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Highlighting Healthy Friendships

by Tess Donelon

No matter what life may throw, it’s a universal fact that friends are always there when we need them most. In moments of hardship, their presence alone can be enough to bring us out of that ever-deepening rut and help us see the bright side of the situation. While giving a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen, friends innately have that special quality that can’t be replicated by anyone else. 

If this rings true to your friendships, then you have them to thank for their positive effect on your mental health. Studies show that people who enjoy close friendships during their teenage years have a lower rate of depression or anxiety later in life. Often, friends grow and change as you do, no matter how young or old you are, providing you with thought-provoking insights and different viewpoints that can help you to see life through a different lens. This not only gives you a new perspective on your own personality and tendencies when it comes to friendships, it can also bring attention to the areas where your friendships could be better.

For those who can point to their life-long friends, they’ll be happy to learn that people with decade-long friendships have increased life expectancies and higher late-life satisfaction than those who don’t. These facts are largely due to the positive mental growth that friendships provide, giving those on the receiving end of the healthy relationships more reasons to be optimistic, joyful, and motivated.

However, it’s not just the responsibility of your friends to carry your mental wellbeing on their shoulders. You need to champion yourself just as much as they champion you. The foundation for great, mutually beneficial relationships comes from balance between both parties. Once the balance is there and you feel free to rely on them when you need it, while simultaneously allowing them to do the same, you’ll realize the weight of your mental load lessening by the day. Friendships can only do as much as you let them, so knowing when to give and when to get will be the game changer for relationships across the board.

In true socially-distanced-style, thank your friends for all of the ways they have helped you in the past, present, and even the future. Your mental wellbeing and positive headspace wouldn’t be the same without them.

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