Friendship is an important part of our life. Perhaps even more important than love, since a loved one, first of all, should be a best friend.
However, research shows that in recent years, residents of large cities have become more socially isolated. And this does not seem surprising at all, if we remember how much time we spend in the company of gadgets, so even during lunch with our best friend it can be difficult for us to tear ourselves away from them.
In fact, strong friendships are more than just communication and emotional health. It is also a significant contribution to physical health. Don't believe me? Below are five convincing pieces of evidence.
Friendship lengthens life
It is believed that people with strong social relationships in their lives are less likely to die prematurely. Fresh from Live Science: A 2010 review of research on the topic found that women have twice the effect of social connections on life expectancy than men, and are equivalent to quitting smoking in terms of health benefits.
Experts suggest that such dynamics is associated with prolonged exposure to stress factors during social isolation, which gradually lead to wear and tear of the body.
Health indicators are improving
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, compared the biological statistics of people who reported social isolation with those of those who had many friends throughout their lives. To do this, they used data from four large-scale studies, which involved thousands of volunteers aged 12 to 91 years.
In particular, biomarkers such as blood pressure, BMI, waist circumference, and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) were analyzed. As a result, scientists were able to find out that sociable people perform better in general than people who prefer to spend time alone. For example, in older people, the lack of social connections almost doubled the risk of high blood pressure (124%).
Friendship is a way to deal with stress
A 1989 study published in The Lancet found that women with breast cancer who worked in support groups reported a better quality of life during their illness and generally lived longer than women in a control group who did not have undergone this kind of therapy.
Live Science also cites data from a 2011 study of fourth grade students, which showed that friends outside of school help children effectively deal with attacks or rejection from classmates in terms of mental health indicators.
Friends help us become better
“Obesity is contagious!” Were the headlines following a 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists have been able to prove that if our friend is obese, the likelihood that we too will face a problem increases significantly. However, arguing about the danger of friendship, everyone for some reason forgot that here, as elsewhere, there is the opposite effect.
In other words, we are no less inclined to adopt healthy habits from friends who regularly go to the gym, try to eat right, or have recently gotten rid of those extra pounds.
Friendship activates the brain
Having friends who make you feel like you are part of a group can affect your brain activity in a positive way. This is evidenced by a 2012 study conducted in the Netherlands with the participation of 2, 000 people aged 65 and over. The results, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, showed that the risk of developing dementia in older people increases along with increasing feelings of loneliness.
“The fact that it was 'loneliness' and not 'loneliness' that was associated with the onset of dementia suggests that this is not an objective situation, but rather a perceived lack of social attachment, ” the scientists explain.