Today is National Best Friends Day! It’s often said that dogs are a girl’s (or a boy’s) best friend. Meet my best friend, Sasha. She loves to snuggle as she is doing in this picture.
We are social beings with a primal need to feel a sense of belonging. Currently, we are a very lonely society. Due to various factors such as jam packed family schedules, technology, online ordering, social media, and Netflix, we are isolating ourselves more. This change is resulting in the health and mental effects that we are hearing about on the news every day.
I remember growing up in a home that had an open door policy. Friends would always be stopping by for a visit. My sister and I were excited to have company at the house. Today, many folks don’t want people to drop by or to come over. Many friends want advance notice.
Did you know that friendships can bolster your immune system by reducing stress related illnesses? When we are frustrated or angry, most often we feel better after talking out the situation with a friend. Laughing with friends is a wonderful way to change your mood. Long term effects of laughing include a decrease of pain, an enhanced immune system, better mood, and an easier time coping with difficult situations.
To combat loneliness, reach out to your current friends, join a group, or adopt a pet from a shelter. Another option is to schedule weekly therapy sessions. Therapists are there to listen to you and help you navigate your issues. There is no shame is seeking therapy. I loved my sessions because they allowed me to express and work out my frustrations or talk out various scenarios. Therapy gave me such clarity about my self and helped me learn more about how to navigate our stressful lives.
Therapy should be covered by your medical insurance plan. If it is not or a provider you want does not accept insurance, many have sliding scale policies that allow you to pay a reduced fee according to your income. Some may negotiate a fee with you that fits your budget. You can also use Health Saving Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds towards this service. Just be aware that you may need a letter of to show medical necessity in order to use the HSA or FSA funds. To learn more about what services can be paid with HSA or FSA funds, go to https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf.