It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“A small new study shows that during stressful times, being around a best friend decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol.” (“Best Friends Can Help You Beat Stress”; HuffingtonPost.com, 9/29/2011)
This feels like old news by now, doesn’t it? Oooh, look at this, friends are good for your health.
What else is new?
And yet, every Wednesday, I remind you. Because it’s so easy to forget. Or ignore.
Stress is the type of plaguing misery that might inspire you skip a night out with the girls. I don’t have time, you think. I’m too stressed.
I get it. I have the same thoughts. A lot.
How convenient, then, that hanging with friends will actually lower our stress. It’s been proven, people. Spit tests were involved. Saliva has all the answers.
In a study of 100 children from ages 10-12, “during an unpleasant experience, the kids who were with their best friend didn’t produce as much cortisol as kids who weren’t around a friend during the stressful time.”
The fact that 10-12 year olds were used for this study might inspire some questions. Namely, what does a pre-teen have to be stressed about? How long they have to wait for the new Bieber album? (Only 20 more days…) Which photos they’ll tag on Facebook??
I kid, I kid. There are stressors to be had during those awkward years. But one might argue that juggling adult relationships, jobs, and family, is a bit tougher.
Still, I’d counter that adult BFF bonds are stronger too, so the effect is likely the same. I know that whenever I’m stressed, my best bet is to go to my cooking club. Or book club. Or on a girl-date. Spending time unwinding and talking girl-stuff lowers my heart rate. I never notice it in the moment… but always during the drive home. I’ll turn on the radio and think, “Wow, those chest pains are gone.”
See? No chest pains = pretty good news.
Moral of the story: Don’t use the stress excuse. ‘Cause your ninja friends are totally going to turn it on you, and prove just why you need them more than ever. BFFs are smart like that.
Do you notice your stress levels going down when you spend time with your best friend? Or does just the idea of friend time induce anxiety?