Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate your relationships: romantic partners, close friends, family, and friends from work and play. Friendships, an important part of life, enrich and sustain us. Friendships are also great for your health! Studies show that friendships increase happiness, boost confidence, reduce stress, improve our lives more than any other types of relationships. A 2005 Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging found that close relationships with children and other relatives had little impact on longevity. People with the most friends tended to outlive those with fewer by as much as 22 percent.
Friends are good for your body and your soul. Rather than spending more time scrolling through Facebook, consider adding years to your life by spending quality time with your friends, old and new.
5 Ways to Create and Nurture Friendships
1. Call a friend, set up a date to meet and catch up. Coffee, lunch, a movie, a museum visit are great ways to relax and deepen your friendship. If your friend is long distance, schedule a call.
2. Send a Valentine to a single friend in appreciation of your friendship. Valentine’s Day can be lonely, especially someone who is single, recently lost a partner or ended a relationship.
3. Write a personal note to someone who really helped you out last year. Acts of kindness and support can be integral to recovering from an illness, dealing with the loss of a job, or a weathering a financial hardship.
4. Make new friends: attend a club meeting, join a meet-up group or take a class that interests you. Many long-lasting relationships revolve around shared values and interests.
5. Offer to volunteer for community organization whose work you admire. Volunteers will often be out-going and care deeply about others. They can inspire you and make great friends.
If the secret to long life is friendship, then what’s the secret to forming great, long-lasting friendships? The secret is BE the kind of person and friend you’d like to have and spend time with.