As you may have seen on our IG channel this week, we celebrated National Family Day on Monday! As part of that celebration, we would like to use this week’s blog to let you in on a few secrets about how the time you spend with your good friends and family can positively affect your health.
A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University discovered that people who spend more time with their family and friends tend to have less stress. This is believed to be the result of healthy coping mechanisms. When you are with your family and friends, you tend to confide in them and discuss your troubles instead of bottling them up. If you have no positive outlet for your stress, you are more likely to resort to negative alternatives such as smoking, drinking more than is good for you, binge-eating the wrong foods, etc. And we don’t have to tell you how bad all of those alternatives are for your health!
We’ve learned over time that many different factors can affect the mental health of an individual, and one of those factors is social interactions. Spending time with your social network of friends and family members has been shown to reduce occurrences of depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness. Some people have even reported feeling a greater sense of purpose and finding more meaning in life as they spent more time with their families.
Family time also contributes to the overall health of your cardiovascular system. Remember how we talked about stress earlier? Well, stress can actually be a catalyst for chronic inflammation of your cells and suppression of your immune system (we’ll go deeper into this in a later blog). Reduced stress equals reduced inflammation and puts you on the path to a better immune system. Spending time with your friends and family can also avoid the feeling of loneliness. Some studies have shown that the health repercussions of loneliness can be as detrimental to you as smoking 15 cigarettes!
Now that we’ve let you in on all of the health benefits of spending time with friends and family, you’re probably wondering if it can replace things like prescriptions, supplements, treatments, exercise, and proper nutrition. While spending time with your family and friends does not replace your normal health routine, positive social time does work in harmony with all of those other things to enhance your overall health. So the next time you’re thinking about calling up a friend or family member to make plans, quit thinking about it and just do it! Your mind and body will thank you!