For one thing, you may find it easier to ward off a cold if you spend time gossiping with your friends. In addition to improving your mood and thus reducing stress, which helps to fight infection, spending time in groups provides you with an opportunity to “exchange bacteria” (nice). Those minor attacks on your immune system are important to keep it strong.
Research from the University of Chicago suggests that loneliness is more likely to lead to disturbed sleep. Although we all have different social needs, most people need some kind of social contact to maintain good mental health. It’s not about being the life and soul of the party; it’s about having some important people in your life to talk to.
There are several studies out there that suggest that Sudoku isn’t the only way to keep your brain sharp. Apparently spending time with other people can also cut your risk of cognitive decline.
No really, human connection is a powerful thing and it has even been suggested that those with strong social connections are likely to live longer than those with weak social connections.
Scientists have found that hugging a good friend or loved one can help to reduce blood pressure by releasing the hormone oxytocin, which in turn helps to lower blood pressure.
By the same token as the blood pressure point, time, attention and a cuddle from a friend can also help to reduce stress and even improve your memory. The crucial point isn’t just about touch, it’s about being with someone you trust.
A study from the University of Minnesota discovered that young adults who exercise and socialise regularly reported better mental health than peers who didn’t. Interestingly they suggested that many of the positive results were more likely to be because of the social aspect than the exercise.
“No man is an island,” John Donne famously wrote in the 17th century, and now science agrees. Low social support from friends and family is often linked to depression, and those deprived of physical connection when young often suffer psychological issues as a result. It helps to support mental health, but it also helps us to remember more and think more clearly!
On that note, I think we have enough reasons to spend this weekend on a group spa break with our best friends, don’t you?
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