The importance of maintaining a social circle - Life skills
Studies have shown that good social networks can reduce the likelihood of feeling sad, lonely or experiencing low self-esteem. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 6 people experience some sort of mental health issue at some point in their lives.
Your social circle is a support network. Friends can help you face hard truths and can sometimes recognise destructive patterns in your behaviour. Our friends and family can play a huge role in our mental well-being and can help us manage mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.
Brain studies have shown that when you are lonely, it can show up as actual physical pain in scans when it has resulted in depression and anxiety. Your ‘friends’ circle should be full of different types of personalities. Quiet listeners are great to have, but energy is infectious, so loud, gregarious and fun, full of energy friends are very important too – albeit tiring at times!
You may also have friends who need your help or are experiencing similar feelings at times. Friends who know how you are feeling can be a great help but be aware, that they can also be a source of negative energy too – in some cases they could actually make your condition worse. Studies have shown a correlation between physical well-being and your social circle. Having good friends is clinically proven to improve your mental well-being and physical health. Keeping a good friendship circle can also encourage you to avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits such as excessive drinking.
Having a laugh, exercising and having a positive time with friends can be a great therapy. If you are surrounded by loving and supportive people it can make it easier to be vulnerable and ask for help. Try and be open and honest and explain how you feel. Explain that they shouldn’t take how you are feeling personally and understand that it is all connected with your state of mind. It will take courage to have these conversations but the more friends and family you open up to, the easier it will become.
Don’t forget that 1 in 6 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives, chances are one of your friends is struggling right now too.
Be supportive, be kind, care and remember, there's always help available when you need it.
If you're struggling to make friends at college, there's always somewhere you can turn to for help. We offer plenty of help and advice for our students, especially if you're new to our college.