Bromance: A Quick Fix for Stress

A night out or a vacation with the guys is not only fun but also good for your health. A new study shows that male bonding may potentially help individuals become resilient to stress.

This is what male bonding studies show:

In a study from the University of California – Berkeley, researchers observed the effect of mild and extreme levels of stress on male rats housed in the same cage. They found that when male rats experienced mild stress it increased their oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and they were more likely to huddle around each other and cuddle. For researchers, this is a clear sign that male rats huddle together to relieve stress relief. Furthermore, the same bonding principle can be applied to male humans as well.

The results of the study come as no surprise. It has long been recognized that friendships are good for your emotional, mental, and physical health. Having a strong network of friends can build your self-confidence and make you feel like you belong. Friendship can also ward off mental disorders. In fact, a study from Amsterdam found that simply feeling alone could increase the risk of clinical dementia. Research also showed that people with strong social relationships had a 50 percent increase in their mortality rate than participants with weak social relationships. So friendships can even help you live longer.

It’s important to note that not all stress spurred bonding between the male rats. The University of California study also found that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reduced the bonding in male rats and reduced their resiliency to stress. The researchers believe that it has to do with oxytocin. With mild stress oxytocin levels in the body increased, but with higher levels of stress the oxytocin decreased and the rats became more antisocial.

Fortunately, whether you are a bro or not, boosting your body’s levels of oxytocin can help with mild and extreme levels of stress. There are many ways you can naturally increase your oxytocin and improve your mood. The rush you get from exercising and the joy you feel when you spend time with your pets can help with your oxytocin levels. Lastly, of course, hanging out with friends can also help boost your oxytocin.