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Why Spending Time With Friends Will Lower Your Stress

Why Spending Time With Friends Will Lower Your Stress

Thousands of studies have found that the majority of us thrive when we have strong, positive relationships with other people. Your happiness actually decreases when you reduce the number of hours in which you socialize. A 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found that on average Americans spend only 39 minutes socializing with one another during the week and only 59 minutes on the weekends. It’s no wonder why so many people complain of loneliness.

A key predictor of longevity
An active social life comes with crucial benefits in addition to more happiness. It actually extends your life. Most people are aware that diet, exercise and overall health are good predictors of how long you will live.

Social media doesn’t count as social interaction
A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who use Facebook showed signs of lower well-being. Social media can detract from face-to-face relationships and more meaningful in-person activities. It can also increase sedentary behavior and hurt your self-esteem because it causes you to compare yourself to others in negative ways.

Boost your brain power
Another study finds that seniors who are frequently social saw a 70 percent reduction in the rate of their cognitive decline compared with their least social peers.

If you need more reasons to help justify spending extra time chatting or playing a board game, consider the plethora of evidence linking less social interaction with poor health.

How to stay young at heart
Socializing will keep you young at heart, emotionally vibrant and mentally sharp. So, why not keep the “holiday spirit” going year-round? It can be as simple as a wave and a smile to a passerby. You could also make a bigger effort to do things with other people that have the potential for developing deeper connections, such as:

  • Visiting family and friends more frequently.
  • Participating in activities such as volunteering.
  • Going to sporting events or playing on a team. You don’t have to be athletic to join a bocce ball team or a bowling league, and it’s not just for the competition. The benefit comes from the joy of being around others.
  • Attending religious ceremonies. You don’t have to have the profile of a saint. Find a group you enjoy spending time with.
  • Becoming an active member of a civic club.

Interacting with a group of people will provide you with a proven life-extending benefit. And who knows? You may even find one or two people you especially enjoy, which will bring the added benefit that comes from having close relationships.

Regardless of how you go about connecting with others, remember that it should be in a way that is enjoyable to you. That way you’ll be inspired to do it often.

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