Learn how to relieve stress and improve your mental wellbeing by spending time with friends.
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Healthy Activities and Fun Things to Do With Friends

Want to relieve stress and lead a healthy life? Head to an art gallery, go shopping or belt out tunes on karaoke night. Grab some friends and try out these surprising activities that are both healthy and good for groups.

Spending Time with Friends

Call your close friends for a night out in the town, or nerd out with them over board games. Studies have shown that spending quality time with friends boosts the immune system, reduces levels of stress and speeds recovery1. Having a strong support network and social ties might even help you live longer2.

Bonus Tip: Building a Habit?

Boost motivation with friendly competition! Compete with family and friends to see who walks the most per week - winner gets a treat.

Get Some Retail Therapy

Shopping is a good way to sneak in some exercise: a UK study found that women take an average of 7,300 steps per shopping trip3. Hit the malls for a window-shopping spree and you're well on your way to clock the recommended 10,000 steps per day.

Bonus Tip: Tuckered Out After Shopping?

Pamper yourself with a massage or mini-pedicure to rejuvenate your body and mind.

Volunteering Makes You Happy

Volunteering is good for your mind and body. A Singapore study found that volunteers were more likely to report being happy and satisfied with their lives than non-givers4. Other studies have also linked volunteering with greater longevity and lower risk of heart disease5. Not sure where to start? Check out giving.sg for some ideas.

Grab a Mic on Karaoke Night

Enjoy singing karaoke? You'll sing for joy to learn that singing brings you various health benefits6 - the aerobic activity works out muscles in your upper body, is good for your heart and reduces stress. Group singing also fosters social bonding7.

Admire (and Make) Art

Tap into your artsy side to de-stress. How Does Art Relieve Stress? A visit to the art gallery might help reduce levels of cortisol, commonly known as stress hormone8. To build up stress resistance, pick up a brush and paint a piece or two - a study showed that creating visual art can improve psychological resilience9.

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References

  1. Parker-Pope, T. (2009, Apr 20). What Are Friends For? A Longer Life. The New York Times.
    Retrieved August 2016 from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/health/21well.html?_r=1
  2. Valeo, T. (2016, Oct 7). Good Friends Are Good for You [Website].
    Retrieved August 2016 from http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/good-friends-are-good-for-you
  3. Kenber, B. (2010, Jan 14). Shopping 'is good for your health'. The Telegraph.
    Retrieved August 2016 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/6988479/Shopping-is-good-for-your-health.html
  4. Siau, M. E. (2016, Mar 21). Happy people give and gain more with volunteer work: Singapore study. Today.
    Retrieved August 2016 from http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/happy-people-give-and-gain-more-volunteer-work-singapore-study
  5. Grimm, R., Jr., Spring, K., Dietz, N. (2007, Apr). The Health Benefits of Volunteering [PDF].
    Retrieved August 2016 from https://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf
  6. Wignall, A. (2008, Aug 26). Keeping body and soul in tune. The Guardian.
    Retrieved August 2016 from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/aug/26/healthandwellbeing.fitness
  7. Almendrala, A. (2015, Oct 28). There’s A Surprising Upside To That Office Karaoke Party. The Huffington Post.
    Retrieved August 2016 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/singing-closeness-office-karaoke-party_us_562fc556e4b06317990fb5ed
  8. Clow, A., Fredhoi, C. (2006). Normalisation of salivary cortisol levels and self-report stress by a brief lunchtime visit to an art gallery by London City workers. Journal of Holistic Healthcare, 3(2), p. 29-32.
    Retrieved August 2016 from http://westminsterresearch.wmin.ac.uk/3472/2/Clow_&_fredhoi_2006_final.pdf
  9. Bolwerk, A., Mack-Andrickm, J., Lang, F. R., Dörfler, A., Maihöfner, C. (2014, Jul 1). How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art Evaluation on Functional Brain Connectivity. PLOS One.
    Retrieved August 2016 from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0101035