News Sinead Moriarty

Monday 5 December 2016

Forget social media, there's no substitute for real friends

Published 20/05/2016 | 02:30

'If friends can act as a better painkiller than morphine, we’d better nurture the ones we have and rush out and make some more'. Stock photo: Getty
'If friends can act as a better painkiller than morphine, we’d better nurture the ones we have and rush out and make some more'. Stock photo: Getty

Good friends are good for your health. In fact, new research suggests that people with more friends have higher pain thresholds. If friends can act as a better painkiller than morphine, we'd better nurture the ones we have and rush out and make some more.

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The goal of the study, carried out by Katerina Johnson at Oxford University, was to test the idea that social interactions trigger positive emotions because those interactions cause endorphins to bind to certain receptors in the brain. This gives us that feel-good factor that we get from seeing our friends.

Johnson said: "Endorphins are part of our pain and pleasure circuitry - they're our body's natural painkillers and also give us feelings of pleasure. Previous studies have suggested that endorphins promote social bonding in both humans and other animals."

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