Make friends often, don’t get sick easily, and sleep better

“Only the most intelligent creatures have the conditions to make friends, and humans are the best of them.” Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford University in the UK, said so. Having three or five intimate friends has a good impact on physical and mental health, as well as work, career and family; Lack of friends will make you feel isolated, nervous and vulnerable to diseases. Recently, Lauren Brandt, an expert on friendship and social behavior at Duke University in the United States, published an article in the British magazine New Scientist, explaining from the perspective of evolutionary psychology why humans should make friends and the magical power that friendship can bring us.

two chemicals promote friendship

“For human beings, friends are by no means dispensable appendages.” Brandt pointed out that from a scientific perspective, dating activities are related to the release of a variety of neurotransmitters and biochemical substances that can make people feel happy. Among them, oxytocin and endorphin have the largest effect.

Jie Wei, a doctor of Neurobiology at Southern Medical University, explained that oxytocin is a neuropeptide that is secreted in large quantities during lactation, so as to relax people and promote the establishment of a loving bond between mother and son. In addition, it can reduce anxiety, reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Brandt said that this effect was extended to interpersonal relationships such as making friends in the course of evolution. Research shows that oxytocin is released when people make physical contact with friends, such as hugging, caressing and massage, and the accompanying pleasant mood will encourage people to continue making friends. Even without physical contact, oxytocin can guide people to make Pro social decisions, enhance trust, and encourage people to do good deeds.

Endorphin is a neurotransmitter that can make people feel happy. Robin Dunbar once did a classic experiment: subjects were asked to row alone or in groups of two, and the content of endorphins in their bodies was measured before and after rowing. It was found that people who rowed with partners released more endorphins than those who rowed alone.

In a word, these two chemicals are like gifts given to mankind by the creator. In the course of thousands of years of evolution, they have gradually brought us tolerance, warmth and pleasure in friendship. They have brought so many strangers who had never met together and formed a wonderful network of relationships.

making friends benefits both physically and mentally.

Friends are the “right-hand assistants” to promote health. Fu Chunsheng, member of the mental health consulting center of the Institute of psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that there are at least five advantages to making friends.

1. It is not easy to get sick. Brandt said that the level of the stress hormone cortisol in people who lack friends or have poor interpersonal relations for a long time is often too high, and this long-term tension will damage their health. This also explains why lonely people have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and are more susceptible to infection. But if you have friends, your cortisol will decrease, and you will be less likely to get sick.

2. Sleep better. A study by the University of Chicago found that the more lonely people are, the more often they suffer from insomnia. A Swedish study also shows that people who lack friends often suppress and hide their feelings, are more prone to insomnia, and may induce depression.

3. My memory is better. Dr. Lisa Berkman of the Department of human development and health of Harvard University School of public health found that compared with the elderly with frequent social interaction, the memory of the elderly with less social interaction declined twice as fast. He said that socializing can improve age-related memory loss and can fully develop brain potential.

4. I’m smarter. Professor Oscar Barra of Michigan State University in the United States found that making friends can make people smarter, because making friends requires dealing with strangers, which is equivalent to exercising cognitive ability. For example, if we want to extract sports, entertainment, life, fashion and other topics of interest to different people from the brain’s “database”, the cerebral cortex will always be excited.

5. Long life. Lynn yiles of Flinders University in Australia found that the death rate of the elderly who kept in contact with more than five close friends was reduced by 22%, and the average life expectancy was extended by seven years. Fu Chunsheng said that sharing difficulties can halve sorrow and sharing pleasure can double happiness. This may be because friends can help people to relieve pressure, solve difficulties, obtain support, and jointly maintain healthy living habits.

most good-looking people have a “friend making gene”

About friendship, everyone may have the following doubts. Xiao Zhenyu, director of the Evaluation Department of the mental health promotion center of the Institute of psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, answered them one by one.

Question 1: why do some people have more affinity?

A: most good-looking people have a “friend making gene”. James Fowler of the University of California at San Diego and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University pointed out that some people are naturally popular, which is determined by genes. However, it doesn’t matter if there is no “making friends gene”, because people prefer to make friends with people who have something in common with them. There is a saying that “the appearance after the age of 35 is determined by oneself”, so everyone can become a good-looking person by constantly learning to have a peaceful mind and cultivate self-discipline in work and life.

Question 2: Why are some people good at making friends?

A: there are two motivations for people to make friends. One is utilitarian. For people like “socialists”, making friends is to obtain more material benefits. There are many friends, but the degree is not deep, between “one-sided friends” and “intimate friends”. This type of making friends is conducive to the rapid success of business, but it is easy for people to get involved in it and form a “friend addiction”, that is, to show off their huge social circle, but to maintain this social circle, they have to spend a lot of effort.

Question 3: how many friends can a person make in his life?

A: 150 friends is the limit. Dunbar once proposed the famous “Dunbar number”, that is, under the influence of brain evolution, human cognitive ability allows individuals to have up to 150 true friends (contact at least once a year). But most people have no more than 150 private social circles, about half of which are family members. Another motivation for making friends is ultimate value oriented making friends. The establishment of this relationship is based on the common values, outlook on life and world outlook, focusing on the acquisition of spiritual wealth. When a friend is in trouble, the other party does not hesitate to sacrifice part of its own interests to help. The number of such friends in the course of life is very small, generally 2-5, but they are lifelong.

laughter, singing and dancing, and language are the “three treasures” of making friends

Dunbar also pointed out that friendship between non blood relatives can easily disappear. If you don’t get along with friends for a year, your friendship will fade by about one third. He believes that the quality of friendship is determined by the amount of time invested. Even social mammals such as apes, which are lower than humans, establish and maintain friendship by socially grooming their hair. Human beings are more intelligent, mainly through laughter, singing and dancing and language to contact feelings and expand social circles.

In addition, experts remind that to gain and consolidate friendship, we should start from the following three aspects. 1. Be sincere. When making friends, we should “value friendship over interests” and never play tricks. Friends should be equal, not just to make “useful people” or to “grade” friends. 2. Good management. Friendship needs to be managed and maintained with time and energy. Meeting for tea on weekends, talking about the latest situation, and giving small gifts on festivals will keep friendship fresh. 3. Praise me a lot. In life, if someone smiles at you, you will smile at him. Giving each other a smiling face and a compliment will help to narrow the interpersonal relationship.

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