has found that hav­ing lots of friends when you’re in your 20s is valu­able -- think of these friend­ships as sow­ing pla­tonic wild oats. But then in your 30s, it’s time to cull that num­ber and strengthen the friend­ships you want to keep. The qual­ity of your friend­ships is what leads to stronger emo­tional well­ness in the decades ahead.

Make the time to deepen these re­la­tion­ships. For fun, you might form a walk­ing group with your bud­dies so you can get healthy at the same time. But all kinds of get-to­geth­ers re­in­force your bonds. Above all, be the kind of friend you would like to have -be a good lis­tener, of­fer sup­port with­out be­ing judg­men­tal and for­give when mis­un­der­stand­ings oc­cur.

The Mayo Clinic sug­gests these ways to nur­ture friend­ships:

• Show kind­ness -- re­mem­ber the old adage of treat­ing oth­ers as you want to be treated.

• Lis­ten in­tently -- peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate feel­ing as though you’re tak­ing their thoughts and con­cerns se­ri­ously.

• Spend real time, not just vir­tual vis­its, with friends.

Keep in mind that it’s never too late to rekin­dle friend­ships from your youth -- con­sider re­con­nect­ing with old class­mates through your high school or col­lege alumni as­so­ci­a­tion. And though it’s more chal­leng­ing to make friends later in life, it’s never too late. Be­com­ing ac­tive in your com­mu­nity, such as through vol­un­teer­ing, is one way to meet new peo­ple.

*All ma­te­ri­als are only for your in­for­ma­tion, and should not be con­strued as med­i­cal ad­vice. Where nec­es­sary, ap­pro­pri­ate pro­fes­sion­als should be con­sulted

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