Too many Americans are chasing career success, making sacrifices for some professional or financial goal. Too often those sacrifices include less time with their families and less time with their friends. That is a massive mistake – a mistake that lowers their happiness and reduces their health. Surprise. Our survival depends more on our friendships than our work.
That importance of friendship has been demonstrated in numerous studies throughout the animal kingdom. Monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, horses, hyenas, elephants, and dolphins create lifelong friendships; and that is only the beginning of the lengthy list. For almost all species, the greater the quality of the friendships, the better the health and the longer the longevity for the animal.
Rhesus monkeys with close friendships show reduced levels of stress hormones and improved health. Horses, when they are grooming each other, show slower heart rates. Baboons with close friendships are four times more likely to live to an older age. And those positive effects are noticed in most species – even dogs and cats with their owners.
With humans, friendship appears to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and improve the immune system. How […]