Anxiety is a liar - "I get by with a little help from my friends"
I can honestly tell you that I have become a better person because of the influence, love and sometimes just the presence of my friends. Anxiety can bring a shame that tells us that we are worthless and creates fear about sharing what we are going through, but that’s a lie. It’s so strengthening to walk your journey with your friends. Friends bring a new perspective, they encourage you when you need it and they help you not to get stuck inside yourself.
I want to start by defining what I mean when I refer to friends. Some of us have people we would consider our friends but they are more like mentors or supporters. Those people are extremely valuable and have their own blog-worthy traits, but I’m talking about mutual friends. Both parties investing in each other’s lives, supporting each other through life and taking an interest in the well-being of the other. These don’t always have to be friends that you see every day or even friends that live near you. Some of my best friendship aren’t my every day ones, they just have to be for you and you for them.
Would you believe that……….
1 - According to a study done, forming new friendships releases oxytocin’s. Oxytocin is proven to help you respond more positively to adverse and stressful situations in your life.
2 - Research into areas of divorce, social problems and obesity is often based on looking at depression, poverty and stress as a cause. However, research suggests that our friendships play a huge role in this too.
4 – Friendships could potentially help you live 20% longer, by encouraging you to overcome certain negative behaviours. For example, you friends often influence your decision to give up smoking or exercise more often.
On reflection, I can say with ease that all of the above is personally true for me and more. When I moved to where I live now I was not experiencing anxiety. However, a few years later my anxiety reared its head quite suddenly. One day I just woke up with a horrendous feeling of loss, fear and sadness. I struggled to do day to day life, but my friends stepped in and helped me in so many ways. Sometimes by just not judging me, or continuing to treat me as their friend. Some friends travelled to work with me when we were on the same route, some stayed with me when I felt alone and others just simply said “well done” when I overcame something. They may not even know the value of what they did for me then, and what they continue to do now. Now my anxiety isn’t that bad and I can invest in them much more, and that too has also helped me grow. I’ve learnt to love unconditionally and to be compassionate in a way I was too distracted to be before. My friends have encouraged me to look outside of myself. The world has become a place of hope, opportunity and compassion because of my friends.
Anxiety can make the choice to invest in friendships really hard, but choosing to walk through the lies with friends is incredibly worth it. In times of anxiety let your friends encourage you out of the house and share with them. Don’t forget though, that that is only part of the journey. Your friendships will help you find the hope and freedom you desire, but not just because they are there for you. Choose to spend time listening to them, not just asking them to listen to you. Try it and you’ll be surprised what happens for them and for you.