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When people were forced into social isolation, a light was also shining on another crisis - loneliness.
The antidote to loneliness is accessible to all of us: friendship. The shared global crisis has showed how significant friends are to our day-to-day happiness.
Science shows friendship is critical for our happiness, health, and longevity.
* In the 1970s and 1980s, some epidemiologists and sociologists showed that socially isolated individuals over age 66 had a 30 percent increased risk of early mortality.
* Studies reveal that social connection improves cardiovascular functioning, reduces susceptibility to inflammation and viral disease, sharpens cognition, reduces depression, lowers stress, and even slows biological aging.
Friendship requires at least three things: It should be long-lasting, positive, and cooperative. Friendship nearly always includes a willingness to help, especially in times of crisis.
In short, friendship is creating bonded groups that act as a buffer against life's stresses.
At all stages of life, how we do friendship has to do with our natural desire for sociability and varies from person to person.
Friendship is a lifelong endeavor, although not everyone realizes it. If you only invest in friendships when your family and professional obligations slow, you will be at a disadvantage.
It is possible to make new friends at every stage of life.
Volunteering is one way of improving the lives of other people, and the joint interest can assist in getting to know each other. Hopefully, friendships can grow out of that.
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