Grab your girls, because its time to go on vacay. A new study has revealed that taking an occasional minibreak with your friends is good for your mental and physical health. While there's no denying the love family brings, Southern Living has reported that taking time to spend with your best friends can improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Studies have shown that certain friendships can extend life expectancy, cut down the risk of heart disease and even help us tolerate pain. Psychologists have been known to predict the size of someone's social network on how much pain they were able to withstand. In 2016, researchers also discovered that hanging out with friends could increase the production of oxytocin, the 'feel good' hormone that makes people friendlier. A Harvard study recounted how people who don't have strong friends tend to be more depressed, have later-life cognitive decline and were more likely to die at a younger age. A 2012 study found that the risk of dementia increased depending on how lonely people felt.
So basically, having friends is scientifically good for your health.
In a series of studies, psychologist William Chopik from Michigan State University found that in older adults, friendships are a stronger predictor of health and happiness than relationships with family members. "Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being,” he said. “So, it's smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest."
Chopik also noted that friendships may be more influential on our happiness and health than other relationships, so it's worth taking the time to make plans to just be with your friends.
So, who's up for a weekend away?
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This article originally appeared on marie claire Australia.