Friends – they have a positive impact on our health, wealth and wellbeing.
Social isolation, on the other hand, creates feelings akin to physical pain and leaves us anxious and susceptible to illness. In fact, our bodies react to a lack of friends as if a crucial biological need is going unmet. Oxytocin, the bonding hormone released when we hug, isn’t just necessary for when a newly born baby is held by its mother; it’s vital throughout life! Not surprisingly, friends are more than a desirable, optional extra – our survival almost depends on it.
So, building yourself an effective support network is important – using the list below, write down the names of all those friends, colleagues or associates who currently provide you with these different kinds of support. If you find any gaps, recognise the need to fill them, pronto!
- Someone I can always rely on?
- Someone I simply enjoy chatting to?
- Someone with makes me feel valued?
- Someone who can give me honest feedback?
- Someone who is always a valuable source of information?
- Someone who will challenge me to sit up and take a good look at myself?
- Someone I can depend on in a crisis?
- Someone I feel close to?
- Someone I can share bad news with, who listens without judging?
- Someone I can share good news with and good feelings?
- Someone who introduces me to new ideas, new interests and new people?
Keep reviewing the list – time changes things on a regular basis – what exists today, may be very different tomorrow – keep people around you who make you feel good – you can’t choose your family, but you can certainly choose your friends, so choose wisely!