Our fastpaced world has introduced a new kind of anxiety or stress into our lives. You wish you could connect with the people close to you, but oftentimes, there just isn’t that much time to do so.
But once again, science has dropped a little tip that spending time with your friends is better for your mental health. Now you can schedule that girls’ night out with your besties without any guilt.
After all, it’s good for you! Having strong friendships is actually more important than we previously thought. They’re even more important than having a good family bond.
Can you believe that? It’s important to note that you shouldn’t pack your bags and go on a trip with friends that stress you out.
I know I have that one friend that I can only spend a little bit of time with before I start getting stressed out. If you’re going to spend a long period of time with your friends, make sure it’s with people you really enjoy spending time with. Your mental health will thank you later.
There’s even research to prove spending time with good friends lowers your risk of heart disease, can increase your life expectancy, and you can even grant you a better tolerance for pain. This last bit is especially dependent on the quality of your friendships.
Psychologists can look at your pain tolerance and predict the quality of your friend group. That’s pretty freaky but super helpful! Now you have an even better reason to drop that one person that makes your get-togethers a stressful mess.
But why exactly is having a great group of friends essential to a happy, healthy life? Well, in 2016, researchers looked into just that. According to researchers, oxytocin (a hormone that makes you feel good) is released whenever you’re having fun with people you enjoy spending time with.
This particular hormone is released during times of high enjoyment and fun, so it’s no wonder it would be secreted when you’re out with your friends.
Studies have shown that higher levels of oxytocin are apparently linked with making you a happier, more trusting, and more generous person. I know I want to be all three of those things! And do you have a pretty large circle of friends? Well, it turns out you’re less likely to be depressed! People with few or even no friends tend to have higher instances of depression and even have a shorter life expectancy. So really, you should get out there and make some friends as if your life depended on it.
It is important to note that you shouldn’t become friends with just anybody. As previously mentioned, being friends with people that stress you out can be even worse than not having a lot of friends in the first place. But this can be incredibly daunting if you’ve moved to a completely new city or state, far away from your old friends. The best way to combat this is to talk to people. Yeah, that’s right. You’re a friendly, wonderful person.
Anyone you talk to is bound to see that, so talk to people at your work or find something you enjoy doing and make friends that way. If you’re like me and you’re an introvert and naturally shy, it can be really hard to figure out how to talk to people.
The best way to overcome this is to pick a few small icebreakers like asking someone how their weekend was and opening up about yourself. You shouldn’t just let them talk about themselves. That’s not really how you’re going to make a good friend, but you shouldn’t talk all about yourself, either. Listening and talking are both incredibly vital skills in the search for a good friend, so don’t neglect either of them.