Friends are an important part of our lives. They stay with us through thick and thin to become a crucial part of our success. They are our shoulder to cry on and also the ones who help us make important decisions in life. While our family is important to us, friends are equally important. Scientists say that in order to maintain a fulfilling and happy life, a trip with our besties is necessary.
The study published on the Harvard Women’s Health blog says that social connections “not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking”.
According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, when we go on trips with our BFFs, it allows us to discuss future plans and also become a supportive ear or shoulder. This has many health benefits since sharing our thoughts and ideas with our friends can help relieve stress and anxiety. A trip with our besties not only give us pleasure, but also influences our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking, says researchers who posted their findings on the Harvard Women’s Health blog.
People who have a strong relationship with their friends, family and community are measurably happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. A lack of social life was also found to be associated with depression, cognitive decline, and shorter lifespans.
In one study, scientists examined data from more than 309,000 people and found that those who lacked strong relationships in their lives had a shorter lifespan. Their premature mortality risk also increased by 50%, which was comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and a life without any physical exercise.
Scientists studying the biological and behavioral factors reported the advantages of connecting with your BFFs.
Scientists who studied the subjects for a predetermined duration found that those who were close with their friends had lower levels of stress. Other advantages included healthy coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and immune system. Meanwhile, a few other studies showed that the caring behavior of our friends was enough to release the stress-reducing hormones.
Those with no friends or social interactions had harmful levels of stress, which in turn affected the arteries in a negative way. Scientists also found that by determining a person’s ability to handle pain, they are able to determine how strong and large someone’s social circle is. The support we receive from our friends is one of the easiest health strategies we can get since it requires no special equipment or regimen, and is inexpensive.
However, the quality of the relationship is something we should all consider. Surrounding ourselves with those who are emotionally negative all the time can also affect the way we think and act. In another study, scientists discovered that midlife women who had satisfying marriages or were living in a marital-type relationship had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, compared to those who were involved in less satisfying relationships. Scientists were also able to associate disappointing or negative interactions with our friends and family members with poorer health.
There’s also evidence that enjoying time with friends can increase the production of a hormone in our bodies called oxytocin.
Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone” or the “bonding hormone” because of its observed effects on our relationships. The hormone is released by the hypothalamus when we bond with someone. Oxytocin is also responsible for making us trust someone as well as giving us that melting feeling when we see puppies and kittens. The more oxytocin a person has in their body, the more trusting, friendly and generous they will be.
While social media helps us keep in touch with our friends and family members, studies show that in order to make us more trusting with one another, physical contact is necessary. So, get out more and spend time with your friends.
According to psychologist William Chopik from Michigan State University: “Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being. So, it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest”.
Forbes Travel Guide and Dr. Mehmet Oz report that vacationing is actually good for your health; especially when it’s with your BFFs.
According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, women who occasionally go on vacations with their friends are less likely to become tense, depressed or tired and are happier with their marriages. It also improves your mood and boosts productivity. Despite the positive benefits of vacationing with your friends, a 2018 State of American Vacation survey from the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off found that 52% of Americans had unused vacation days at the end of 2017.
Taking vacations is important since it also gives us time to reflect on ourselves. It also helps us learn about different cultures and think uniquely. While bills and family limits our ability to utilize full vacation days, it’s time to sit down and make time for a weekend getaway with your pals. Spending time with friends and maintaining friendships can help you In the long run, so it’s time to start planning a trip!