Health Benefits of Making a Date with Someone Other Than Your Valentine…
Valentine’s Day is upon us… and unless Geal Garcia Bernal comes knocking at my door this weekend (he plays maestro Rodrigo in my new fav show ‘Mozart in the Jungle’) I’m planning to have a date with only my husband this weekend. Studies show, however, that if I was smart I’d also make another date… with my friends.
Here’s the deal… having good friends can actually make you live longer. An Australian study found that those people who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%.
Companionship provided by friends may ward off depression, boost self-esteem, and provide support. Interestingly, close relationships with children and relatives, in contrast, had almost no effect on longevity. Hmmm…
Another study bumps that percentage even higher. Data examined 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.
There’s been documentation of women with breast cancer who participated in a support group lived twice as long as those who didn’t (and had much less pain). “People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol — a stress hormone. Why? The evolutionary argument maintains that humans are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups. We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to better health,”claims Tasha R. Howe, PhD, asst psychology professor at Humboldt State University.
This much I know to hold true (no academic statistic needed): My life would be miserable without close friends. Some of my happiest moments have involved true friends by my side. They’ve provided countless hours of mental and physical support. They’ve remind me that I’m understood and not alone. They’ve made me laugh when I’ve really felt like crying. Friends make life sweet.
“Caring involvement with others may be one of the easiest health strategies to access. It’s inexpensive, it requires no special equipment or regimen, and we can engage in it in many ways,” states the Harvard Health Publication.
Think of the friend that always brightens your day. Makes you laugh uncontrollably.
The one that reminds you that you are NOT a crazy mess. (Even though you’d swear otherwise!) Now call that friend and make a date to meet for coffee, or lunch (at Bliss!) 🙂 or happy hour – whatever. You’ll be happier and healthier by doing so.
Thank you for your business. Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!
– Jennifer McNamara, Bliss & Vinegar
P.S. Enjoy Bliss & Vinegar dressings at home! We now offer our DRESSINGS TO-GO! Choose your favorite and we’ll bottle it. Available for purchase at Bliss.
Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, Australia – WebMD
Stanford University, David Spiegel M.D. / Harvard Health Publications
The New Science of Happiness, Claudia Wallis, Time Magazine