In a pair of studies from Michigan State University involving nearly 280,000 people in 100 countries, researchers found that friendships become more important to your happiness and health as you get older. Not only that, but in older adults, friendships are actually a stronger predictor of emotional and physical well-being than relationships with family members. The research looked at participants with a variety of chronic illnesses, including cancer and diabetes.
Another study from the University of California, Irvine showed that online friendships may have the same benefits as in-person interactions. The researchers found the core components of friendships, including companionship and support, can also exist in virtual spaces.
But it’s not always easy to make new friends as an adult. To break the ice and spark meaningful connections, try hanging out at your local café, attending a meditation class, or joining a book club.
Originally printed in EpilepsyAdvocate, Fall 2018.