Plan Your Next Girls’ Trip Now, Because Science

February has been forever upgraded by the brilliant addition of Galentine’s Day, a holiday dedicated to celebrating the love we have for our girl-gang. But did you know getting together with your favorite people can also be good for your health? It’s true! According a Harvard Medical School study, strong friendships positively impact our health just as much as adequate sleep and a good diet! “Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer,” Harvard researchers explain.

Research shows that spending time with our friends (aka “peaceful associations) increases the production of oxytocin, the hormone that gives us a feeling of happiness. Oxytocin floods our bodies during social bonding experiences (like a girls’ trip!) and can make us more trusting and friendly.

Speaking of happiness, one study found that strong friendships help relieve high levels of stress, but more specifically, trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones. If high levels of stress can have adverse effects on the immune system, then we can infer that the presence of stress-reducing hormones will assist us in our fight against disease and infection.

Need more convincing about the power of Galentine’s Day? “Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being,” said William Chopik, an associate professor of psychology who conducted a pair of relationship studies at Michigan State University. Chopin’s research found that friends are even more important as we get older. “So it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest,” Chopik explained.

Ready for your next bon voyage? Whether you and the gals jet-set across the pond or plan a staycation in a killer Airbnb, getting away with your besties isn’t just a ton of fun…it’s also just what the doctor ordered!