Why do you think that your friends deserve to be celebrated? Do they make you laugh, no matter how low you’re feeling? Do they bring out your silly side and help you to relax? Perhaps they cook an unbelievable pasta bake for your cosy nights in?
Whatever the reason, there is no question that our nearest and dearest deserve some recognition. Even more so when you consider the surprising scientific reasons for celebrating friendship!
Friends reduce stress
According to a study carried out in 2011, during times of worry, hanging out with our best friend can decrease our levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The discovery was made when researchers analysed the diary entries and spit samples of children who had spent time either alone, or with their best friend during times of stress. The result? Children who had been in the company of their best friend produced less cortisol! What better excuse to meet your bestie for dinner after a busy day at work?
Friends make us healthier
And by healthier, we don’t just mean diet-wise – contact with friends can actually lower our blood pressure and heart rate, and cut our cholesterol levels. The study detailed here, carried out by American university UCLA, revealed that people who had regular contact with their group of friends over nine years actually cut their risk of death by more than 60%!
Friends can help your career
It might sound strange, but being good friends with your work colleagues can actually help to advance your career. Psychologist Ron Friedman says that when we like the people who we work with, we tend to be more productive and, as a result, achieve more. So, don’t be afraid to get to know your colleagues, laugh together throughout the day and grab a bite to eat after hours.
Friends offer inspiration
According to American author Tom Rath, our friends can prove very inspiring indeed! He discovered that if our best friend is a dedicated healthy eater, we are up to five times more likely to eat healthily ourselves. It makes sense, then, that having a best friend who loves getting their nose stuck into a good book would encourage us to read more, or that a bestie who loves travelling would help us to step outside our comfort zone. Spontaneous trip to Bali, anyone?
Friends make us happy
We already know our friends make us happy, but do you know exactly how much happier? If they live less than a mile away and are happy themselves, a whole 25%! On average though, every happy friend – no matter where they live – can increase your own chance of being happy by 9%.
Can you think of even more reasons to celebrate friends, and in particular, your best friend? Why not let us know using the comment box below, or enter your best friend into our Best Friend of the Year competition?
All you need to do is tell us just why your best friend deserves to win, and you could snag yourselves some amazing treats!