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“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” Ed Cunningham  

“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” Ed Cunningham  

You may have heard the quote or saying: “You‘re the average of the five people spend the most time with” and whilst some people might debate if this is actually true – it’s not far off!  

2020 has been a year when most of us have spent most (if not all) of our time with a very small number of people and that has been a myriad of trials and tribulations, with moments of joy thrown in.  

For me 2020 has also completely solidified the knowledge I already had, that friendships are essential  

Connection with others, time to talk, laugh, cry and share the little moments of our everyday lives is something that almost all human beings crave.  

Friendships can help increase our sense of belonging, improve our self-confidence and help reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have even shown that “those who enjoy close friendships over their teenage years have a lower rate of depression or anxiety later in life.”   

How positive interactions impact your brain 

Positive interactions give us a Serotonin boost – we feel happy, we don’t think about the stresses and worries that we might have for the time we are with our ‘tribe’. This means that we aren’t filling up our bucket …put simply we are happy, and we are given the tools we need to cope with everyday life. 

Of course, not all of our interactions will be positive – we will have people in our world who are draining, they may be naturally pessimistic, you may have a friend who always rings you to have a moan. This is not good for us! Our buckets will fill up and our stress levels will rise. Whilst it’s not realistic to have absolutely zero negativity in your life, it is important to consider your interactions and how they make you feel.  

Covid-19 has thrown many people into a bubble of negativity – watching the news, reading social media, getting drawn into WhatsApp conversations can be so draining. Life feels out of control and we are worried for the future, when will normal return? Will the schools stay open? Will we get the ‘dreaded’ selfisolation call? Much of this is out of our control.   

In these times more than ever it is important to spend time with people who lift you, people who make you laugh, people who care about you and how you are feeling.  

When we feel good we cope better and when we cope better we feel better.  

A walk in the countryside with a friend, your dog and a flask of tea can lift you more than you’d ever imagine. It’s about focusing on what you can do, not what you can’t and this way of thinking fires up the positive neural pathways in the brain. When we feel good we cope better and when we cope better we feel better.  

If you’d like to find out more about the importance of connections and friendships please click here to find out more about my upcoming “Chaos to Calm – Managing your mind to boost your mood” online course which starts on 18th January 2021. Relationships will be one of the key topics we explore as we look to helping us all regain our equilibrium after a challenging year. 

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