Social Networks and Your Health

A strong social support network can be critical to help you through life’s ups and downs. Whether it is combating an illness, a bad day at work, having an argument with someone close to you, or even celebrating a win, it’s helpful to have people you can count on by your side.

What are the benefits of strong relationships?

Numerous studies have demonstrated that having a network of supportive relationships contributes to psychological well-being. Friends and loved ones prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer and receive needed companionship.

These relationships can also:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose.
  • Boost your happiness, reduce stress, and improve your self-confidence.
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one.
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.
  • Create a feeling of security—it’s comforting to know that you have people you can turn to in time of need.

Why is it harder to maintain friendships in adulthood?

Many adults find it hard to develop new friendships or maintain existing friendships. Relationships outside of your immediate family may take a back seat to other priorities, such as work or caring for children or aging parents. Developing and maintaining healthy friendships takes effort, but the benefits make the time spent very worthwhile.

What’s a healthy number of friends?

There is no magic number when it comes to the number of friends you should have. Some people benefit from a large and diverse network of friends, while others prefer a smaller circle of friends. Likely, you already know what works for you. Overall, the quality, not the quantity, of your relationships is the most important factor.

Learn more!

Strong relationships aren’t only beneficial to your mental well-being, they can also help you be healthier and live longer! Click here to see how your friends can make you healthier.

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