If you needed a reason to convince your girlfriends to go on a mini getaway with you, tell them it’ll be really good for their health.
If they’re still on the fence, then you’ll just have to show them the results of a study from researchers at Harvard to prove that you’re telling the truth.
While it is no secret that both spending time with people you love and going on vacations can make you feel better by reducing stress, combining the two can actually benefit your overall physical health too.
Harvard researchers have recently found that spending quality time with your close friends can actually increase your life expectancy.
According to their findings, those who don’t have strong friendships are more likely to suffer from depression and experience cognitive decline, including diseases like dementia, as they reach old age.
Lack of friends apparently takes the same toll on one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, increasing the risk of premature death by 50 percent.
Other studies have also shown a correlation between strong relationships and lower risk of cardiovascular disease as well as the ability to better tolerate pain.
A team of psychologists conducted an experiment where they were able to determine the size of a participant’s social circle based on how much pain they were able to withstand.
This could be due to the fact that by being around friends, the brain’s production of the hormone oxytocin increases.
Also known as the “love” or “feel good” hormone, oxytocin has pain-relieving properties and also allows us to foster more trust in people around us. Once we trust, we’re not only friendlier but we also become more generous, qualities that makes friendships last.
For several different reasons, including work, relocating cities, and raising children, it becomes harder to maintain friendships as we get older, but the key is to carve out time that is exclusively dedicated to bonding with your besties.
Taking an annual trip together, whether it’s a weekend getaway at a cottage or a week overseas, is usually a great way to enjoy each other’s company and make sure your brain is releasing as much oxytocin as possible.
However, if planning and coordinating proves to be too much of a hassle, maybe just settle for regular get togethers that work with everyone’s schedules. The few hours you spend with your friends, could be adding a couple of years to your life, so don’t take it for granted.