What if we told you there is any easy way you can increase your happiness, health, and maybe even live longer that is totally free and accessible to everyone right now? You don’t need any special equipment. It doesn’t involve exercise, unless you want it to. You can achieve this incredible health boost any time you decide to. Sounds too good to be true, right? It isn’t.
The answer to a healthier you is as close as your nearest friend. Studies show that a mini-vacation, a walk in the park, or even just a conversation with your best-trusted friends can work wonders on the body. You don’t have to have a large group of friends. They key is to focus on quality solid friendships with people who bring out the best in you, and who you reciprocate true friendship with.
There have been dozens of studies that verify people with strong friendships tend to be happier and healthier. It’s all about reducing stress.
According to the Harvard Medical School, people who don’t have any friendships put themselves at a similar risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s how important friendships are to our mental and physical health.
“One study, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.”
Although dating, relationships, and family are certainly important too, it’s the friendships that really are most important when it comes to health. That’s probably because people who hang out with their friends are most at ease and less stressed. High-stress levels contribute to problems with coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system. On the other hand, when we are around our friends, our bodies tend to produce stress-reducing hormones like oxytocin.