Want to Improve Your Cardiovascular Functioning? Your Immune System? Your Sleep?

Senior men taking photo together

Of course you do. Who would answer no to any of those questions?

But how to get such improvements is the issue.

There are the usual suspects – such as exercise, diet, and stress management.

But an article in today’s Wall Street Journal by Andrea Petersen offered a different suggestion.


That’s right, friendship offers not only offers better emotional health and happiness, but it also helps us with our physical health as well.

Petersen offered excerpts from an interview she did with Lydia Denworth, a science journalist and the author of the new book “Friendship.”

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

  • A big study at Harvard of men across their lives from 20 to 80 found that the single best predictor of your health and happiness at 80 was not your wealth or your professional success. It was your relationships at 50.
  • Friendship is about setting up your life so you have people you can rely on when you need them.
  • Quality matters so much more than quantity. Most people only have an average of four really close friends.
  • We do tend to be better friends with people who are more like us.
  • Having a shared world-view turns out to be important when choosing friends.
  • digital communication and social media usually have net positive effect on friendships; however, if you only operate online, you don’t get all the benefits of friendship. You don’t. You need a lot of face-to-face time to get the health benefits.
  • Professor Jeff Hall at Kansas found that it takes about 50 hours to go from considering someone an acquaintance to a friend and as many as 200 hours to consider somebody a best friend.
  • If you’re engaging with someone in what’s called self disclosure—otherwise known as intense conversations about what’s really going on in your life and how you feel about it—that will bring you closer.

So as Denworth says in closing, knowing all of this gives us permission to go hang out with our friends.

So Bruce, when I get back to the U.S.A. – you and me at the Stone Pony. Count on four hours of drinking, playing pool, and engaging in self-disclosure. If we do that five nights a week for ten weeks, we’ll be the best of friends…

*image from Huffpost (I don’t know any of those guys, but I wouldn’t mind being friends with them…)



12 thoughts on “Want to Improve Your Cardiovascular Functioning? Your Immune System? Your Sleep?

  1. I am in full agreement with Peterson and Denworth. Friends are somebody to share a laugh with or have a serious conversation. They are the people who support us when we need the help, and they, in return, know we’ll be there for them whenever they need somebody. I can’t imagine going through life without friends.


  2. While I have diligently worked to follow a healthy lifestyle, I have to admit my “friendships meter” scores lower than I wish. Retirement has changed my landscape, but I am working on it.


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