Most people love to travel, and when done with friends it can have a positive impact on your mental health according to a study.
Most of us have gone through spells of stress, anxiety or depression, which are all commonplace in today's fast-paced world that seldom allows us the luxury of connecting with the people we love. Fortunately, science has swooped in to save the day with a study that pretty much confirms that a mini girls' trip with your closest friends could be the cure to many of life's woes. Now, you have the best excuse to go on a holiday and take a much-needed break from all that's weighing you down in life. It's a great way to tend to your mental health and stoke that fire of friendship that we are all guilty of neglecting from time to time. Forging meaningful friendships come with many benefits and has the power to positively impact several areas of your life.
It was found that good friendships play a far more significant role in ensuring one's health and happiness, than personal relationships with family ever could. Psychologist William Chopik from Michigan State University, following a series of studies determined that, "Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being. So, it's smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest." Before you pack your bags and head off for an adventure, make sure it is with the kind of friends that truly bring you joy and make you feel like the best version of yourself. A vacation can quickly become stressful with the wrong people.
According to Southern Living, there's research that proves the right kind of friendships can lower risks of heart disease, increase life expectancy, and even help you develop a higher tolerance to pain. So, it hardly comes as a surprise that a few days away with people who can have this effect on you is great for your sanity. In fact, psychologists were able to predict just how big one's inner circle was by gauging their tolerance towards pain. If you have a low tolerance to pain, you probably are friends with the wrong kinds of people. Do not be afraid to go looking for something better. There is no sense in settling in any relationship, even friendship.
In 2016, researchers were able to uncover what it is about a great day out with friends that instantly puts a bounce in your step. Apparently, there is a spike in the amount of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) produced in the body when you hang out with friends. Oxytocin is generally released whenever we experience feelings of joy and elation. The more oxytocin that runs through your veins, the better. Elevated levels of oxytocin have been found to be associated with helping individuals become more generous, trusting and even friendlier.
In relation to this, researchers were able to determine that individuals who were part of a large circle of friends were less likely to be depressed. Those who do not have too many friends are not only more at risk for depression but have to grapple with cognitive decline and the possibility of an early death. So, if you find yourself in short supply of great friends who make your heart happy and your mind free, you might want to get out of your house and do what you can to change that.
It can be daunting to chase after new friendships as you grow older and increasingly complacent. The friendship game is especially challenging if you have chosen to uproot yourself from all things familiar and plant yourself in a city full of strangers instead. According to the New York Times, there is a very simple remedy for this problem - good old fashioned conversation. Start talking to the people you work with, join a class or anything else that could put you in the company of people who are likely to possess similar interests as yours.
If you find yourself struggling with how to break the ice and start a dialogue with someone who seems interesting, just take a deep breath and start with smaller subjects like how their weekend went, and in turn offer an account of your own. It is important that the conversation includes more than you just interrogating the latest recruit for your circle of friends, but warrants an element of vulnerability from you as well. Opening up is as important as listening. This does not mean that you burden them with all the tragedies in your life, it just means you need to manage communication in a manner that helps forge trust and kinship. Once you master that, you will never be in short supply of people to holiday with and unwind wherever you end up.