When was the last time you caught up with your best gal pal? You should, because high-quality friendships can boost health and wellbeing. Here’s how:
Friends lower stress
When women feel close to someone, there’s a surge in progesterone, a hormone that helps reduce stress and anxiety, a US study has found. This surge was also linked to a willingness to risk one’s life for the other person. Researchers say it may have played a role in social bonds during our evolution.
Socialising keeps you razor-sharp
When US researchers studied people over 80 who had the memory function of middle-aged adults, they found that these “super agers” had more positive social relationships.
They can help you live longer
In a study, women aged between 50 and 79 were asked how much social support they had. When researchers followed up with them years later, those who’d said they had more support were more likely to still be living. Other studies have shown that women with breast cancer who have strong social and emotional networks have better odds of survival than those who don’t.
You’ll just feel better
Good friendships predict health and happiness as we age better than our relationships with relatives do, two US studies show. It may be because we get to weed out meh friends over time, whereas family (including difficult members) is forever.
© Prevention Australia
First published: 15 Oct 2019