Mental wellbeing for young people

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Friendship POWER

Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 13 May, 2021

Want to know why friends matter SO much? Turns out they're more powerful than you thought ...

So here at Headstrong, we are all about real life and its ups and downs, and how to get through tough times. And one massively important thing when life gets stormy, is the mates who get us through those rough times. But how do you have mates like that? How do you build friendships that will be there when everything else goes crazy? Who can you really depend on? What do you do when it's gone wrong? And why do our friends matter to us so much?

You know to understand the power of friendship, you first have to understand the way that your brain was designed. People need people. So I'm a psychologist, and I also love the creation story that's in the Bible which talks about, how the world and people and stuff were made. And there's this bit in the story where everything bit by bit by bit as it's made, God says it's good. It's the ancient Hebrew means that it's literally exactly the way it was meant to be. It's like exactly according to design.

But then there's one thing that wasn't good that's not the way it was intended to be, and that's when the human that's been created is alone. Literally that human is disconnected from other humans.

You know, it's in your DNA the way you're put together to need to do life and connection with other human beings. That's what friendship is about. And your family, they're a bunch of human beings believe it or not, you're connected to them biologically, but friends, that's a connection. It's an emotional connection that you've chosen to have.

And that element of choice makes those connections so powerful. Friends are people you're not forced to do life with. Friends are people that you've chosen, and you've come to really love.

And friendship love is a unique kind of love, isn't it? You know, in our world, we've become super focused on the kind of love you find in a romantic relationship. It's like a love that's tied up with desire, and physical attraction, and sex, it's complex. Friendship love is really different. But it's still powerful, and it's still got this amazing potential.

And it's something we so often miss because we think, 'Well if it's not romance then maybe it's not worth it. Maybe that's not gonna be my special space. My soulmate, the kind of connection that gets me through life's rubbish moments'. But if that's how we think about friendship we're missing something.

There's a famous saying that's in the New Testament of the Bible, which talks about the greatest type of love being about someone who's prepared to give their life for someone else. Do you know what type of love it's talking about? Friendship love. No, not romance. It's the type of love the type of connection where you would give up your life for a mate. That's the most powerful kind of love, the most powerful kind of relationship. And you know what, friendship isn't exclusive, so if you're lucky, you get to experience that type of love not just with one other person like a romantic get together, but with a bunch of people, a group, people who love each other, stick up for each other, fight for one another, and celebrate the good times when they happen.

So for best results, your brain is designed to do life and connection with other people. But did you know that that's so powerful, it means that when you get a text, or a like, or a response from a mate to something, you get a kind of chemical spike in your brain. It's the same chemical as the one that's triggered by some illegal drugs. It's a really good thing. It's like a mini high. Your brain literally thrives on your mates. And in teenage years that's even stronger because one of the jobs of the teenage brain as it becomes adult, is to figure out how we do these really powerful emotional relationships. You know? So that means those little highs are even stronger. Your mind is a little bit obsessed with your mates. And what that means is in your teenage years your friends opinions on you really matter. Friendship stuff becomes really important when you're in that adolescent brain scramble phase.

Those things can become really emotionally loaded which is good 'cause it's a real high when they're going well, but oh my goodness when things are going badly it's tough.

But if we can manage to figure out friendship, if we can explore the power of friendship, it's really effective. You know, if you have really good mates you're likely to be happier, you are statistically less likely to struggle with emotionally difficult stuff like depression or anxiety, you're even less likely to get certain physical illnesses or catch bugs and stuff like that. So, value your mates.

You know, we're gonna talk more about friendships, so if you found this interesting check out the other videos in this series.

There are always moments in life where we're drawn apart from people. If you've become disconnected from someone recently, maybe now's a good time to think about how you reconnect. And that might take a bit of time. Sometimes we have to put work into getting back on track with someone if we've not been able to be with them for a time. Or it might mean some tricky conversations if there have been disagreements, or misunderstandings, or fallings out. It's tempting just to move on, but it turns out, you know what, friends really are worth fighting for.


Friendship PROBLEMS

Friendship PROBLEMS


Friendship POTENTIAL

Friendship POTENTIAL