Welcome to a series of articles about Happiness. Please realise that anything stated is my opinion. Your life circumstances have probably been different from mine, so you will have your own thoughts and opinions. Enjoy.

Happiness is a lifelong pursuit. Our connection to others and deep, lasting friendships are crucial. Friends are a gift to be treasured. They bring us happiness and joy.

Here is how your friends and your happiness are related:

More sociable people are happier

Studies show that more sociable people are happier. As we get older, it is more difficult to find friends and meet people on a regular basis. Seek out friendships.

People who isolate themselves fall more easily into depression and stress. Introverts need friends just as much as extroverts do. Friends take the edge off loneliness and sadness.

Even if you are not a natural extrovert, build friendships for your mental health and happiness.

Strong friendships lower Depression and Stress

People who are uplifted by others, tend to be less stressed and depressed. Having a close friend, you can talk to is an important aid for releasing negative feelings. Confiding in a friend, reverses feelings of loneliness. Most friends offer words of comfort. It is positive knowing someone cares.

If you the one your friend asks for encouragement, this is positive because you feel needed and important. A happy friend can heighten your own happiness. A sad friend won’t affect you as much.

Everyone gains benefits from friendship.

Positive friends affect those around them

Happiness is contagious. Life feels better around someone positive, no matter how stressed you might feel.

Choose to spend most of your time with positive people. Encourage friends who need encouragement, but spend most of your time with those who are uplifting.

Be a positive friend who encourages others. As positive energy rubs off on you, let it flow onto those around you. Encourage your friends. Leave them feeling better than before they saw you.

Your friends adjust to your needs

Close friends are flexible with their support. For example, if you are trying to lose five pounds, but are being tempted by a craving, a good friend might indulge you. However, if your health depends on losing that weight, a good friend will hold you accountable and help you stick to your decision.

Good friends help you say no when it matters, and help you say yes when you need to de-stress.

Friendships are important for happiness. When you are a good friend who also chooses good friends, the benefits multiply. Choose friendship. Enrich your happiness in a positive way.

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Nick Thorne is the founder of NicksDigitalSolutions Limited a company that specialises in Education, Training and Writing. He lives in Levin, New Zealand.