THE FESTIVE SEASON isn’t just about spending time with your family – getting together with friends is just as important. And it will do your health the world of good too. A study by Michigan State University has found that friendships have a greater influence on our health than our family relationships – and the older we get, the more impact these friendships have on our wellbeing and, in the long run, how long we live.
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Participants in the study reported more illnesses when their pals were giving them grief, but when their mates were being supportive, participants were happier and healthier.
Unlike family, we pick and choose our friends and can turn to them when things get dificult with relatives. ‘Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of diference for our health and wellbeing,’ says William Chopik, who led the research. ‘Studies show that friendships predict day-to-day happiness, and ultimately how long we’ll live, more so than spousal and family relationships. So it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.’