Friends are Good for the Heart

Friends are Good for the Heart


We all know that love makes the world go around, but so too does friendship! 

The company of great friends may be of greater benefit than you realise. Scientists have shown that friends are good for the heart.  Researchers at Concordia University in Montreal and Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago studied 60 international students who were all newly arrived in Concordia.  They all had equally lonely starts and none were in a romantic relationship.

At the start of the project, their heart rates were measured with subsequent follow-ups, 2 and 5 months later.  Those who had integrated well into their new environment had a higher heart rate variability (the difference in the length of time between heartbeats) than those who had not adjusted so well.  

Low heart rate variability has been associated with a number of conditions, including congestive heart failure and depression.

Friendship also plays a role with the way your body deals with stress.  Spending quality time with friends, and sharing your thoughts, your body actually produces less of the stress hormone, cortisol, resulting in a calmer outlook, leading to a healthier life.