So, a new study has found that friendship can be a more powerful painkiller than morphine!
Katerina Johnson, a doctoral student from Oxford University, in the psychiatry and experimental psychology area, found that people with more social connections had a higher pain tolerance.
In her study, participants had to answer a survey about their relationships and social connections and then did a ‘wall-sit’ test – that requires sitting against a wall with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
Those that could endure the pain of this longer were found to have a larger group of friends.
The findings came about as a result of the discovery that endorphins (which are released when we see our friends, giving us the ‘feel good’ factor) are better at eliminating pain than morphine. Other studies have also found that endorphins produce social bonding in both humans and other animals.
Interestingly, it was discovered that people who exercise more (something that also releases endorphins) tended to have fewer social connections. It may be that these people use exercise instead of socializing to get their endorphin rush that makes them feel good. Also, people who suffered more from stress were found to have fewer social connections. This may mean that friendship can also help us to cope better with stress.
However, there may be other reasons for the results of this study. It could be that people who experience chronic pain, or just who experience more pain in general, have more reason to isolate themselves so may also have fewer social connections for that reason.
But, no matter what the conclusions from this study, having friends certainly makes life more fun and easier to bear. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and meet some new vinas!
(Feature image via @space15twenty)