They say all you need is one good friend as opposed to dozens of acquaintances. But there are more benefits to a bestie than just having someone you can celebrate or drown your sorrows with over a bottle of wine.
In fact, a recent study has revealed that hanging out with your best friend is actually good for your health!
Scientists at Northwestern University found that many elderly people credited their good health to having good friends and a busy social life.
Hanging out with your bestie is good for your health
50 participants over the age of 80 were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their psychological well-being. One group consisted of 31 ‘SuperAgers’, those with episodic memory and high cognitive awareness. The other group consisted of 19 cognitively average-for-age peers.
It turns out the main difference was that the SuperAgers revealed to have had long-lasting relationships with people.
But it’s not just the elderly that benefit from having a good social group. In a paper published in the journal Child Development, a team of experts found that having a childhood best friend plays a significant role in a person’s mental and physical health well into adulthood.
How having friends helps you live a long life
Sheldon Cohen, PhD, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, believes having strong social support helps you cope with stress.
“There may be broader effects as well,” she tells WebMD. “Friends encourage you to take better care of yourself. And people with wider social networks are higher in self-esteem, and they feel they have more control over their lives.”
Meanwhile, Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University, says forming deep friendships is a survival mechanism.
“People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol – a stress hormone,” she also tells Web MD. “[We] are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups.
“We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes.”
So there you have it. It’s probably best that you text the girls to arrange a night out. Purely for health reasons, of course.
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