According to a 2004 study, over 25% of Americans feel like they have no one to confide in. Loneliness can have a physical and mental impact on our lives, but so can friendships. “Our relationships can have a physical impact as well as emotional,” explains associate psychology professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
A coffee break with friends can have unseen benefits. It can relieve stress, strengthen your immune system, and even assuage physical pain. After you learn these scientific benefits of socializing, you’ll want to call up a friend.
It Can Relieve Physical Pain
People with chronic pain may feel physically better after socializing. During one study, scientists at the University of Oxford asked people to lean against the wall uncomfortably. People with a larger group of friends or more active social life could tolerate the pain for longer than those who weren’t socially active.
Why does this happen? According to researchers, socializing releases endorphins, the body’s “feel-good” hormones. These chemicals essentially trick the brain into focusing more on feeling good than on feeling bad. Even sitting next to a friend could alleviate pain in some people.