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Friendship is the key to happiness, scientists say

For the majority of us, our friends are basically family. Not only are they the people that we have the most fun with, but they're also the ones that we go to in times of strife, and joy. And apparently, we have good scientific reason to be spending so much time with our inner circle. According to scientists from Northwestern university, choosing the right friends may be the key to our long-term happiness.

Professor Moran Cerf, a neuroscientist from the renowned American university, has asserted that the best way to boost our happiness is to be very picky about those that we choose to spend our time with. This is because our brainwaves start to resemble the people who we surround ourselves with. And as such, we quickly become alike, picking up on their desirable, and not so desirable behavioural patterns.

Friendship Credit: Getty

Speaking to Business Insider, Professor Moran Cerf revealed that we should refrain from fretting about small decisions such as how to dress and impress acquaintances, and instead focus on our nearest and dearest as they are our best chance at achieving long-term satisfaction.

"The more we study engagement, we see time and again that just being next to certain people actually aligns your brain with them", he said. "This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike."

The neuroscientist alleges that many of us incorrectly believe that superficial decisions, such as how we dress, or where we choose to eat will make us more satisfied with our lives. Instead, what we eat doesn't matter, it's who we eat it with that does.

Friends Credit: Pexels

In fact, Professor Moran Cerf believes that if people want to improve and enrich their lives, they should spend their time with those who have the traits that they desire, as they'll naturally pick them up. For example, if someone wants to get better at cooking, they should seek out the company of people who routinely prepare their own meals.

Other studies have corroborated Professor Moran Cerf's assertions. Research conducted this past June by Michigan State University concluded that friendships can outweigh the benefits of familial relationships after a certain amount of time.

The study which involved thousands of participants from all around the world discovered that friendships can "make a world of difference" to our levels of happiness and satisfaction, and can even influence how we respond to heath scares and illness. As William Chopik, the assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University continued, "It’s smart to invest in the friendship that make you happiest."

alt Credit: Pexels

Well, there you have it, the next time that your parents reprimand you for spending too much time with your friends, you can point out that scientific research actually says that it's much better for you.

In other news, this is how you can "unsend" a WhatsApp message past the seven minute deadline, and possibly save a friendship...

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