Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC
If any of you were ever a Girl Scout, you might remember that friendship song that has a line something like this, “make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold.” Friendships are an important part of our lives, and they are not only made in our childhood. We create friendships throughout our lives. Good true friends are a treasure. Whether your friends are a thousand miles away, right down the street, known you all your life or only been in your life for a short time, having genuine friendships is an essential part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Quality friendships are powerful; They can feed our souls and improve both our physical and emotional wellbeing.
As adults, our lives can get very busy very quickly. Make sure that you are staying connected to your friends and not always putting them on the back burner. This doesn’t mean that you must spend hours on the phone daily with them like you did in high school. A simple text to let them know that your thinking of them or a five-minute check-in call once a week might be all that is necessary. Technology has made it very easy for us to stay connected with those we care about no matter their proximity to us.
Having friends who we can cry with, laugh with, listen to, and share our life with can change our overall health. When you have a friend whom you can totally be free to be yourself with without fear of judgement is a true gift. Friends should be there to help us reach our goals and stand by us as we make strides toward achieving them. A real friend will call you out when you need redirection, pick you up when you have fallen, wipe your tears and cheer for you all the way to the finish line. Having these kinds of quality friendships is a form of nourishment. Valuable friendships can keep you from loneliness, make you feel sane when you feel like you’re going crazy, help you reduce stress and boost your self-confidence. Without these friends we might be left feeling depressed and stressed which can lead to a variety of health issues.
If your trying to make a healthier lifestyle change, reach out to your friends for support and encouragement. Perhaps you have friends who already live a healthy lifestyle and they can be your mentor and accountability partner. If you don’t have any “health nut” friends, search for groups on social media and join one. It’s never too late to make new friends. Maybe you are the friend who has this healthy living thing all figured out and you can be a support to other friends who are at the beginning of their journey.
Be grateful for the friendships in your life. Be grateful for the friendships that are no longer intact. When looking back on any friendship, you can see that there is always something that was learned from the relationship. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Hang onto those who love you unconditionally, support you, give you the freedom to be yourself, and encourage you to grow. The best way to have and keep good friends is to be a good friend yourself.
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson