In an article from LiveScienceStephanie Pappas  shared some very thoughtful insights why friendships are important to our physical and mental health. In addition to sharing the importance of maintaining positive relationships with friends, Pappas details recent studies showing Americans are becoming more socially isolated.

“One’s social life matters above and beyond what we already know about the ‘quick fixes'” of diet and exercise on health, said Yang Claire Yang, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who studies the physiological effects of social ties.

Researchers who study friendship have uncovered many of its health benefits. Here’s how friendship can be good for you.

Friends1. Friends may extend your life 

2. Your pals make you generally healthier

3. Friendships might help keep your mind sharp

4. Friends influence us (for better or worse)

5. Your BFFs can help you through tough stuff

6. Friends can help you cope with rejection

7. Friendships can last a lifetime

But friendship may be in trouble. Americans reported an average of 10 friends apiece in 1990, according to Gallup data, and a slew of sociology studies find that Americans have become more socially isolated over the decades. For example, a 2006 study on the number of friends people felt they could discuss important matters with found that the number fell from an average of 2.94 in 1985, to 2.08 in 2004.

Read the full article here.