Friendship and Thanksgiving Mass

The tender Mercy of God has given us one another
Catherine McAuley

As we enter the final term of our school year many of our Mercy women are thinking of new challenges and beginnings for 2019. We may be moving to university or starting a new job. Each of these beginnings brings with it the challenge of maintaining friendships from our school life and striking up new friendships on our future pathway.
We all know that friendships are hugely important to our long term physical and emotional health. Healthy relationships make life more enjoyable, grief more bearable and provide support to reach new personal goals. Maintaining positive relationships and friendships should be right up high on our list of ensuring a healthy lifestyle.
Several studies have highlighted the importance of friends and in connection with good health including:
• Socially engaged adults age more successfully. According to surveys of women over age 60, those who are socially engaged and visit with friends and family throughout the week are happier as they age.
• Happiness is catching. If you have a friend you consider to be happy, you are more likely to be happy and in turn you can spread that happiness to the people around you. Apparently, having happy friends who live less than a mile away was an especially powerful predictor of happiness.
• Building a circle of friends makes you happy. Proactively building friendships instead of waiting for people to contact you is important.
• Friends lessen grief. Research around managing grief shows that people who felt they were receiving social support from friends or family were better able to cope with their grief.
• Being social boosts your immune system. Did you know that having great friendships leads to more positive emotions, which in turn may boost your body’s immune system and reduce the physical signs of stress?
Finally, don’t forget the most important friendship should be with yourself.
This year at Thanksgiving Mass take the time to thank God for your friendships and the joys they bring to your life and, as you move into a new year and a new lifestyle, remember to seek out ways to maintain your old friendships and seek out new ones.

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