having no friends, now i know why i'm really sick...and so are you
So, you may have noticed I switched gears a bit on the Becoming Lola blog. It's a woman's prerogative, what can I say. I will always be a fashion rebel deep down, but the journey to becoming a minimalist at home has made me really face what I am missing beyond my four walls. I think material possessions are masterfully powerful in covering up the crap that you are trying to cover up in your mind. But here's the kicker: when your health starts to turn to shit, you can't really cover that up with concealer or a new dress, now can you? And let's just say I am perpetually chasing after the ideal "healthy" diet, and occasionally flirt with exercise, so I feel confident in that arena, but when it comes to rating my social health...well, then we get into a grey sketchy area. So dressing up and traveling is no longer my priority. If we were to turn this into trendy "new year resolution" jargon, I would say abandoning denial of how small my community is (relationships, friendships, connections, support system, buddy system, et al) is at the forefront like a goddamn glaring zit. And this year, I'm determined to pop that thing wide open and see what's inside. Gross right? Sorry, had to follow through on that metaphor!
So don't go anywhere, and don't get scared. Join me in the challenge. I'll still blog about girly stuff because I do have to put on clothes daily regardless, but I want to get dressed up for reasons I don't currently have. Like brunches with friends, or a girl's weekend vacay, or a date with an eligible bachelor not a life-draining twat. I have worked so hard just to be able to claim "I work hard...I'm working...I'm busy" that everything else has fell to the wayside. And in it's vapid place is roaring social anxiety and a phonebook full of names, but no one to truly call.
I think even when the shiny object syndrome of new year's resolutions has faded, most of us remain are interested in maintaining our health and increasing our eternal youthfulness, so it comes as no surprise the roll of preventive medicine has become almost as important in our society as the yearly checkup. But there may be a key aspect of maintaining excellent health that you've neglected: having several close friends. A bit shocked? Yeah, so was I.
I mean think about it. How different does your social life look now compared to grade school?While we're at it, you probably want your grade school body back too! Most of us, as we mature, we succumb to the demands of jobs or being part of the workforce, whether at home or not. After spending a stressful day at work, people feel they don't have the time - or energy - to seek out new friends, much less nurture the relationships that already exist. It's much easier just to like a post on Facebook than actually use our phones...for a phone call. But ongoing research delving into the relationship between the most pressing healthcare issues and social isolation and loneliness, indicates that searching for friends, both new and old, after a hectic day at work, is exactly what you should do. Not only do close friends provide spice to our lives, they may help you to live healthier, longer lives.
I don't want to bore you with a lot of statistics. If you want to know the numbers scientist have been reporting from the research, they can be easily found on the internets girl, or just comment and I'll lay it on you. However, I do want to give you the basics about how making friends can assist you in increasing your overall health.
CANCER BUH BYEFor instance, women who have a strong network of close friends have a much greater chance of surviving breast cancer than those women who have only a couple healthy relationships. No one seems to know why this link exists. But there is some research showing that having lots of close friends can increase survival rates from breast cancer by four times. Um, those are odds I want to have on my side. Seeing as how breast cancer wipes out most of us before we even hit menopause these days. It's not a disease for old folks anymore.
HEART HEALTH MINUS CHEERIOSAnd how about your heart? If you are concerned about hardening of the arteries, your cholesterol rate may not be the only factor to keep in mind. Close friends also seem to help in keeping the arteries clear, and blood flowing effectively. Of course, there may be a relationship between cardiovascular disease and clinical depression, depressed people sometimes treat their own maladies with overeating and unhealthy foods, but if keeping your heart beating for a long time is important for you, maybe you should look for a few more friends. The invisible stress we put on our bodies sticking to routines where we ride solo for most of the day is a silent killer. Just think about our ancestors - the cavemen. It was all about fire circles and mosh pits full of friends! This whole work 9 hours a day with a rare happy hour appearance, then retreat alone for 13 more hours alone is crazy. Crazy I tell ya!
I'M BRINGING MEMORY BACK, YEAH!Healthy relationships have also been demonstrated to help delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. More research, this time out of Australia, confirms how advantageous close social bonds are in maintaining good health. Aged people, those 70 and older, have a much higher chance of surviving the next decade should they possess many close relationships.
Those are just a couple of the benefits that a strong network of friends can do for your physical health. But what about your psychological well-being? Don't be so silly to overlook that either. Staying in close contact with friends and loved ones has been shown to lower stress levels significantly. So, while it is often fashionable to speak of physical an mental health as if they were two separate things, they are probably much more closely related than some people believe. Instead of heading straight home from work or school straight to an empty apartment, stopping off at the end of the day to visit a friend will not only assist helping lower cholesterol and blood pressure, it will also help those suffering from emotional disturbances. And no one is above them. We all go through it. I don't care how popular your niche blog is!
Research released just a few months ago showed that patients suffering from the most severe psychological disorders (major depressive disorder being among these conditions) on average have their lives cut short an average of 25 years. Not all of them die from a broken heart. Even though suicide rates are appallingly high for these patients, the biggest reason for their early deaths was found to be caused because they often neglected treatment for other curable illnesses. This may shed some light on how friends coupled with the accountability that comes with it, help us survive so many physical maladies. The often are the ones who blow the whistle when they see indications that things aren't right, and stick with us when we decide to do something about it. I personally know I cannot get my booty to stick with a fitness routine unless I have a friend around. It just never happens from pure self-motivation, or if it does, it won't last long.
Good friends not only make our lives more fulfilling and enjoyable, the also help us stay healthy and live longer. Keep getting those yearly exams, but don't forget one of the most powerful preventive tools of all: friends. It's definitely a plan for my 2016 to a Sex and the City type of girl squad happening, not so much what Taylor Swift has going on, but like mature woman stuff. What about you?