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International Day of Friendship is worldwide event that aims to develop strong and diverse relationships between people, groups, cultures and countries globally.
There is a distinct connection between wellbeing and friendship - simply put, good friends are good for your health. They help you celebrate the successes in your life, such as a new job, as well as providing a listening ear and support network when you experience lows, such as a bereavement.
Maintaining the significant relationships in our lives brings numerous health benefits, such as increasing our self-esteem and confidence, reducing our stress levels and boosting our sense of purpose and belonging.
As well as the wellbeing benefits that friendships bring, our friends help us become more well-rounded individuals. For example, through our relationships with others we learn about different cultures, beliefs and languages.
As our lives progress, many of us find it difficult to develop new friendships. This is often because of new priorities that require our focus and attention, such as work, childcare or carer responsibilities.
In addition, your long-lasting friendships might become strained due to you relocating to a new community or simply because of changes in your lives and interests. The result of which can have negative effect on your mental health and wellbeing.
The International Day of Friendship is the perfect opportunity to take stock of the friendships you have, and look forward to building upon those relationships for the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly introduced new challenges in our lives, there are still plenty of ways for us to celebrate the worldwide event:
Find out about other cultures: The world is getting smaller and smaller. The population is growing yet we can all communicate with each other instantaneously. This is a great thing for the curious—we have access to the sum total of human knowledge at our fingertips, and can chat with people from different cultures as easily as we can chat to the person in the next room. Use the day to read about people whose lives are almost unimaginably different—and maybe reach out to a few, and see where it takes you.
Spend time with friends and family: In our busy lives, we often forget to pause and reach out to those who are closest to us. Take the time on the International Day of Friendship to slow down a little, and catch up with the friends and family you maybe neglect a little with your busy schedule.
Get together - either virtually or at a safe distance - switch off your phones, and revel in each other’s company. By making time to be social, you’ll strengthen the bonds that hold your friendships together, and make a positive difference to the lives of people who care about you.
During a time where many of us may feel isolated from the rest of the world, it’s vital that we maintain strong friendships with people we feel close to, because as part of a wider group, we can more easily bring positivity to the wider world.
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