This may sound like an obvious statement, but when we are hurting or throwing a pity party, we tend to push away friends and loved ones. Sulking, moping in the dark, listening to emo music, turning off our phones, and taking a social media break can help us for a while, but to actually get through something painful, we may need friends. Also Read - COVID-19: Researchers Suggest That Stroke Scans Can Reveal COVID-19 Infection
Yes, need. If fact, there are scientific studies that suggest this to be so. Also Read - 3 Homemade Face Packs For Supple, Softer, Hydrated, And Glowing Skin
This pain can be physical or emotional—it can stem from medical reasons like breast cancer or working out to emotional duress felt from those medical circumstances. Emotional pain also comes from bullying, but that can be alleviated by having a larger social network. Also Read - COVID-19 Symptoms in Order: How to Differentiate Common Symptoms From Flu
A recently published survey in Scientific Reports wanted to see if people with a larger social circle produced more endorphins in their brain. Endorphins are the chemicals that create feelings of happiness and are often discussed as a result of working out, they are also the body’s natural painkillers. Researchers wanted to test the idea that social interactions make the endorphins in one’s brain stick to certain receptors. The idea here is if you have a large social interaction then you’ll release more endorphins. One doctoral student involved in the study stated that endorphins are stronger than certain medications.
“Endorphin has a powerful pain-killing effect, stronger than even morphine,” Katherina Johnson, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University, said.
So, 101 young adults answered several questions about their social lives, interactions, and personality. Then they were put to the test by performing a wall-sit. The people who could perform the sit for longer had larger social interactions. It also showed those with high levels of stress had smaller social interactions as well as those who are fitter. The study notes that there is not yet a cause and effect link between pain and one’s social network size and that researchers are still looking into how a person’s friend groups affect endorphins.
However, another study released by Kaiser Permanente, which was published in the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment journal found that strong social interactions and ties (friends) led to a greater quality of life. The study found that those with a larger friend circle experienced less breast cancer symptoms. It also found that women with low levels of support and smaller social networks were 61 percent more like to die from breast cancer and other complications than those with high levels of support from a smaller network. This means the quality of your friendships is also important.
Another recently published study in the Journal of American College Health suggested that friends in college can ease the pain of those who were bullied in high school. Participants in the study reported stronger friendships than in high school and a higher sense of belonging.
Overall, an increasing amount of scientific research is finding that friendships and larger social interactions help ease various pain people experience within their lives. The first study, in Scientific Reports, even went as far to suggest that as our society evolves into an increasingly digital one, and as one’s online presence increases any kind of lack in of social interactions could be detrimental to society.
Thoughts? Hopefully, you’re reading this with your friends or you’re planning to make some soon.