When I played tennis in high school, I played doubles with my best friend. Had you been at one of our matches, you would have seen us on the court laughing and dancing, truly having the best time! What you wouldn’t have seen was a returned serve or much of a volley at all. Come to think of it, I’m not sure we ever won a match. Clearly, my friend and I lacked some focus when we were together.
The next season, I played singles and did exponentially better. While I was still no Venus or Serena, the number of times I returned the ball exceeded the number of times I missed. That was a great accomplishment for me! But something was missing. In fact, I didn’t play tennis the following year.
Two may not have been better for our team’s overall record, but it was better for me when it came to my quality of life. Playing the game alongside my friend was, for me, what made the game worthwhile.
I’m sure everyone would agree that friends are a valuable part of life, but just how valuable are they, really? In reality, more than you could ever imagine.
Northwestern Medicine has found that having strong social connections, or healthy relationships, can lead to less stress, better healing, healthier behaviors, a greater sense of purpose, and ultimately a longer life.1
Additionally, Harvard Medical School found that
“a lack of strong relationships can increase the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.”2
You may be wondering how that could be possible. How can relationships have that much impact on a person’s overall health? According to Harvard researchers, making good connections with others
“helps relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system.”2
So, the next time you wonder if “two are better than one,” I hope you’ll remember just how true it is (in life, anyways, maybe not in the game of tennis.). Making time to strengthen relationships in your life will not only make you feel good, but it just might help you live a longer life.
Help those in your community learn how to have strong, healthy relationships and live longer lives by supporting CPR today!
- Northwestern Medicine. “Five Benefits of Healthy Relationships.” Northwestern Medicine, Northwestern Medicine, nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/5-benefits-of-healthy-relationships.
- Harvard Health Publishing. “The Health Benefits of Strong Relationships.” Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School, 6 Aug. 2019, health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/the-health-benefits-of-strong-relationships.