Anti-inflammatory lifestyle Part 5, friendship and love for a healthy brain
For a healthy mind and to counteract inflammations also close relationships and friendships and the feeling of being part of a society have a pivotal role.
Aristotle was the first to say it in his work Politics, man is, by nature, a social animal and tends to aggregate with other human beings. But this behavior isn’t just natural, it is also the basis for a healthy mind and an anti-inflammatory lifestyle (Eliana Liotta, Age isn’t the same for everyone, but also articles such as Keicolt-Glaser et al, Neurosci Biobehav rev, 2010). As we have seen in the previous post, an enemy of our physical and mental health is chronic inflammation, that doesn’t give any sign but works silent inside the body for long and then blows up with illnesses such as depression, arthritis, cancers, autoimmune diseases or Alzheimer. We can do a lot to counteract inflammation, for example by changing our diet or by following a lifestyle that takes into account a good night rest and a lively activity during the day, that makes our brain regenerate and fights stress and inflammation. But, in order to have a heathy mind, everybody should feel to be part of a society and to give it his/her contribution, everybody should feel to be useful. Scientific studies have demonstrated that volunteering brings feelings of wellbeing able to lower depression, the blood pressure and to promote also the desire to take up physical activity, all anti inflammatory conditions (Sneed et al, Psychol Aging, 2013). But also cultivating friendship helps strengthen the cognitive processes and counteract even memory loss connected with aging (Ertel et al, Am J Public Health, 2008). However, be careful, taking care of healthy friendship is an amazing and powerful aid for body and mind but suffocating and conflicting relationships, that sometimes are only a way to express just bad mood, to moan and groan, can generate anxiety, stress and can even increase body inflammations (Fagundes et al, Soc Personal Psychol Compass, 2011). We aren’t saying that it is a bad idea to help e friend in trouble or to listen someone close who blows off steam, because this reaction suddenly blows up and then quickly goes away leaving body and mind full of energy, but another thing is a relationship that is based only on complains, a frustrating and extenuating work that creates just discomfort and feeds inflammation. Finally, but not less important, the people you love the most, your family, with their gestures and presence may be a great help to counteract the inflammations. Try to think to the power of a hug, that, according to science, is able to lower cortisol, the stress hormone, among the factors that cause chronic inflammation, and to decrease blood pressure (Light et al, Biol Psychol, 2005).