It’s a truth universally acknowledged by the female population that nothing makes the soul sing quite like a girls’ trip. Champagne. Cheese platters. Sing-alongs. Laughing until the tears roll down your cheeks. What more could a girl ask for?
However, as most of us know, rallying your mates for the annual hurrah gets harder every year, with work commitments, family stuff and, well, life in general making it increasingly difficult to carve out that sacred time for one another.
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And yet, despite this difficulty, it is essential that we make the effort for the sake of our wellbeing, according to social-personality psychologist William Chopik. In his research, published in Personal Relationships, Dr Chopik found that it is our friendships that have the biggest impact on health and happiness. Unlike other relationships in our lives, to which certain pressures or dynamics are attached, friendships “are a way to derive all the benefits of being in a relationship with someone without the enormity of it”.
“Friendships are really important for people’s happiness,” Dr Chopik says, as per well+good, adding that the support we get from our friendships can even improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. As he points out, our friendships are different to other relationships in our life – say, those with our partner or family members – meaning we can share things with them that we wouldn’t anyone else. “These are relationships of choice. You choose to hang out together because you enjoy each other’s company,” Dr Chopik says.
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And while our hyper-connected world means a friend is never really further away than the push of a button, Dr Chopik insists on the benefits of making sure to carve out some IRL time. “You can sit down, look them in the eye, have a true back-and-forth, and read each other’s body language. They can see you and your facial expressions. You’re emotionally responding to things, and you can pick up on their emotions. You don’t always get that through a phone call.”
What’s more, a 2019 study by Harvard University found that going on a break with friends offers significant health benefits because “social connections like these not only give pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet and not smoking”.
So if you were looking for a sign to book that next girls’ trip – this is it.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.
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