The Important Link Between Friendship and Health

A lot

of the time as therapists we can get caught up in viewing the body too much like a machine. You treat the injury like a mechanic would fix a car; focus on the part that is hurting, correct the joint alignment, and work on the tissues around the area. This treatment makes complete sense and works the majority of the time. But unlike machines, we also have this powerful organ called the human brain. This is where we process pain and get a basic sense of what is wrong with our bodies. It also determines our mood, which can affect hormone levels responsible for regulating joint inflammation that then affects the body’s natural healing response. Studies have even found mood can affect one’s likeliness to get sick; people who are happier are less likely to get sick. This is also why we have the placebo effect; the belief alone in something’s ability to fix you might be enough to make you feel significantly better.

This is why a holistic approach to health is so important. When you are happy, eating well, have good social connections, finding things to do that make you feel fulfilled as well as moving and exercising the body regularly, you are giving yourself the best chance of keeping well. These things feed into each other and research continues to show how exercise can help with anxiety and depression. In turn, being happier puts you in a better position to be motivated to set goals and exercise more. Mood can affect how you move as well- your posture, the way you walk, how you breathe and how much tension you hold in your body.

Because of this, as someone who works in the health world, I encourage people to focus on the things in life that bring them the most joy. For example, birthdays are joyous events and I really appreciate how they encourage people to reach out and connect. It reminds me of how important it is to invest in and celebrate friendships. My best friend and I go so far as to celebrate our friendship every year- a day we call our ‘friendaversary’. We spend the day doing all our favourite things, going to our favourite restaurants and hanging out with our favourite people. I am truly grateful for my friends and know they make my life so much better.

So, if you’re thinking about making changes in your life to improve your health, as well as thinking about eating well or exercising more, think about what you could be doing more of, to be happier in general. Because we are more than just machines!
At Purpose Healthcare we offer an individualised approach to exercise designed to address your specific needs and allow you to achieve your specific goals. If you’ve had aches or pains you’ve learned to live with, why not book in for an assessment and see for yourself how exercise can benefit your body.

See you soon,
Shauna Downes