Sometimes we wonder if time we spend with friends is worth the investment. Women wonder whether time spent at lunch or tennis is worth it. Men wonder if they have time to talk about the sports scores or play golf.

It is worth it, says Shelley Taylor, Ph.D., professor of psychology at UCLA. Social support brings down our blood pressure and signals our adrenal glands to stop pumping out corticosteroids. We feel much less stressed and may even live longer as a result of our time with friends.

Medical studies prove that men with strong social ties had an 82 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than men without them. Doctors at Harvard School of Public Health believe the positive effects of strong social ties are the same for men and women.

Talking on a cell phone doesn't count. You have to make time for friends, make it a priority that you will not cancel when something else comes up.

Work and home life are notorious for causing health-threatening stress, but today there are many causes. Consider the stress caused by wars, terrorism, space disasters, and natural disasters like floods and tornados.

When you can tell your worst fears to someone else, they somehow seem easier to handle.