MATE EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

Women's Health (UK) - - WH PROMOTION -

That I’ve been tak­ing hol­i­days that put my body and mind at the cen­tre might have some­thing to do with the fact that I’m de­part­ing 2018 feel­ing calmer and more con­tent with my­self than I ever have be­fore. But be­yond my car­dio­vas­cu­lar and sym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tems, I sus­pect some­thing else is go­ing on, too. Be­cause, in the words of a cheesy post­card, it isn’t just about the me­mories, it’s who you make them with. Com­bin­ing in­sights from bi­ol­ogy, an­thro­pol­ogy and psy­chol­ogy, re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Ox­ford have posited that co­or­di­nated group move­ment – the kind that might take place on a group kayak­ing trip, for ex­am­ple – can trig­ger changes in brain chem­istry. Not only can this boost your phys­i­cal per­for­mance, but it can en­hance the so­cial bond, too. But I don’t need sci­ence to tell me what I re­alised months ago, bent-dou­ble laugh­ing on a hill some­where north of Sh­effield: that when you get close to na­ture, you get closer to your mates. Per­haps a jaw-drop­ping back­drop de­mands big talk over small; maybe con­ver­sa­tion flows eas­ier on a kayak; maybe you need a bit of mud to make a bond stick. Some­times, some­thing is just re­ally, re­ally funny. But it’s re­as­sur­ing to know that you’re only ever a train fare, a text and a new wa­ter­proof away from a belly laugh on a hill with your favourite hu­mans. What are you wait­ing for? Grab your Berghaus, and get out­side.

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