University Park, IL ,
09:03 AM

5 Ways Good Friends = One Good Life

Take heart, Cupid. It’s the season of love, but one GSU expert says all connections should be embraced.

“All good relationships —solid support systems —can be beneficial to your health and well-being,’’ said Dr. Shea Dunham, Associate Professor of Psychology and Counseling. “Romantic love is the most exciting this time of year, but good friendships can help us be like Benjamin Franklin—healthy, wealthy, and wise."

Research shows people in supportive relationships, including marriage and platonic friendships, have lower stress levels, fewer health issues, and more fun.

Dunham offers Jaguars five benefits of making friends:

1. Better HEALTH - Statistics show people in healthy marriages enjoy better health than unmarried couples. The same is true for good friends who provide us with a support system when we are worried about jobs, classes, or life. When we have good friends to talk to or hang out with, we are less likely to turn to destructive vices. So a friend helps reduce stress and avoid blood pressure spikes and other stress-related issues. “Having good people around means living better,’’ Dunham said. “Everything else is icing on a cake.”

2. More LAUGHTER - Good times flow from good people. Being with people we love and enjoy makes us feel good, naturally. When we feel happy, the endorphins—the brain’s feel-good chemicals—flow, and we smile and laugh more, Dunham said. “It’s hard to be down when you feel good.”

3. Deeper WISDOM - When a friend or spouse (lovingly) calls you out for demonstrating less than admirable character, you tend to listen and grow as a result. You trust your friends to give you good feedback, and that can help mature into a more confident and considerate person. “That’s one of the benefits of having good friends or a spouse,’’ Dunham said, adding,“They care enough to share the hard truths.”

4. More WEALTH - Your friends or your mate may encourage you to adopt better spending habits or even join an investment club to save money. It’s easier to achieve shared goals and dreams if you are accountable to a friend or partner.

5. More LOVE- When you show yourself friendly people want to be around you. Popular people attract others who want to be around bright, outgoing people whether you are single or part of a couple. “The law of attraction works here, too. Good energy or good vibes attract the same. The best investment you will ever make is investing in true friendships. You will never go wrong,” Dunham said.

Bottom line, Dunham said, if you are connected with others you will find immeasurable happiness, good health, purpose, and love.