Friends forever: how friendship helps deal with pain

But did you know that sociable people tolerate pain much more easily than those who prefer loneliness and social solitude? About how friendship can increase the pain threshold, read in this article.

If you have not decided how to spend tonight, then let me give you one piece of advice - spend it with friends. Oxford University scientists Katerina Johnson and Robin Dunbar found a relationship between the number of social connections of a person and his susceptibility to pain. It turns out that the more friends we have, the higher our pain threshold. And the matter is not in the friends themselves, but in the area of ​​the brain responsible for the production of the hormone endorphin, a natural painkiller produced by our body.

Endorphins not only improve the general well-being and mood of a person, but even at equal dosages they cope with pain no worse than morphine itself.

In their study, Katerina Johnson and Robin Dunbar found: endorphins, in addition to combating physical discomfort, have a positive effect on a person’s emotional perception of the communication process. In other words, endorphins increase and enhance the pleasure of communication. “Social interaction and social attachments are essential components of evolution. After all, only by working with each other could our ancestors feed themselves and, in principle, survive in the wild,” Johnson says.

Friends forever: how friendship helps deal with pain

Photo: flickr. com

To confirm our theory Scientists conducted an experiment in which more than 100 people aged 18 to 34 years took part. During the experiment, each participant first had to answer questions about how often he communicates with friends, and then sit as long as possible in an uncomfortable position (by the way, an uncomfortable position is a very effective exercise “chair”. How to do it, you will learn HERE). As a result, it turned out that socially active people who often and often communicate with friends are less sensitive to pain than those who neglect this communication.

At the same time, scientists did not reveal any gender patterns and differences - the pain threshold of men and women equally depends on the quality of their social life.

But that’s not all. The results of the study showed that as a person's social connections grow, his sensitivity to pain decreases. Thus, scientists suggest that increasing the number of friends from seven to 12 may increase the time spent in an uncomfortable position from one minute to four. “But nevertheless,” Johnson emphasizes, “to date, it has been possible to establish only the very fact of the correlation between the production of endorphins and the social activity of a person.

But the mechanism of interaction itself remains unclear - either communication affects the production of hormones, or an increase in the level of endorphins causes a person to enjoy communication and feel the need to surround himself with even more friends. "

Friends forever: how friendship helps deal with pain

Photo: flickr.com

Interestingly, that the most physically prepared participants were the owners of the smallest circle of friends, although the test with an uncomfortable posture was expected to pass The scientists explained this result by the fact that people who actively train and regularly visit the gym do not have much time to meet friends and maintain social relations in general. In addition, sport, like communication, is a catalyst the production of the hormone of happiness, which means that someone who has already experienced a rush of endorphins after visiting the gym does not feel an urgent need for a second sensation like this, but already from talking with friends.

Despite the results, Johnson notes that the findings are not absolute and universal.

Still, the genetic characteristics of each person also affect his social activity and largely determine it. In addition, scientists are not in a hurry to argue that any form of friendship is equally good for health. That is, it is not a fact that correspondence on Facebook will have the same analgesic effect as a joint walk with a close friend or a heart-to-face conversation. But do not forget: prolonged stress can negatively affect the body’s ability to produce endorphins - people who are prone to neurosis and frequent bouts of anxiety have difficulty communicating with people and are more sensitive to pain.

Friends forever: how friendship helps deal with pain

Photo: flickr.

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