Living with cancer blog

The power of friends

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. March 23, 2013

Think back to the last time you spent time with a good friend or a group of friends. What are some of the feelings you experienced? Acceptance, love, joy, comfort, security and happiness are some of the feelings I hope you experience when you are with friends.

As friends, we share good times and bad together — that's the whole idea. Having someone you trust to talk with, to share your laughter and tears, and just be there for you, is what a friend may offer. Friendships may also have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing.

Having friends can:

  • Provide a boost of happiness and joy
  • Increase your sense of purpose and belonging
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve your feelings of strength and self-esteem
  • Help you cope with trauma and loss
  • Decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Encourage healthy habits, such as exercise, laughter, eating well

Research has shown that having friends around may help you deal with pain, stress and illness in a positive manner. While family connections are also vital, the connections we have with friends are different than the relationships we have with family. Maybe it's because we are able to share more of our fears and deepest feelings with friends — while we tend to guard these feelings with our family members. Having a close confidant that you can trust can be so important.

With this in mind, nurture your friendships. Keep in close contact with those friends who support you in the best way possible. Don't worry if you've lost touch for a while — many times old friends will understand and support you even if a few months or years have passed. Investing in new friends and strengthening friendships may help you deal with stress and illness, and bring you better quality of life and a more positive outlook in return.

I'd love to hear about how friends have helped you along the way. Post a few words about how friendships have supported you through the years.

Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

5 Comments Posted

Mar. 23, 2013