I’m inspired to write about the benefits of having good friends because I’ve just returned from a visit with a long-time bestie. We first met while training for a long-distance running event. There’s nothing like hours of running together during four months of training to get to know someone. And even though we are now almost 1,800 miles apart, we still make the time to get together, because our friendship is that important. This trip I flew out with another good friend who also shared many of those running miles, so it was a very fun reunion.
It’s amazing how much we keep bottled up waiting for our friends to listen and support us. Sometimes we don’t even have to say anything…whether it’s walking or quietly watching nature together, we can decompress and feel better by simply sharing time together. And I am thankful for that.
Research supports this. The Mayo Clinic reports that in addition to being good for your health, friends “can also:
- increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- boost your happiness and reduce your stress
- improve your self-confidence and self-worth”
- and more.
When you work in a stressful environment, having a friend who is a co-worker can help lower stress and brighten your mood. Spending time with friends can even reduce the risk of depression and high blood pressure. By taking even 5 minutes to ‘vent’ to a friend, they remind us that we’re not alone. They can encourage and lift us back to a place of optimism and gratitude.
For nurses, this can be especially true. In a MedPageToday article, one nurse practitioner stated that “only nurses understand what other nurses truly go through.” One study referenced in the article found that the “degree of cohesion among friends had a positive impact on the level of job stress experienced by nurses.” Having a good friend at work can greatly increase job satisfaction and engagement, no matter where you work.
Remember to nurture your friendship so that it’s a two-way street. Take time to truly listen to your friends when they need to vent. Be there for them like they are for you. In this way, you are being of service, which automatically takes you out of your own head and makes you feel better. It’s a win-win.
Is there something you can do today to reach out and make a friend smile? Take the time to do that now. You’ll both feel better!