My name is Bisi Abiola. I am passionate about a healthy lifestyle. It is my life. The good news? I have published three books, and running a magazine, on health and fitness. Most importantly, I have enjoyed the benefits of healthy living – great stamina, youthful look and feel - for over thirty years. I believe there is no short cut to wellbeing. You have to eat well and exercise. This blog shares my experience and perception on how you can feel and look great for life.
Show me your friends, and I can guess the company you keep. Our kind of friends instinctively shows the group we
belong.For instance, if your friends
are down-to-earth, humble, simple, compassionate, intelligent, and hardworking,
you’re likely to exhibit those traits otherwise you will be struggling to get
along.On the other hand, if your
friends are unrealistic, arrogant, difficult, selfish, and lazy, probably you
are too, or influenced to be.After all,
birds of same feather flock together.
From experience, I encourage the
first type of friends.They are the ones
who will give you the little help when it is needed most.They are the ones you can call up in the
middle of the night without hesitating.They equally feel free to do the same when they need you. You know you
will always be there for each other. A friend in need is a friend indeed, right?
That is not the situation as many friends are never there when things get
rough.They quickly bolt through the
front door, leaving you to sort out your problems.They ignore your calls.The most annoying thing is once you are back
on top again, the calls start to come in… making you wonder. That's why I would rather have two or three genuine
friends than loads of sycophant friends.
Why Are Good Friends Great for Your Health?
This brings up the fact that true
friendship is good for your health – and that has been proven scientifically.Friends make you live longer, particularly
the ones that bring happiness, reduce your stress, and spur you on to greater
things. Research discovered that while men are inclined to go it alone in stressful
situations, women look for support group among women. Whenever these women
engage in this type of ‘friendship’, the chemical oxytocin is released; this
counters stress and has a calming effect. The recommendation is to talk it out
with someone about what is bugging you. Pouring out your heart and getting a
positive response to your problems do help. So remember when you are going
through a stormy period, it is important to talk to your friends about it.
Don’t go it alone. And if you are the friend someone confides in, let him or
her know you care.
One more reason to have friends is
that not having friends has a negative physical effect as bad as being
overweight.For instance, letting go
your friendship with other sisters is a mistake because you provide strength to
each other. We are not talking about women friends jealous of your promotion,
your loving family, your beauty, and intelligence. Those women are not your
friends. The real friends will have your back and not grudge your success or
secretly wish they had what you have.Bottom
line: true relationship with women friends can truly be therapeutic.Also, if you feel comfortable with male
friends, enjoy it as long as you can feel each other.There is no hard and fast rule about
friendship.The final benefit we are all
looking for is a healing experience.
What Makes You a Good Friend?
If you are
a good friend, you should have some or all of the following attributes:
·Can You Spot a Friend in Trouble?
This means you
have to be very good at reading your friends facial expressions.You instinctively know when she is down or
up.She may hide it because she doesn’t want
to burden or take too much of your time or too self-conscious to ask for help. A
nice way to start is by asking ‘Is everything ok’? Or ‘Are you alright’? Or ‘Can
we talk about what’s upsetting you’? Be persistent, but also take the hint if
she would rather not talk about it at that moment.If she is still quiet the next day, give it
·Are you a Good Listener?
Many of us are
not good listeners, but rather yap a lot, and enjoy listening to our own voice.
This time let your friend do the talking. Perhaps it is possible you may not be
able to solve your friend’s problem or help get her groove back, but do let her
talk about how she feels. Giving her the space to talk through the situation,
as often and as long as she wants, is the greatest support you can give her.
Your calmness can be valuable too since it permits a good flow of her feelings
Do You Focus On Your Friend?
If your friend
is pulling through from the shock of discovering her husband’s sizzling love affair with
his secretary, talk about her feelings as regards the infidelity, rather that
the husband’s actions. Alternatively if the problem is about failing a
professional exam, focus on her feelings about not passing the exam, rather
than the failure.
·Do You Open Your Pandora Box?
It is very easy
to start unfolding your related experience to your friend’s problem at a time
she wants your listening ears.Bingo, you
have taken over the show, leaving your friend no space to put in a word. There
is a blurred line between trying to be compassionate and unleashing your own
dose of earlier experiences.Be careful
how you respond to your friend’s distress call.If your friend asks you to share your experience, by all means feel free
to share.However, resist from giving
an excessive account of your narrative or deleting sensitive parts to make her
feel better.So, if she doesn’t ask to
share your experience, avoid the urge to tell. It is her time.Let her expend it.
·Do You Take Her Off the Problem?
It is good to
talk, but afterwards get her involved in an activity that will get her mind off
the problem.Because let us face it,
after having poured her heart to you, she will still go back to her life –
eating, sleeping, working, and living the problem.Advise activities to do, for example, suggest a trip to the gym (that is
if she enjoys it), to the movies, give her a motivational book, but make
certain it doesn’t involve alcohol, drugs, or food.
·How Practical Are You?
emotional outburst of her problems, it is time to be practical.It may be your duty to get her information
and external supports that will help rebuild her life.For instance, if the problem is failing her
professional exam, assist by encouraging her to make a second attempt. If it is
a relationship problem, she may benefit from a marriage counsellor or a
therapist.None of your actions must be
forced or too hasty. When you are ready with your suggestions, propose them
gently at the appropriate time.
·Are You There Always?
Lastly, it is crucial to just be there through ‘thick’ and ‘thin’. After all that’s what friends are