If you’ve been having doubts about booking that holiday trip with your girlfriends, then what you’re about to read might just change your mind.
In this ever-evolving and fast-paced world, it’s so easy to get caught up in the avalanche of deadlines, emails, and tasks that you have to accomplish. At the end of a work week, you are too exhausted to have some fun that you basically just sleep through the whole weekend. We’re not saying that’s bad – but sometimes, everyone needs a little break from routine, right?
But according to studies, this occasional break doesn’t just allow you to rest and relax, it is also essential for good health and long life!
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported that social connections “not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking.”
Of course, these social connections include our relationships with our families, but research proves that having solid friendships could: lower the risk of acquiring health issues such as heart disease, increase life expectancy, and even improve tolerance for pain! In fact, psychologists were able to predict a person’s social network size based on how much pain they were able to withstand.
Aside from these, friendships can also make us happier. In 2016, researchers found evidence that hanging out with friends can increase the production of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that our bodies produce when we are happy. Oxytocin is known to make people more trusting, more generous, and friendlier – all the traits that you would want in a friend!
However, this is not great news for those who have difficulty establishing social connections. When scientists examined the other side of the spectrum, they discovered that those people who don’t have strong friendships “tend to be more depressed, have later-life cognitive decline”, and worse, “were more likely to die at a younger age”.
A study that inspected the lives of 309,000 individuals found that lack of social ties increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% – about the same effect as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
Also, a Dutch study in 2012 found that people who were lonely have an increased risk of developing dementia.
According to psychologist William Chopik of Michigan State University: “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.”
Forbes also reported that women who use their vacation time frequently “are less likely to become tense, depressed or tired and are happier with their marriages”. And by vacation time – it means traveling and getting yourself out there – not just a day off spent running errands that you weren’t able to do on the weekdays.
Conversely, those women who don’t go on travels as much have a “higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease”. Note that a study on men yielded similar results, but women tended to benefit more from traveling with close friends.
So, do you need more reasons to book that holiday getaway?
We get it – it’s not that easy to pry yourself away from life’s obligations, plus, an out-of-town trip could take a big chunk off your well-maintained budget. But with all the evidence proving that traveling with your friends could yield a plethora of health and mental benefits, then maybe it is worth doing once in a while, right?
Perhaps, the next time that you decide to reward yourself, a ladies’ getaway might be the best idea not just for you, but for your girlfriends too.