If you can’t remember the last time you had a girls night out, you’ll want to want to plan one ASAP. One study shows why women should hang out with their girlfriends—and it’s not just for the wine and laughs.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that women’s overall health and well-being improved when they spent time with four best friends twice a week to partake in specific activities. According to the study, these activities include drinking beer, gossiping and discussing rivals. The research found that women interact best by joking and talking about things that make them laugh.

photo: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

The health benefits from these regular friend dates included a stronger immune system, faster recovery times from illness, a decrease in anxiety and an increase in generosity. The optimal way to make the most of these benefits was to meet with up to four friends, any more and the probability of generating the necessary endorphins for happiness was decreased.

In an interview with Scientific American  in 2017, University of Oxford researcher and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar explained how common activities associated with friendship actually benefit our health: “Laughing together, jogging together, dancing together, singing together, telling emotionally wrenching stories, going to see weepy films—these activities buffer the body biochemically and immunologically against the kinds of coughs and colds of everyday life.”

Despite all the benefits, the study found that only two out of five women actually have the time to go out with friends once a week and less so once they have kids. It’s not easy to make time for yourself, but clearly making the effort for moms night out is worth it.

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—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

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