Summary of “The friend effect: why the secret of health and happiness is surprisingly simple”

This research is far from the first to suggest a link between eating with others and happiness.
Researchers at the University of Oxford last year found that the more that people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives.
“The kinds of things that you do around the table with other people are very good at triggering the endorphin system, which is part of the brain’s pain-management system. Endorphins are opioids, they are chemically related to morphine – they are produced by the brain and give you an opiate high. That’s what you get when you do all this social stuff, including patting, cuddling and stroking. It is central to the way primates in general bond in their social groups and relationships.”
“You can eat as much as you like, you can slob about, you can drink as much alcohol as you like – the effect is very modest compared with these other two factors.”
One study from the University of Michigan found that replacing face-to-face contact with friends and family with messages on social media, emails or text messages could double our risk of depression.
“Homelessness and unemployment in particular takes us out of contact with others. In addition to the obvious harms of homelessness, it does massively increase social isolation and anxiety. To take that even further, many people are in exile from their communities. In mental health services, we see an enormous amount of grief, depression and anxiety in people who are asylum seekers and refugees and much of that is not just due to trauma or torture or detention or fleeing from their country, but from the severe rupture of being cut off from their families and communities of origin.”
As Gilbert says, the best relationships are the ones where people love us for our perceived dark sides and flaws.
Instead of texting a friend or messaging them on social media, why not knock on their door, look them in the eye and make yourselves both feel better?

The orginal article.