This week’s blog is an interesting one and is something I have never really thought about associating with a healthy lifestyle- It turns out that having regular human connection and friendships can improve your health and actually promote a longer life… & here is why:
REDUCTION OF STRESS
Studies have shown that when hanging out with ya besties, the stress hormone called cortisol decreases, whilst also reducing the chance of heart problems and strokes AS WELL AS being linked to a decrease in suffering other chronic diseases.
So if life is getting you down, or maybe uni or work is getting too much, why not call a friend for a chat or even meet up for a coffee or a walk? I’m suggesting this because my friends and family get about 10 million calls a day and it helps a lot… However, it is important to also be there for your friends, check up on them or even drop them a text: It’s a two way street!
We’ve all heard it: “laughter is the best medicine” and the phrase has probably come from our grandparents and has blown right over our heads. However, studies are now proving that MAYBE laughter is an excellent medicine. Generally, there is a lot of laughter within friendships (even if you are laughing AT them…Sorry, Lucy) and this is why it shouldn’t stop!
- Your whole body will relax for up to 45 minutes after a good chuckle due to physical tensions and stress being relieved.
- Laughing increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies
- Laughter releases endorphins which are our body’s ‘natural feel-good chemicals’.
- Endorphins can even relieve us of pain!
- Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow.
- You will burn off a few calories too.
A study in Norway even found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer…
INFLUENCE (for better OR for worse)
We’ve all been encouraged to do something outrageous by our friends and it has probably made for a good laugh and a good memory! Likewise, if our friends have hard working ethics or certain moral views, they might rub on us… We are so influenced by our friends! A study from 2007 suggested that even obesity was contagious, showing that when one person was to gain some weight, their friend was likely to gain some weight too. However, the same study also showed how losing weight and being healthy spread between friends equally as fast! The friendships you have are more likely to impact decision making and influence your life greater than your own parents or family. So, for good health, surround yourself with supportive, like-minded friends, allow positive influences (and maybe even some negative ones for the mems).
So basically, our friends are even greater than we thought! “A good friendship is a wonderful antidepressant,” says psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and it has only been since I became more interested in all aspects of a healthy lifestyle that I realised that taking a day off the gym to hang out with my friends was probably just as beneficial- One study showed that loneliness led to worse outcomes than obesity.
So to my friends and family, the happiness, motivation, confidence, love, reassurance, support, laughter, memories and everything else in between, THANKS for improving my lifestyle!