What if there was something that could make you happier, experience fewer health problems and even live longer?
Sound too good to be true, right?
Well, it's not.
In today's Health Minute, Holly Firfer explains the health benefits our friends offer us.
Jackie Goetsch and Julie Catherman aren't blood relatives but consider themselves family.
"Jackie & I have been friends for 35 years," says Julie Catherman. "We met as freshmen at University of Georgia, where we were sorority sisters at Alpha Gamma Delta, and we have stayed friends whether we've lived 3,000 miles apart or lived in the same town. "
They've seen each other through all of life's ups and downs.
The secret to maintaining their friendship?
"You just work at it all the time and let each other know you're important in your lives," says Jackie Goetsch.
Experts say there are health benefits from friendships that are often under-appreciated.
"People who have a good social support network and frankly good friends do better," says Mark Crawford, a clinical psychologist. "They cope with stress better. They seem to be healthier. In some studies, they actually live longer."
And they agree that this type of close relationship is an investment worth making.
"It's much better to have 2-3 really close friends than a whole lot of casual acquaintances, because the deeper the friendship, the more benefit it has for us," Crawford says.
So what can you do?
"Value your friendships, nurture them, invest in them, take the time and make them important," Crawford says.
"It's just like that combined sense of force that gives you kind of that peaceful feeling that you're not alone," Jackie Goetsch says.