Why do friends and family matter?
Although to some this question may seem slightly psychopathic, I don’t mean to literally ask why friends and family matter. We all know that they are an integral part of our lives without which we’d be lonely shells awash in the turbulent waters of life. Rather, I seek to look at this question in fine detail. In what concrete ways are we benefited by spending time with our loved ones?
Luckily, there’s no shortage of research on this topic. We’ve compiled the most compelling benefits that spending time with friends and family can bring you. After we’ve explored those, we’ll give you some advice on how to actually reap these benefits by freeing up more of your time to spend with them.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Improved mental health
Okay, I bet you could see this one coming from a mile away. However, just because something is a cliche doesn’t make it automatically wrong.
Spending time with friends and loved ones had a strong positive impact on our mental health. It makes us feel closer to others. It can make us feel understood, accepted like we belong somewhere. All of these things lead to a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression, and our brains being marinated in oxytocin.
Improved physical health
Say whaat? That’s right. Not only does spending time with your friends and family improve your mental health—it also makes your body work and feel better. In fact, time.com writes how the amount and quality of social connections a person has can sometimes be a better predictor of long-term health than their fitness level.
This only makes sense. We humans are a social species and have evolved to thrive in groups. Likewise, due to the simple fact that our mental health is improved by hanging out with the people close to us, it automatically has a positive effect on our bodies.
Better conflict resolution skills
It’s inevitable that we’ll run into disagreements sometimes. What matters is how we handle them. Do we throw a tantrum and start attacking the other person? Or do we try to understand their point of view and try to find some sort of compromise?
Spending more time with people exposes us to more diverse points of view. This in turn makes it more likely that we’ll run into disagreements. Sounds unpleasant? Good. Resolving these conflicts will make you more capable of handling similar situations when they pop up in other contexts, such as at work.
Having a strong bond with your family and friends creates an emotional (and sometimes physical) safety net that you can always fall back on. You never need to worry about having access to emotional support because your loved ones will always be there for you.
This in turn makes you more resilient and better able to handle life’s challenges. Not only do you feel more confident to take on whatever life has to throw at you, but you also know your friends are there for you if the idiomatic feces hit the fan.
Finally, this is a very plain side effect of spending time with friends and family. If we truly love those close to us, hanging out with them will make us happy. Period.
This is especially true if they are also happy. Happiness is contagious, and that also means that the happiness you receive from your family and friends will spread to everything you do. So surround yourself with positivity and watch the world blossom at your feet.
How to spend more time with your loved ones
Although the benefits we’ve listed may definitely sound alluring, today it can be difficult to make time for socializing. Therefore, we’ve decided to include a few tips here which should help you.
Make them a priority
It’s simple. We find time for the things we value. If you put your family and friends on top of your priority list, you’ll naturally start finding slots that you can use to spend time with them. Maybe you have a spare hour here, an afternoon there. Just look carefully and I’m sure you’ll be able to find some holes in your schedule.
You might also need to swap out some other activities. Do it. If there’s something you already do enough of, maybe try socializing for half of that activity’s time. Keep in mind, also, that other people have schedules too, so you’ll have to think about syncing up yours with theirs as well.
Know that it’s beneficial
We can sometimes feel guilty about the things we enjoy doing. Think about those few extra calories from that non-diet drink or the lazy Monday you decided you needed.
It’s important to internalize how healthy it is to spend time with friends and family. Hopefully, our list will help you. Once you’ve done this, it’ll be much easier to let yourself hang out with those you love.
Hire a virtual assistant
Finally, consider hiring a virtual assistant. They’re all the rage these days, and for good reason. A skillful virtual assistant can help you with the multitudes of mundane tasks you’re no doubt stuck doing. These small tasks, although important, can take up so much of your time that you have scarcely and for anything (or anyone) else.
Why not delegate them to virtual assistants while you kick back a bit and enjoy some well-deserved time off? Your friends and family will be more than grateful and you’ll be happier.
And there you have it, people. I hope that you’re now aware of the importance of friendship and family, and all those wonderful benefits they can provide us.
Even beyond what we’ve listed here, authentic human bonds can bring us to a spiritual elevation few other things can. So what do you say we do our best and make time for those people who truly matter in our lives?