Can You Do Dry January and Still Be Social?
Vic Grier looks at the importance of having a community, even if your'e not drinking...
"Our social networks provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness."
Surely, this mirrors younger generations reasons for going to the pub. We want to catch up with friends and soak in the atmosphere. But are there real health benefits to socialising in this way?
New research from The University of Oxford shows that moderate alcohol consumption may be linked to improved wellbeing, thanks to the improved social interaction associated with having a drink with friends at a local pub.
They found that people who have a ‘local’ they visit regularly tend to feel more socially engaged and contented, and are more likely to trust other members of their community. They also observed that those without a local pub had significantly smaller social networks and felt less engaged with, and trusting of, their local communities.
Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford’s Experimental Psychology department, said “This study showed that frequenting a local pub can directly affect peoples’ social network size and how engaged they are with their local community, which in turn can affect how satisfied they feel in life.”
“Our social networks provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness. While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socialising, alcohol’s role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding. Like other complex bonding systems such as dancing, singing and storytelling, it has often been adopted by large social communities as a ritual associated with bonding.”
Well, we don’t need to be told twice! We are off to call a friend, put on our most cosy jumper and brave the cold. Ours will be a diet coke…
If you would still like to reap the benefits of socialising minus the booze then check out our guide to ‘Keeping Dry January Fun’.