How friends can improve your mental health

Healthy Living > Mental health > How friends can improve your mental wellbeing

Blog Article | By The Simplyhealth Team 29 July 2020

Did you know, friends can help reduce your chance of health problems like depression and high blood pressure? Studies have even found that strong friendships enable some to live longer than those with fewer social connections. It’s great that we can now meet up with friends more easily since lockdown as the reduced social contact has been hard for some. Check out how friends can help improve your health.

Someone to keep you company


As humans, we’re sociable. We have a built-in need to cooperate to survive and thrive. Studies have shown that when people feel lonely, they have higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Airing and sharing your problems with friends can help take a weight off your mind, which is why talk therapy is so effective for some people. Friends may be able to help you resolve problems which have been bugging you for a while, by giving you their opinions, advice and suggestions which you may never have considered alone. A chat over coffee can really help some people feel better.

Two guys chatting on the steps

Reduce stress, have a laugh!


Endorphins play a big part in being around friends who make you smile. Sometimes a good laugh is all you need to awaken those endorphins – our ‘feel good’ hormones - which helps relieve stress. Researchers at Oxford University have even found that endorphins have “… a powerful pain-killing effect - stronger even than morphine.” So speaking to friends really can help take the pain away.

An encouraging voice


A friendly voice cheering you on can work wonders for your confidence and achievement. A positive friend can give you that little extra push to complete a project you’ve been putting off or keep you motivated to meet your exercise goals. A friend can nudge you to make a start and help you achieve things you’ve been longing for.

Share the joy of making memories


Some things are great to do alone – like reading, going for a walk, or learning something new. Other things can be more fun with a friend or several, like having a movie night, a picnic in the park, or sightseeing. There is evidence that interaction with others and being together enables our brains to work better.

friends taking selfies in London, making memories and laughing

Finding a friendly ear


Some say that being with friends helps them “destress and put things into perspective.” Friends can make great agony aunts but sometimes you may need advice from someone completely new to your situation. Trained counsellors provide that friendly ear to listen to your troubles or talk through whatever’s on your mind, confidentially.

Our counselling and advice service


Whatever’s on your mind, the 1-2-3 Health Plan can help you. Talk to a counsellor or qualified adviser on issues ranging from relationship problems and depression to financial and legal disputes.

This material may contain links to other websites operated by third parties. It is the responsibility of third parties to ensure such material and websites comply with all relevant laws and regulations. To the maximum extent permissible by law Simplyhealth disclaims all responsibility for such websites.