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Technology & Relationships: Friends are therapy

In this three-part series, MYD explores the effects that technology has on our relationships and our lives. Just how much does screen time control us?


Great friends make you happy. They even make you healthier and have positive effects on your immune system.


In a 2012 article called “Connect to thrive”, Psychology Today lists some of the benefits of strong social bonds, which include an improvement in physical health and psychological well-being, a strengthened immune system and a fifty per cent increased chance of longevity. 


The opposite is also true: relationships that drain you have a negative effect on many areas of your life, including your immune system. According to the article, one study shows that the lack of social connections is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

Lauren Voges, an internationally accredited life coach and founder of Latitude Integral Coaching and Development in Windhoek, agrees: “Our happiness really comes down to our relationships.”


A Harvard Medical School study that monitored thousands of people over more than seventy-five years found that happiness in friendships is contagious.


Robert Waldinger, the lead on the study, explains in his TedTalk that, “People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And good, close relationships seem to buffer us from some of the slings and arrows of getting old.” 

Lauren advises two simple things that you can do today to connect more deeply with others:

Put down the phone: To truly relate to one another, we need to connect, and this requires us to pay attention to each other.


Put down the phone

Putting down the phone when you are with friends or in social environments means you are really engaging with the person/people you are with, and this goes a long way in building trust and friendship.